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#395303 12/21/10 03:37 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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In the absence of a scientific count, I am trying to gather local information on yellow-head numbers (Amazona oratrix belizensis). I believe this bird is now critically endangered, but unfortunately I need a few facts to back up my paranoia.
Chris has already written to me about this, but that was a year ago and has long since gone to email heaven with a crashed computer. Sorry Mr Chris!
The species has been listed as endangered since 1994 and from what I am hearing of continued poaching I can't believe that numbers have done anything but decline over the last 16 years.

It's a lot to ask, I know but I would appreciate any information members have about this bird: nesting success, poached nests, sightings of the bird, numbers from memory compared to now, sightings of fledglings, and any `heresay' and
reports from villagers, especially the elders, of evidence of decline or localized extirpation and finally info regarding birds in captivity: numbers, vague locations, approx year of appearance, any that were caged and have
disappeared (not after `shopping' anyone with the info, I just want to get an idea of how many are out there and how long they last) I fear if we don't do something fast, this bird will be gone from our forests
Thanks for any information, and sorry if you get this more than once in various forms.
If you can spread this request outside of this group, I would be so grateful.

Post info in this group, or meail directly [email protected]
or post to!/group.php?gid=26192304377

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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From Elbert.....

I'm offered this bird regularly by belizeans wanting to sell as a pet. Heres how the story goes, 'It fell from the tree" or the tree fell over in a storm, truth is the tree is cut to acquire the bird in almost all cases. The tree crashes down adults fly away and surviving chicks are collected for market. children are usually the sellers, adults in villages across Belize are the collectors(tree cutters). Bomba Village and Maskal Village have direct contacts with tourist areas like San Pedro and I see thoes villagers selling the most. I live in Northern belize and don't have a chance to witness the activity down south.

The people buying the bird are the ones that can control this. Saying 'No' in a loud way and explain how wrong it is to the children sales people, making shame for them is a very good start. Shame them and shame on the people sending them out with the birds to sell.

If someone tries to sell you a bird 99% chance the story about falling from a tree will be used.

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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More discussion from a friend...

Yellow-Headed Parrots are by far the most common parrot in the savannahs from Deep River to Red Bank. I have about 20 pairs flying overhead morning and evening. I would say that is about 10 pairs down from 20 yrs ago.
Along the rivers and forest edge the Red- Lored becomes more abundant and I will guess that are the ones gathering by Chris place.
Both the YH and the RL have gathering points on the way flying out as well as comming home, where they usual sit sharing latest gossip quite loudly - for about 20 minuttes.
I know several such places.
Capturing use to be quite common e.g. I know a guy who bagged 50 in a season some years ago. I think the "hunting" for parrots like that have slowed down some how, but people take them when they accidental are found. Some Maya communities hunt them for food as well.
The only place that I know who are monitoring nesting is Paynee's Creek NP.

YH and RL parrots are strictly in pairs - as are the scarlet Macaws. Mealy parrots are both loners and in pairs - sometimes small groups. The small forest parrots like Parakeets, Brown Hooded and White Fronted are moving in flocks - some times very large flocks.

Many of the larger parrots, which are in pairs or loners all have social moments, where many pairs stops over at a certain place(normally the same place) and loudly socialize. This normally occurs at early morning on the way to the feeding grounds and just before dusk on the way home to roosting site.
Scarlet Macaws also move in larger groups to feeding grounds - but they are in pairs while doing so.
Parakeets rarely stops over for longer time unless it is a feeding spot.
Parakeets are not that common in the forest around Monkey River and me best guess will be that it is Red-Lored Parrots comming to xxx's house. It can be Yellow-Headed since the feed in the area, but to my knowledge they usually meet in the Savannah and not in forest or mangrove.

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Sound like red loreds to me... I saw a flock of 106 tonight. they steadily increase in flock number from to September to this point in the year, then become more sporadic again as the breding/mating season gets underway.
Red lored fly in pairs within the squadron, level, measured flight with even wing beats and horizontal wings. their call is a fwweeet fwweeet (double call as you describe) and once landed for regrouping, they take of with a clatter of qwak qwak before settling back to the fweet fweet. they do resemble a Battle-of-Britain movie scene!
White-fronts also fly in pairs, but they 'bounce off' one another rather than flying flat and even, and their wings form a childs drawing of a bird in the sky (like an elongated letter m) They bounce all over the sky and clatter and chatter all the time, rarely settling into an even chant like the red loreds. Parakeets have the very distinctive long tail - they look like a cross flying, and there's usually lots of them, and they are really quick and quite mad. they fly quite low and swoop up into trees rather than fluttering down onto them like the red loreds..
Yellow loreds fly like white-fronts but have a totally different call - more like a rapid repeated wee-ooo-wob. Pionus have a fast high-pitched gutteral squeak, they seem to fly a lot higher than any others and are just dots in the sky rather than pairs.


Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Nikki's description of the call fweet fweet is exactly right. Picture Sue and I sitting here going fweet fweet to each other (no a bit less "ee" and a bit more "t", that sounds more like it) Anyone listening would have thought we had gone quite mad (or bodmin as they say back home).
They do fly in pairs, but a lot of them together so difficult to see if they maintain couples. Dfinately no long tails. And they do seem to fly "in step" with wing beats. They are short dumpy bodied. i think this all points to red head.
I will make a point of looking more carefully next time i see them, now i know the key features to look for.
Enough fweets from me, onward and upward!

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Nicely done Chris. If you have binoculars and they are flying towards you and the sun... the red is very distinctive, as is the white on the white-fronts. I know this is keeping you awake at nights! If it helps, they also make a gutteral blurp-blurp-blurp sound in betwen the fweets :-)


Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Here are 2 pictures for showing the 1) YH and 2) RL Amazon Parrots

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 2,208
If you are approached by someone trying to sell baby parrots, Elbert is absolutely correct about the source. The poaching of Belizean parrots for sale is one of the most serious threats to parrots in Belize. Many of these parrots end up in resorts that claim they were 'rescued' and put on display (illegally) for tourists. Others end up in homes that are poorly equipped to care for a highly intelligent and demanding animal with very specific dietary requirements.

If you encounter anyone claiming to have birds from a fallen tree, get their details and let Forest Department know. It is imperative that if we want any wildlife left for the next generation in Belize, we all do our part to protect it.

Nikki from Belize Bird Rescue is doing a wonderful job. Please support their efforts to protect parrots in Belize and don't ever buy a parrot as a pet in Belize as the only rescued parrots in Belize are with organisations like Belize Bird Rescue and the Belize Zoo who have been licensed to care for and rehabilitate them.
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