ABACO PARROTS FOR THE NEW YEAR!
Red, green, blue, and a touch of snowy white. The colours of Christmas, sort of. We are past all that for another year, but for those on Abaco the unique, ground-nesting Abaco parrots Amazona leucocephala flash those same colours throughout the year.
These birds have cousins on Inagua that nest conventionally; and there are now a handful of NASSAU PARROTS on New Providence, of uncertain origin (click link for more on these).
The parrots are only found in South Abaco, between Marsh Harbour and the National Park where they live and breed in limestone holes in the forest floor.
You are most likely to hear these birds before you see them, as they make their way daily north in the morning and back again in the evening.
Despite the racket they make, finding the parrots in the National Park is a bit ‘needle-in-haystack’. Instead, try the Gilpin Point point area, and coppice areas to the north. They pass back and forth over Delphi, pausing to squabble noisily, almost daily. I have made several recordings of them – here’s one example.
Far and away the best location is Bahama Palm Shores, where the mix of dense coppice with their favourite gumbo limbo trees and the open gardens is much to their liking. And frankly, it’s a great place for birding anyway, even if you blank for the parrots.
Just think: a dozen years ago, these fine birds were sliding towards extinction, with an unsustainable population of fewer than 900. Conservation efforts and in particular attention to habitat protection and predator control have resulted in population increases year-on-year, and the total now stands at around 5000 adults.
I’ve posted quite a lot about these parrots over the years, so if you are already familiar with them, I hoped you felt free to skip the text, and simply to admire these wonderful creatures.
Credits: Gerlinde Taurer, Craig Nash, Tom Sheley, Caroline Stahala, Keith Salvesen, Peter Mantle, Nina Henry, Erik Gauger; audio recording Keith Salvesen
Loved the photos and introduction to a species that was on the road to extinction a little over a decade ago! The fact that finding them is akin to the ‘needle in a haystack’ scenerio is likely a good reason why their numbers are what they are today. What are the nestlings’ main predator?
Hi Cheryl. Thanks for that. I was lucky enough to be around during some of the conservation program, and to know the scientist involved. The main problem was nest predation by feral cats, invasive/ introduced raccoons, and rats. On the bright side, the parrots in their caves are actually protected in from the not infrequent forest fires. Luckily, people no longer want to shoot the parrots…
Fantastic, RH! Lucky you have the Abaco parrots Amazona leucocephala flashing around you all the time. Aren’t they the prettiest, mot cheerful birds you ever saw? They put a big smile on my face up every time I look at them. The last image is a gem, but actually all of them are delightful. 💕 Somehow I can’t listen to the audio. 🎶 I klick it and then it disappaers. I’ll give it another try later.
Hope the New Year started well for you and yours, RH. All the best from us in Norfolk! (Birdwatching in Cley is great right now)
Hi Dina, and a very Happy New Year to you both. All 4, I mean of course. With the parrots, the starnge thing is that people never seem to tire of their raucous cries. However they do tend to keep on the move so maybe not has to endure it for long. And the sound is as joyous as the plumage! I’ll check the audio right now – then you’ll get a sample. All the best, RH
LikeLiked by 1 person
RH, it worked this time! Maybe you have fixed it already.
What an incredible sound!! 🙂 The first time I read your post in the reader, now I moved on to your site and it was absolutely fine.
Have a great weekend. x
LikeLiked by 1 person