Bahama Amazon Parrot



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Amazona leucocephala bahamensis

The Bahama parrot is a subspecies of the Cuban Amazon par rot. The Bahama Parrot’s
sci en tifi c name literally means “white head ed Am a zon parrot from The Bahamas.”
Its white head and mostly green body make the Bahama par rot easily recognized.
It has patch es of red feath ers on its cheek, throat and some times its ab do men. Its
fl ight feathers, usually hidden from sight when it is perched in a tree, are a beautiful
cobalt blue. Viewers are often struck by this un ex pect ed fl ash of colour. The Bahama
parrot’s short rounded bill is char ac ter is tic of all true par rots. The bill is a powerful
multi-purpose tool used for eat ing, climb ing, de fend ing, preen ing (groom ing) and
playing. The Bahama parrot has two toes facing forwards and two facing backwards – a
confi guration known as zygodactylus. The Bahama parrot is 12-13 inches in length.

A variety of fruits from many shrubs are eaten by the Bahama Parrot. They feed on
wild guava, poisonwood berries, pigeonberry, and the fruit from gumbo limbo and
pond-top palm. Es pe cial ly during the breeding season, Bahama parrots in Abaco eat
the seed from the pine trees. This provides a rich source of protein, essential for the
development of Bahama parrot chicks.
Pair formation begins in early spring. Bahama Parrots are monogamous – they mate for
life. In Inagua, the Bahama parrot seeks out cavities in large hollow trees. Our national
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© 2008 The Bahamas National Trust, P. O. Box N-4105, Nassau, Bahamas
tree, Lignum vitae, the Mahogany and Black Mangrove trees are used by the Inagua parrots for nest ing.
Abaco par rots look for lime stone cav i ties on the ground of tile pine forest to nest in. The fe male lays two to
four eggs. For 26 days she in cu bates them while her mate, the male parrot as sumes re spon si bil i ty for food.
The eggs open 12-72 hours apart. Parrot chicks hatch helpless, blind and almost com plete ly featherless. By
three weeks their eyes open. The chicks are fed re gur gi tat ed (pre di gest ed) food.

Historically, the Bahama Parrot occurred on seven different Bahamian is lands. Today, they are found only
on Abaco and Great Inagua Is lands: On Inagua the parrots live in the cop pice areas and Abaco parrots live
in the Pine forest.

Recent Bahama Parrot Research conducted over the past 5 years has shown that the population of Bahama
Parrots is better than previously thought. A population census conducted on Abaco indicate that their
numbers are considered stable between 3,000 and 5,000 birds. The Inagua population, which had not been
previously counted, is estimated to be between 8,000 and 13,000 birds. These are the only two groups left
of a species that once inhabited seven islands in The Bahamas.
Bahama Parrots are protected under the Wild Birds (Protection) Act. It is illegal to harm or capture or offer
this bird for sale. The Convention for the International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES) list the Bahama
Parrot in Appendix 1 meaning that it is a species which is near extinction or very endangered.

A number of factors infl uence the survival of the Bahama Parrot. The ground nesting nature of the Bahama
Parrot in Abaco makes these birds vulnerable to pre da tion by feral (wild) cats, feral boars, crabs and snakes.
Heavy rains during the nest ing period can fl ood parrot nest holes, killing young chicks. Habitat loss is a
constant threat to both the Abaco and Inagua birds, hence hab i tat pro tec tion is very important to the sur viv al
of the Bahama Parrot. The pet trade is an oth er threat that is ever present.

● The Bahama Parrot was recognized as the offi cial Quincentennial mascot in 1992.
● Bahama Parrot bones found on New Prov i dence have been dated back to the Pleistocene era, more
than 50,000 years ago
● Christopher Columbus was so struck by their num bers when he made land fall in The Ba ha mas in
l492, he wrote in his log, “fl ocks of parrots darken the sun”!