Determining the status of the Yellow-headed Parrot in Belize

The Yellow-headed Parrot has undergone a dramatic population decline, judged at 90% since the mid-1970s, to 7,000 birds in 1994. The race belizensis was widespread in coastal Belize, but is now primarily restricted to central and north-west areas, mostly in pine-oak forests along the coastal plains. Further on-going rapid population decline is very probable, and qualifies this species as Endangered.

Amazona oratrix belizensis
Conservation status: Category EN (Endangered) in the Red List of the IUCN
Wild population: <7,000, in decline.
Captive population: Not known.


To estimate the wild population size of the Yellow-headed Parrot in Belize, to evaluate nesting success in protected and unprotected areas, to assess the threats to nesting pair, and to develop protocols for a coordinated national monitoring effort.


The update to the global status of this species and additional information will be used to develop and implement countrywide conservation strategies in protected and unprotected areas. The Belize Forest Department, Environmental Research Institute, and non-governmental organizations desire to collaborate in order to determine the status of this species, develop conservation policies, and initiate a national monitoring and protection strategy.


Pine savannas in protected and unprotected areas are being surveyed, with estimation of abundance by distance sampling along 200 line transects. Roost sites are being searched by talking to locals and by the observation of movements from local high elevation locations. Nests are being searched along line transects, and located are monitored on a weekly basis. A serious threat to the coastal pine savannas in southern Belize are the annual illegal fires that have probably reduced the presence of natural cavities in dead pines. Introduced artificial nests have been quickly occupied, suggesting a lack of suitable natural cavities. The local illegal pet trade is the greatest threat to this species although there is some evidence that some exploitation for foreign markets occurs. The motives for starting fires are under investigation, as well as identifying the chain of trading the young parrots


Local Partner
Scarlet Six Biomonitoring Team

Funding since 2016: 15,070$
Amazona oratrix belizensis

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