At The Zoo and Still in the Wild! Our Yellow Headed Parrot

From Sharon . . .

One of the most popular birds in Belize is our yellow-headed parrot, Amazona oratrix belizensis. The last part of this parrot's scientific name tells us something important. Our yellow-headed parrot is unique to Belize! With far more yellow on the bird's head, a distinct white eye-ring, and pale bill, the Belize yellow-headed parrot is truly special to our country.

Unlike other species of parrots in Belize, the yellow-headed parrot lives exclusively in the pine savanna habitat.. In the overall profile of our ecosystems, pine savanna makes up less than 15% of our lands. So, right from the start, the home ofr our yellow-headed parrots is limited in range. The actual status of this parrot, as noted in BIRDS OF BELIZE, is "Globally Endangered."

Yellow-headed parrots eat fruits and seeds, and are particularly fond of the craboo found growing in the pine savaana. They "hang out" in flocks, and can usually be heard before they are seen. The call of the yellow-headed parrot is unlike any of the other parrot-calls. Experienced (and not so experienced) bird-watchers can readily recognize this loud squawking.

A major threat to the yellow-headed parrot in Belize, is their being hunted for pets. So many people want a "Polly". Unfortunately, the way the hunting occurs, is that chicks are taken from the nest, and this contributes greatly to the reduction of the species population in the wild.

The yellow-headed parrot, like all members of the parrot family, live long lives. A life span of over 40 years in captivity, is not uncommon. What IS common is that these birds make noise every morning and evening, and that noise level is very loud! So, owning a "Polly" means that not only are there less in the wild (where they belong), but that your long-term "house-guest' is likely to wake you up and bring a close to your day, with its parrot screams and squawks!

It is no accident that all of the yellow-headed parrots at The Belize Zoo are former pets. Their owners grew weary of their noise as well as the responsibility of caring for the birds. So now, their "home sweet home" is The Best Little Zoo in the World! But remember, the happiest yellow-headed parrots, so rare and so special, are the "Pollys" living in the wild here in Belize.

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