Tuesday 18 June
Black-billed Amazon (Amazona agilis)
Black-billed Amazon fact file
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Black-billed Amazon description
This brightly-coloured species has green plumage, with lighter green or yellow underparts. Slightly darker edges to the feathers on the back of the neck give a scaled effect. The black-billed Amazon has dark brown eyes surrounded by a dark grey ring, and the bill is black (2) (6).
The black-billed Amazon can be identified by its high pitched screeching, and the “rrak”, “muh-weep” and bugling “tuh-tuk” given in flight (2).
- Also known as
- Black-billed parrot.
- Amazona Jamaicana Piquioscura, Amazonico Activo, Amazonico Jamaica, Amazonico Todo Verde. Top
BirdLife International - Black-billed Amazon:
Cockpit Country Windsor Research Centre:
- Small feathers concealing the bases of larger flight feathers, usually on the wings or tail.
- A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- Cross-breeding between two different species or subspecies.
- The act of incubating eggs, that is, keeping them warm so that development is possible.
- An area occupied and defended by an animal, a pair of animals or a group.
IUCN Red List (November, 2011)
BirdLife International (November, 2011)
- del Hoyo, J., Elliot, A., Sargatel, J. and Christie, D.A. (1997) Handbook of the Birds of the World, Vol.4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
CITES (November, 2011)
- Koenig, S.E. (2001) The breeding biology of black-billed parrot Amazona agilis and yellow-billed parrot Amazona collaria in Cockpit Country, Jamaica. Bird Conservation International,11: 205-225.
World Parrot Trust (November, 2011)
- Forshaw, J.M. and Knight, F. (2010) Parrots of the World. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
- Pasquier, R.F. (1981) Conservation of New World Parrots: Proceedings of the ICBP Parrot Working Group Meeting, St. Lucia, 1980. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington.
- Juniper, T. and Parr, M. (1998) Parrots: A guide to parrots of the world. Pica Press, Sussex.
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Black-billed Amazon biology
The black-billed Amazon feeds on fruit, seeds, nuts, berries and blossoms high in the forest canopy (2) (3). Populations of black-billed Amazons will move in response to the location of food sources (3). This species will also feed on cultivated crops, and can cause considerable damage to ripening fruit (7).
The black-billed Amazon forms flocks of 6 to 30 individuals (8) (9). This species nests in tree-hollows at least 18 metres above the ground. Like other parrot species, vigorous vocalizing between black-billed Amazon pairs advertise nesting territories (5).
The breeding season is from March to August. The black-billed Amazon lays between two and four eggs, with an interval of approximately 48 hours between successive eggs. The eggs are incubated solely by the female for 24 days. During this time the male will forage and exchange food with the female. Incubation starts after the first egg is laid, so hatching occurs at intervals, with up to seven days between the first and last hatching (5). The black-billed Amazon chicks spend up to eight weeks in the nest before fledging (3) (5).
The Jamaican boa (Epicrates subflavus) is the main predator to the black-billed Amazon, and is the main cause of mortality in chicks during the long nesting period (5).Top
Black-billed Amazon rangeTop
Black-billed Amazon habitat
The black-billed Amazon is found in wet limestone forests up to elevations of 1,600 metres (3). This species can be found high in the canopy, and may also be found foraging in cultivated land and plantations close to the edge of the forest (2).Top
Black-billed Amazon statusTop
Black-billed Amazon threats
Once widespread across Jamaica, both the range and population of the black-billed Amazon have declined. Jamaica has one of the world’s highest rates of deforestation, and is causing the habitat of the black-billed Amazon habitat to become increasingly fragmented. Forest clearance for logging, cultivation and bauxite mining pose the biggest threat to this species (2) (3) (5). Bauxite mining licences have recently been issued for over 60 percent of the Cockpit Country Conservation Area, which may reduce the black-billed Amazon population by half over the next 40 to 50 years (2).
Additionally, poaching and trapping for local consumption has contributed to this species’ population decline (2). Unlike many mainland species of parrot, poaching for the pet trade is minimal and does not pose a threat to the black-billed Amazon (5).Top
Black-billed Amazon conservation
Since 1995, conservation measures to protect the black-billed Amazon have included estimating its population size, training local populations in methods of long-term monitoring and research, and identifying causes of poor reproductive performance (2).
A national park has been created, including land in the Blue and John Crow Mountains, although there is little enforcement in place. There is also a campaign to prohibit bauxite mining in the Cockpit Country Conservation Area (2).Top
Find out more
Find out more about the black-billed Amazon and its conservation:
Find out more about conservation in the Cockpit Country Conservation Area:
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