A striking yet enigmatic parrot with a bright, multi-coloured head, the blue-cheeked Amazon is named for its bright blue cheeks that fade to violet-blue towards the ear coverts. The forehead and crown are a mixture of orange and yellow, while the beak and eye ring are grey (3). The blue-cheeked Amazon has a green body, and a yellow-tipped tail with faint orange markings (3).
The blue-cheeked Amazon inhabits the treetops and flies higher above the canopy than other parrots (5), behaviour that partially explains the scarcity of data available on this bird. No reliable records of the blue-cheeked Amazon’s preferred food, habits, breeding season, nests or eggs exist (5). However, it is likely that this species feeds on tree seeds and berries (5), and is usually found feeding or resting among the topmost branches of tall forest trees in the daytime, in pairs or small flocks. At dusk it congregates in large flocks to roost for the night (8).
The blue-cheeked Amazon has been recorded in south-east Venezuela, north Guyana, north-east Suriname, and north-east French Guiana (5)(6). It may also occur in adjacent areas of Brazil, but this has not yet been confirmed (7).
The blue-cheeked Amazon inhabits rainforest, cloud forest, gallery forest and savannah woodlands, up to altitudes of 1,700 metres (5). It may also sporadically be seen in coastal areas, possibly in response to food availability (3)(5).
The most significant threats to Amazon parrots are habitat destruction and the pet trade. Deforestation has been flagged as a major threat to this species in particular, due to its low-density population and restricted range (5).
The blue-cheeked Amazon is known to have been traded internationally for both pets and food in the past (5)(9), and some trade may be continuing today, threatening the already small population (7).
Further information on the blue-cheeked Amazon is required before concerted conservation efforts can be initiated; a study of the population density, habitat, migration, feeding, and breeding requirements of this species has been suggested as a first step (5). Additionally, its ability to live in degraded and fragmented habitats has been suggested as a worthy area of future study (7). Other potential measures to conserve the population include protecting core areas of its remaining habitat and enforcing restrictions on trade (7). The blue-cheeked Amazon is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) meaning that any international trade should be carefully monitored (4).
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