Monday, July 28, 2008

Adopt a Bird Spotlight: Arizona (Thick-billed parrot)

Arizona's Story

Species: Thick-billed Parrot
Hatched: 8/8/96

Arizona was the third thick-billed parrot hatched and raised successfully by the World Bird Sanctuary. Thick-bills are the last remaining parrot species indigenous to North America. Once found in the high elevation pine forests of Arizona and New Mexico, they are now found only in the highland pine forests of northern and central Mexico. Attempts to reestablish a wild population in Arizona have so far been unsuccessful due to logging of the old growth pine forests necessary for their success, and the breeding success of various predators.

Arizona spends his time traveling the country to bring the message of the consequences of habitat destruction to thousands of audience memebers each year. Perhaps, with his help, conservationists will someday be successful in reestablishing a wild thick-bill parrot population in its native Arizona and New Mexico territory. Until then, this little ambassador for his species will continue to educate and entertain audiences with his message about the plight of endangered species.

To see more of these beautiful little birds, take a walk along the upper nature trail at the World Bird Sanctuary where visitors can view our resident flock.

To adopt Arizona, simply click our donation button, make a donation of $150, and specify in your payment notes: Adopt-a-bird: ARIZONA. Also include your name, phone number, and mailing address so that we can send you your adoption materials!

Every donation helps to feed, house, and provide medical care for the bird of your choice! Adopt-A-Bird Parents Receive:

  • *A personal visit with the bird you adopt!!!!! Call 636-861-3225 to set up a time for
  • your personal visit.
  • * Certificate of Adoption
  • * Color photo of the bird you've adopted
  • * Sponsorship Card
  • * One year's subscription to Mews News (our quarterly newsletter)
  • * Life History and Natural History of the bird
  • * 10% Discount off WBS merchandise
  • * Invitation to Sponsors-only events like Camera Day
  • * Discounts on WBS Special Events
  • * WBS Decal

Natural History

Thick-billed parrot
Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha

Description: pigeon sized; bright green overall; red forehead, eye stripe, and bend of wing, with red splotching on the thighs; a small patch of yellow on under wing coverts seen when in flight; adults have amber eyes surrounded by a yellow eye ring and black beak with dark grey legs and feet; wings and long green tail are both pointed

Sex: so similar as to be virtually indistinguishable

Age: juveniles have brown eyes and a flesh colored bill which turns black by the end of the first year; individuals may live 35-40 years

Length: 15-17”

Weight: 11-13 oz.

Habitat: high country pine and conifer forests;

Status: once inhabited the mountains of southern Arizona and south through the Sierra Madre mountains in western Mexico; extirpated from the U.S. by about 1920 through hunting activity; logging of large stands of old-growth forests in Mexico has taken a further toll on the remaining Mexican population; it is estimated that there now remains only 1000-4000 Thick-billed parrots in the wild; status is ENDANGERED; attempts to reestablish a population in Arizona during the 1980s was unsuccessful due to the birds’ inability to elude a well established population of predator species

Range: high mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental in western Mexico, migrating to their winter breeding range south of Durango to Colima and Michoacan, Mexico

Behavior: social birds that live in large flocks; an adult pair may stay together for life; nesting pairs have been known to share trees with up to three nests in one tree; breeding occurs in mid-summer to mid-fall to coincide with the peak of pine seed production; one clutch of 1-4 eggs is laid in a cavity next in a large conifer (old woodpecker holes are preferred); incubation is 28 days; hatchlings attempt their first flights at approximately 2 months, but remain dependent on parents until about 7 months

Diet: primarily pine seeds from various pine species are the preferred food; will also eat acorns, conifer buds and other food

Vocalization: large repertoire of calls; screech that can be heard up to 2 miles

√ The Thick-billed parrot is one of only two parrots formerly native to the U.S. The other (the Carolina Parakeet) is extinct


Anonymous said...

The assertion that the Thick-billed parrot re-introduction in Arizona was unsuccessful is somewhat doubtful. There are multiple colonies that thrive in the Phoenix-Metro area.

World Bird Sanctuary said...

Interesting. Audubon Watch and the Phoenix Zoo say otherwise as does every other source I've looked at this afternoon.

If you are correct, that is very exciting! Do you have photographs of the birds?

Anonymous said...

I will try and get some pics this week.

Anonymous said...

Okay, finally was able to get some pictures.

How do you post them?

Anonymous said...

It took a bit longer due to technical difficulties (as you will see from the pictures).

The nest is on a private property, and although I got a new camera, the range and lighting conditions during their en mass return to the nest site every evening weren't as conductive to taking quality shots.

The pictures may be viewed here:







Hope this helps!