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                Cuban Amazon

                Cuban Amazon

                Cuban parrot, Rose-throated parrot, White-headed amazon parrot

                Kingdom
                Phylum
                Class
                Family
                Genus
                SPECIES
                Amazona leucocephala
                Population size
                Unknown
                Life Span
                50-60 yrs
                WEIGHT
                260-301 g
                LENGTH
                28-33 cm

                The Cuban amazon, as its name suggests, comes from Cuba, where it is called "Loro o Cotorra de Cuba." It is about the same size as a pigeon and is amongst the smallest Amazon parrots. Its plumage is mainly green, with bright pinky-red cheeks and throat, white feathers around and above its eyes, and a purple-pink to dull maroon abdomen. Its primaries or outer flight feathers are blue. The different species have feathers of different colors, particularly on their face, chin and throat. Their bill is pale yellow or is horn-colored and their eyes are olive-green.

                Distribution

                Cuban amazons are endemic to Cuba, the Bahamas and the Cayman Islands of the Caribbean. Mainly found at or close to sea level, they have been found in the Cuban mountains. They live in pine forests, dense scrubby woods, broadleaved woodland, palm groves, plantations, mangroves, and sometimes in cultivated garden areas.

                Geography

                Continents
                Subcontinents
                Countries

                Climate zones

                Habits and Lifestyle

                Cuban amazons are diurnal and social. They relatively sedentary and do not migrate. Outside of the breeding season they are found in pairs, or groups with several birds, or 30 or more. They are generally very noisy especially while flying. Their calls are a range of shrill, metallic shrieks and harsh screeches. Although usually found in fairly big flocks, they may still maintain some manner of family unit, as within flocks, groups of twos or threes may be seen, the smaller groups leaving the flock to feed only with each other. The small group then joins the larger flock as night approaches. As with many parrot species that exhibit tactile communication by means of allopreening and beak grabbing play, it is likely that this species exhibits the same behavior.

                Diet and Nutrition

                Cuban amazons are herbivores (folivores and frugivores), they eat the seeds and fruits of a wide range of plants, such as cultivated fruit like mango and papaya, and also stems, blossoms and buds.

                Mating Habits

                MATING BEHAVIOR
                REPRODUCTION SEASON
                March-September
                INCUBATION PERIOD
                26-28 days
                INDEPENDENT AGE
                56-60 days
                FEMALE NAME
                hen
                MALE NAME
                cock
                BABY NAME
                chick
                BABY CARRYING
                2-4 eggs

                Cuban amazons are monogamous breeders and pairs mate for life. During the breeding season, they are seen more often on their own or in pairs, rather than in larger groups. Breeding is from March to September, with nests built in cavities in hollow trees, except for the population of Abaco Bahama amazons, which nest on the ground in limestone cavities. 2 to 4 white, almost round eggs are laid, and are incubated for a period of 26 to 28 days. The eggs hatch 12-72 hours apart and the chicks are altricial when born, without feathers and with their eyes closed. The chicks’ eyes open at about 3 weeks old and the nestling period is 56 to 60 days.

                Population

                Population threats

                Cuban amazon populations are under threat due to conversion of land for agriculture, damage to nesting trees from hurricanes, trapping of live individuals for trade both locally and internationally as pets and food, and the pushing over of trees to get chicks from nests for trade. The Bahamas Abaco population is also threatened by habitat loss and predation by cats.

                Population number

                No estimate of population size is available for this species. According to the Wikipedia resource, specific populations of the Cuban amazon have been estimated in these areas: Cuba - 10,000 individuals, including 1,100-1,320 birds on Isla de la Juventud Island; Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman - about 3,400 individuals and on Cayman Brac - 400-500 individuals; Abaco - 3,550 individuals; Inagua - 6,350 individuals. According to the Bahamas National Trust resource, Abaco holds 3,000 - 5,000 birds and the Inagua population is 8,000 - 13,000 birds. Overall, currently Cuban amazons are classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List and their numbers today are decreasing.

                Ecological niche

                Having large home ranges and being able to fly long distances, due to their diet, these birds are likely to be important as a seed disperser for the local plants.

                Fun Facts for Kids

                • Christopher Columbus was so impressed by the numbers of the Bahama parrot (a subspecies of the Cuban amazon) numbers when he arrived in The Bahamas in l492, that in his log he recorded, “Flocks of parrots darken the sun”.
                • The Bahama parrot was recognized in 1992 as the of?cial Quincentennial mascot.
                • Parrots have been pets for 3 millenniums. Ancient Egyptians kept them as pets, then the Chinese and Indians. They were carried to Europe in 300 BC,and lived with the nobles and other rich people.
                • Most parrots love nibbling on seeds, flowers and fruits, but some parrots enjoy a little meat, and they also occasionally like to eat insects.
                • The flag of Dominica has a parrot on it: the Sisserou parrot, their national bird emblem, a bird endemic to Dominica and endangered.

                References

                1. Cuban Amazon Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_amazon
                2. Cuban Amazon on The IUCN Red List site - http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22686201/0

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