The wild parrots of Abaco are very special birds. Uniquely they nest underground in limestone holes which provides protection, not least from forest fires. Thanks to a program of intensive research over the last few years, far more is now known about these birds and their breeding habits. Investigations into predation have led to effective predator controls. The evidence this year is that the population numbers, having stabilised, are gradually rising to a sustainable level of some 4000 birds. The parrot below has been ringed as a chick as part of the continuing monitoring program.

I will soon be posting about the current breeding season – the parrots are in their limestone cavity nests now, the eggs are laid, the chicks will soon be hatching. Caroline Stahala, the Abaco parrot expert familiar to those who follow this blog (see ABACO PARROTS), will soon be reporting on this years breeding and chick-ringing program. In the meantime, here are some of Caroline’s pictures taken during the past season of the parrots in all their glory…

The parrots mainly live and breed in the pine forest of the Abaco National Park

During the day they fly northwards, often in large noisy groups, where they feed. One of their favourite treats is the fruit of the Gumbo Limbo tree. This sometimes requires acrobatic skill

The sunshine brings out their bright colouring. When they fly, the blue on their wings is wonderful 

Besides Gumbo Limbo berries, the parrots enjoy feeding on seeds

A parrot takes flight near a nest cavity. There’ll be more photos of parrot nests later this month

(All photos © C. Stahala / Rolling Harbour)


    • Hi Will, thanks for calling in. In the photos the parrots are eating gumbo limbo fruit, which seems to be their favourite. But they are keen on many other fruits including wild guava, poisonwood berries, pigeon berry, and the fruit pond-top palm. During the breeding season, Cuban / Bahama parrots in Abaco eat the seeds from the Pine trees in the forest (a protected National Park) where they nest in limestone holes and caves on the ground. RH


  1. Pingback: Abaco Parrots | standingoutinmyfield

    • …and thank you for your comment. The development / habitat loss problem was largely solved by the creation of a large protected National Park in the pine forests at the south of the island where the parrots breed. The rest is down to the specialist attention they get. Any downside? A flock of 20 parrots can have a fairly noisy party as they feed, until they decide to move on! RH
      PS I plan to post about the breeding very soon – nesting, eggs, chicks, ringing etc – if you are interested.


    • Many thanks for passing this on, Ann. Hope people will enjoy these photos, and the success story of 10 years of conservation of a threatened species – man, habitat loss and feral cats being the primary causes of depletion in numbers.



Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s