Red-crowned Parrot Amazona viridigenalis: Short History of Sightings in Florida

Tuesday, January 20 2004 @ 03:52 PM UTC

Contributed by: Admin

The Red-crowned Parrot is a popular species in the pet trade, where it is often known as the Green-cheeked Parrot. It is native to the eastern coast of Mexico and was one of the first of the amazons to appear in numbers in South Florida.

A flock of 32 birds was observed in late 1972, and a pair nested in an Australian Pine in Miami in May 1973 (Owre 1973). The species is now doing poorly in Dade County, possibly from competition with the more numerous Orange-winged Parrots (A. amazonica) or from interbreeding with the closely related Lilac-crowned Parrot (A. finschi). Breeding was not confirmed in Dade County during the Atlas project. The species appears to be doing well in Broward County, where it was confirmed breeding in 2 quadrangles. It was also detected as a possible or probable breeder in St. Johns, Orange, and Palm Beach counties.

The Red-crowned Parrot is a habitat generalist in its native range (Forshaw 1973). In south Florida it is a suburban bird. Large flocks congregate at night roosts, generally in introduced Australian pines, the branches of which are flexible enough to protect the birds from most terrestrial predators. The Red-crowned Parrot eats a variety of fruits, berries, and flowers (Forshaw 1973). Martin (in Forshaw 1973) reported that the stomach of 1 bird collected in Mexico contained large numbers of pine seeds.

In Mexico, Red-crowned Parrots begin courtship in March (Forshaw 1973). As described by Sutton and Burleigh (in Forshaw 1973), courtship is an elaborate affair including courtship feeding and tandem aerial displays. Like all of the Amazon parrots, the Red-crowned Parrot is a cavity nester. Old woodpecker holes in palm trees are probably used in south Florida. Based on captive breeding, the clutch is comprised of 2 or 3 white eggs, incubation lasts approximately 26 days, and the nestling period lasts about 68 days (Vriends 1984).

Bruce Neville