CITES: Appendix I
IUCN RED LIST: VULNERABLE
Wingspan: 33 cm
Weight: 260-360 g
Ring: 9,5 mm
Clutch size: 3-5 eggs
The Yellow-shouldered Amazon (Amazona barbadensis) is a small parrot that has an extroverted character and is surprisingly active, if we compare it with other species of greater weight. Their populations, generically isolated in Venezuela, make it possible to distinguish subtle differences between individuals from one region or another. It should not be forgotten that their populations disappeared from the Peninsula of Paraguaná, Bonaire and Curaçao. This explains their vulnerability and at the same time the differences between populations in which there is no genetic exchange.
It’s quite common to see cages in the backyards of houses all over Venezuela with a Yellow-shouldered Amazon as a pet. This might seem inexplicable, given the wide range of local fauna. Venezuelans also prefer the also called “Cotorra Cabeciamarilla” to the Yellow-crowned amazon (Amazona ochrocephala), which are known for their ability to repeat words, since the Yellow-shouldered Amazons are especially affectionate to its owners and do not bite as other parrot species.
Its habitat on Margarita Island is a tropical Caribbean paradise of the northern coast of Venezuela with miles of white sand beaches under the radiant sun. It also inhabits the western tip of the island, formed by the Macanao Peninsula. Kilometres of shimmering beaches also extend here, but just a few steps inland, the landscape is semi-arid dominated by shrubs, cacti and other plants covered with sharp thorns. This is the habitat of the Cotorra Margariteña, which faces the plundering of its nests and poaching.
Loro Parque Fundación has supported the in-situ conservation project of the Amazona barbadesis with $434,799 over the years. For this purpose, the foundation has collaborated closely with local non-governmental organizations, like the Provita Foundation, in monitoring and preventing the theft of chicks, also in making people aware of the importance of protecting this species. But above all, the foundation has supported the protection of the thorny forest, where the Yellow-shouldered amazon lives.
As far as Ex situ conservation is concerned, Loro Parque Fundación has created the largest population of Yellow-shouldered Amazons in Europe, giving international breeding centres the possibility of obtaining specimens of the highest quality and beauty born in controlled environments. In this way, the pressure that wild populations had in the past have been alleviated to a great extent.
Author: Rafael Zamora Padrón, Scientific Director of Loro Parque Fundación
Title photo: author