Red-spectacled Amazon (Amazona pretrei)
|Also known as:||red-spectacled parrot|
|Spanish:||Amazona Cabecirroja, Amazona Charao, Loro Cabecirrojo, Loro de Cabeza Roja|
|Size||Length: 32 cm (2)|
|Weight||295 g (3)|
The red-spectacled Amazon is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix I of CITES (4).
The red-spectacled Amazon is a member of the genus Amazona, a group of parrots famous for their bright colours and ability to mimic human speech (5).
A predominantly green parrot, the red-spectacled Amazon is named after the bright red rings around its eyes (2). It also has a variable amount of red on its forehead (6), and red markings on the edges of its wings. These markings are more prominent in the male (7). The primary and secondary feathers also have blue tips. Dark edges to the feathers give the red-spectacled Amazon a scaly appearance, and its bill is pale yellow (6).
In the juvenile red-spectacled Amazon, the red markings are restricted to the forehead and the bend of the wing (2), and the red eye markings only appear after the bird is three or four years old (8).
The call of the red-spectacled Amazon is a horse caw caw kee-u kee-u and a repetitive hee-o hee-o hee-o (2).
Breeding in Rio Grande do Sul, South Brazil, the red-spectacled Amazon is restricted to only a few areas. In the winter, it moves further north to an area known as Santa Catarina. Very occasionally, the red-spectacled Amazon has been seen in Paraguay and Argentina (6).
The red-spectacled Amazon breeds in areas of open savanna woodland and riverine forest, and shows a preference for elevations below 1,000 metres (6). It uses a diverse range of nesting cavities in over 30 species of tree (6) (9).
Despite migrating between different breeding and wintering grounds, the red-spectacled Amazon chooses a very similar habitat and climate all year round (10).
The red-spectacled Amazon breeds in the latter part of the year, typically from late September through until January (6). During this time it is seen in pairs, and tends to move about quietly and vocalize less, presumably to avoid attracting attention to the nest site (11). In captivity, incubation periods of between 26 and 30 days have been recorded (11). Nests are made in hollow trees (9), and local people report that between two and four young are raised, fledging by late December (11).
Outside of the breeding season, the red-spectacled Amazon travels in noisy flocks of up to 150 birds, which roost together in large numbers at night (11). Migrating seasonally to feed on the mass-produced seeds of the Critically Endangered Brazilian pine (Araucaria angustifolia) (10), the red-spectacled Amazon also feeds on a variety of other seeds, fruits and flowers (6).
The two main threats to the red-spectacled Amazon are habitat loss and capture for the pet trade. It has been reported that the birds are captured by cutting the nesting tree down, which results in the site being permanently abandoned. Pressure from logging, agriculture and the over-harvesting of Araucaria seeds has seen vast swathes of the red-spectacled Amazon’s forest habitat disappear (6).
The red-spectacled Amazon is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which means that trade in this species should be tightly controlled (4). It is also protected under Brazilian law (6).
The red-spectacled Amazon does occur within some protected reserves (6), but it is thought that additional protection of this species’ forest habitat would be beneficial, preserving its food resources and nesting sites (11).
Find out more about the red-spectacled Amazon and its conservation:
BirdLife International - Red-spectacled Amazon:
The World Parrot Trust - Red-spectacled Amazon:
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- Genus: a category used in taxonomy, which is below ‘family’ and above ‘species’. A genus tends to contain species that have characteristics in common. The genus forms the first part of a ‘binomial’ Latin species name; the second part is the specific name.
- Incubation: the act of incubating eggs, that is, keeping them warm so that development is possible.
- Primary feathers: the main flight feathers projecting along the outer edge of a bird’s wing.
- Secondary feathers: the shorter flight feathers projecting along the inner edge of a bird’s wing.
IUCN Red List (January, 2012)
- Forshaw, J.M. (1989) Parrots of the World. Third edition. Blandford Press, London.
World Parrot Trust - Red-spectacled Amazon (January, 2012)
CITES (January, 2012)
- Russello, M.A. and Amato, G. (2004) A molecular phylogeny of Amazona: implications for Neotropical parrot biogeography, taxonomy, and conservation. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 30(2): 421-437.
BirdLife International - Red-spectacled Amazon (January, 2012)
- Juniper, T. and Parr, M. (1998) Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World. Pica Press, Sussex.
- Sweeney, R.G. (1997) The red-spectacled Amazon Amazona pretrei at Loro Parque. Avicultural Magazine, 103: 101-106.
- Prestes, N.P., Martinez, J., Meyrer, P.A., Hansen, L.H. and Negri Xavier, M.de. (1997) Nest characteristics of red-spectacled Amazon Amazona pretrei Temminck, 1830 (Aves, Psittacidae). Ararajuba, 5: 151-158.
- Marini, M.A., Barbet-Massin, M., Martinez, J., Prestes, N.P. and Jiguet, F. (2010) Applying ecological niche modelling to plan conservation actions for the Red-spectacled Amazon (Amazona pretrei). Biological Conservation, 143(1): 102-112.
Birdlife International (1992) Threatened Birds of the Americas. Birdlife International, Cambridge. Available at: