The Yellow-billed Amazon Parrot or Red-throated Amazon (Amazona collaria) is native to the island of Jamaica and the West Indies inhabiting mid-level, wet limestone forests at elevations up to 1,200 m. It is most abundant in the John Crow Mountains, on Mount Diablo and in the Cockpit Country. In the breeding season it stays within rainforest.
They are known to fly considerable distances to feeding areas, including sea-level plantations.
This parrot is now rarely seen in the wild and listed as an endangered species due to habitat destruction and harvesting of the young chicks for the pet trade. They are usually seen in pairs or small flocks, and easiest located by call.
This chunky parrot averages 11 - 11.2 inches (28 cm) in length, from bill to tail. It's mostly green with white facial markings. Primary coverts and primaries are blue. Secondary feathers are dull blue. Iris brown and feet are pinkish / flesh color.
Head / Neck: The forehead and eye area are whitish. The forecrown is a dull blue. The lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird's head) and upper cheeks are blue interspersed with white. The throat, lower cheeks and some feathers on the breast are rose-red, each feather being edged bluish-green. The ear coverts (feathers covering the ears) are blackish-blue. Its beak is yellow, its irises are brown.
Tail: Upperside green with greenish-yellow tips. Under tail coverts are yellowish-green. The base of the outer tail feathers is red.
Immatures: Young birds have little or no white to the forehead; they have less rose-red; they have grey on the upper mandible (beak); and their irises are dark.
Sexing: They are monomorphic (no visual difference between sexes). For accurate sexing, surgical or DNA sexing is recommended.
The Yellow-billed Amazon loves to fly and as sedentary amazons tend to grow obese, allowing them to remain flighted and giving them plenty of opportunities to exercise, will prevent them from growing obese and prolong their lifespan. They can be very noisy in the morning and in the evening. They are easily tamed and usually get along with other bird species outside the breeding season. During breeding season, they should be isolated from other birds. Their taking ability is very good.
Caring for the Yellow-billed Amazon Parrot:
This species is rare both in their natural habitat as well as in captivity. As such, every captive specimen of this species that is capable of breeding should be placed into a well-managed breeding program, and not sold as pets - to ensure the long-term survival of this species.
Yellow-billed amazons can live up to 50 years, in some instances, even longer - provided they are given the exercise and nutrition they require for optimal health. These parrots very active and should be provided the largest flight or cage possible. They have a tendency to get obese in small aviary or cage settings and require a lean diet.
For parrots that are generally kept indoors, it would be ideal to provide them with an outdoor space for enrichment, exercise and sunlight. Durable cage / aviary construction is not as critical as it is for macaws and cockatoos, although metal aviaries are preferred to wooden ones. It may be recommended to use escape proof latches on cages / aviaries. Amazons should always be provided with toys, blocks of wood or branches that they can chew. These parrots crave privacy and security and a "retreat" / secure area should be provided to protect against fear responses.
Breeding the Yellow-billed Amazon Parrot:
Their breeding season starts in March and goes on until August. In their natural habitat, they nest in hollow branches or tree cavities and, at times, build their nest in rock crevices.
In captivity, breeding pairs should be isolated. The recommended dimensions for an aviary would be 12 x 5 x 6 ft with adjoining shelter; metal construction is advised, as they like to chew and could easily, over time, destroy an aviary made of wood. A planted aviary is always preferable; however, if this is not possible provide the most spacious flight that space and budget allows. They need enough space to be able to fly on a daily basis. As far as the nesting box is concerned, the following dimensions work well: 10 x 10 x 24 inches (25 x 25 x 60 cm), with an entrance hole of ~ 3 ins (8 cm) in diameter. Please note that the lowest outside temperature they can tolerate is 50 Degree Fahrenheit (or 10 degree Celsius). If temperatures go below that, heated areas need to be provided.
The female lays 2 to 4 eggs measuring 1.42 x 1.25 ins (36.0 x 29.2 mm), which she incubates for 26 days. The young fledge after 8 weeks.
Diet during Breeding and Chick Raising: High-protein baby cereal and bread soaked in honey-water are essential during the breeding season; also necessary are sunflower seeds, monkey chow, fruits (banana, apple, tomato) and greens.
Species: Scientific: Amazona collaria ... English: Yellow-billed Amazon ... Dutch: Geelsnavelamazone, Roodkeelamazone ... German: Jamaika Amazone ... French: Amazone à gorge rouge ... CITES II - Endangered Species
The Yellow-billed Amazon parrot populations are fragmented and it has a small range. It is threatened by habitat loss, illegal trapping for the pet trade, and felling of trees with suitable nesting cavities. They are also threatened by potential hybridization with non-endemic pet Amazon parrots, which occasionally escape particularly during the hurricane season.
This parrot is classified as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN); and are a protected species being listed on appendix II of CITES, which makes trade and export of trapped wild birds illegal.
Other Relevant Web Resources
- Amazon Species ... Photos of the Different Amazon Parrot Species for Identification
- Common Health Problems / Diseases of the Amazon Parrots
- Amazon Nutrition / Diet for Optimal Health
- Amazon Parrots as Pets
- Amazon Parrot Incubation Data
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
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