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Yellow-shouldered Amazon Amazona barbadensis

This species has a small range within which trade and habitat loss and possibly introduced mammalian predators are likely to be causing declines (Collar et al. 1992). This combination qualifies it as Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at:
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

33 cm. Overall green parrot with white forehead and lores. Yellow crown and ear-coverts around bare white orbital patch. Yellow chin. Bluish tinge on lower cheeks and around chin. Yellow shoulders and thighs. Red speculum. Dark blue tips to flight feathers. Voice Noisy and raucous, including dry rattling screeet and trilling scree-ee-ee-ak.

Distribution and population
Amazona barbadensis has a disjunct range with seven genetically isolated populations in northern coastal Venezuela (Falcón, Lara, Anzoátegui and Sucre) and the islands of Margarita, La Blanquilla, Curaçao and Bonaire (Caribbean Netherlands) (Rodríguez-Ferraro 2009). References to the presence of a wild parrot population on on Curaçao are made in an 18th century historical source (A. O. Debrot in litt. 1999, 2007); there have been modern reports since 1988 (De Boer 2008, A. Rodríguez-Ferraro in litt. 2012). It is now extinct on Aruba (to Netherlands). The mainland population seems low, while numbers on the islands (1,600 on Margarita in 2008 [Briceño-Linares et al. 2011], 100 on La Blanquilla in 1996-1998 [Rodríguez-Ferraro and Sanz 2007], and 650-800 on Bonaire in 2012 [Department of Resources and Planning, Bonaire per R. Martin and S. Williams in litt. 2012]) appear to fluctuate, but have increased on Margarita from 750 birds in 1989 (Sanz and Grajal 1998). In 1992, 12 captive-reared birds were reintroduced to Margarita, with some success (Sanz and Grajal 1998).

Population justification
The species's island populations total over 1,300 individuals (over 910 on Margarita, fewer than 80 on Blanquilla and over 400 on Bonaire), and it also occurs on mainland Venezuela. Its population is placed in the band 2,500-9,999 individuals, equating to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A slow and on-going population decline is suspected owing to illegal poaching and habitat loss.

It inhabits xerophytic vegetation, frequenting desert shrublands dominated by cacti and low thorn-bushes or trees. Nesting takes place in cavities in trees, cacti or cliffs, generally from March to August (Sanz and Rodríguez-Ferraro 2006). Average clutch size is 3.38 eggs per nest, and most eggs survive until hatching. It tends to roost communally in tall trees, with groups of up to 700 birds recorded (Juniper and Parr 1998).

It is widely exploited for trade, which serves a strong internal pet market (many chicks taken in Bonaire are believed to end up in Curaçao [R. Martin and S. Williams in litt. 2007, Martin 2009, Williams 2009]). Tourist and associated developments are destroying habitat, especially on Margarita, where the principal breeding, roosting and feeding-sites are threatened by unregulated mining for construction materials (Collar 1997a, Snyder et al. 2000). However, the main threat is from poaching for pets and the pet trade (C.J. Sharpe in litt. 2011). In some areas, it is hunted for allegedly damaging crops (Rodríguez and Rojas-Suárez 1995, Snyder et al. 2000). On Bonaire, natural vegetation has been heavily degraded historically for timber and charcoal production, and more recently through intensive grazing by goats and donkeys, drastically reducing natural food species diversity and availability (A. O. Debrot in litt. 1999, 2007, Williams 2009). The impoverished food resource and lack of mature trees for nest sites are believed to limit effective population size (Williams 2009). Introduced mammalian predators and the destruction of nest sites resulting from poaching activity also appear to limit its reproductive potential on Bonaire (R. Martin and S. Williams in litt. 2007, Martin 2009, Williams 2009). Negative attitudes due its perception as a crop pest in agricultural and urban areas of Bonaire may encourage persecution and undermine support for conservation efforts (R. Martin and S. Williams in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II, but legal protection in Venezuela is not enforced (C. J. Sharpe, J. P. Rodríguez and F. Rojas-Suárez in litt. 1999). It occurs in Morrocoy, Cerro El Copey, Laguna de la Restinga and Washington-Slagbaai National Parks. In addition, Venezuelan NGO Provita has established the 700 ha Chacaracual Community Conservation Area (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2011). In 2006 and 2007 reforestation of the Washington-Slagbaai park began by successful reintroduction of rare native drought resistant berry and fruit bearing tree species. In 2007 the fence to exclude goats from a large section of the park was restored (A. O. Debrot in litt. 2007) but goat removal has not yet commenced (S. Williams in litt. 2012). There is a conservation and awareness-raising campaign on Margarita and La Blanquilla (Snyder et al. 2000). The reintroduction programme on Margarita was preceded by five years of environmental education, public awareness and ecological studies (Sanz and Grajal 1998). On Bonaire, awareness campaigns began in 1998-1999 and are ongoing, in combination with ecological research activity. An amnesty of captive birds took place in 2002, with all declared birds identified using a numbered ring on the leg to aid in anti-poaching law enforcement (R. Martin and S. Williams in litt. 2007). In 2011 and 2012 24 captive reared birds have been released on Bonaire and there are plans to release another 20 (R. Martin and S. Williams in litt. 2012). People still keeping illegal birds can be fined up to $550 (Williams 2010). Supplemental feeding has also been carried out during extreme droughts (A. O. Debrot in litt. 1999, 2007). In 2010 the NGO Echo was established on Bonaire to address threats through research and monitoring. The Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance is producing a species management plan for the Caribbean Netherlands (R. Martin and S. Williams in litt. 2012). On Margarita artificial nests were introduced but suffered higher rates of poaching. The repair of natural nesting cavities has proved more successful (Sanz et al. 2003). Genetic studies are being carried out to resolve the taxonomic status of subpopulations (R. Martin and S. Williams in litt. 2007, 2012). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to determine distribution and status throughout range. Monitor key populations. Regulate captive populations and reduce poaching incentives (A. O. Debrot in litt. 1999, 2007), whilst promoting structured captive breeding programmes. Deploy anti-poaching measures in known breeding areas (A. O. Debrot in litt. 1999, 2007). On Bonaire, establish protected areas of key breeding, roosting and feeding areas and promote habitat restoration (A. O. Debrot in litt. 1999, 2007).  Explore potential for reintroduction to Aruba where suitable habitat is thought to exist (R. Martin and S. Williams in litt. 2012)

Briceo-Linares, J.M.; Rodríguez, J.P.; Rodríguez-Clark, K.M.; Rojas-Surez, F.; Milln, P.A.; Vittori, E.G.; Carrasco-Muoz, M. 2011. Adapting to changing poaching intensity of yellow-shouldered parrot (Amazona barbadensis) nestlings in Margarita Island, Venezuela. Biological Conservation 144: 1188-1193.

Collar, N. J. 1997. Psittacidae (Parrots). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. (ed.), Handbook of the birds of the world, pp. 280-477. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

De Boer, B. A. 2008. Our Birds: Curacao, Bonaire, Aruba. 5th ed. Dieren Bescherming, Curacao.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1997. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 4: Sandgrouse to Cuckoos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Juniper, T.; Parr, M. 1998. Parrots: a guide to the parrots of the world. Pica Press, Robertsbridge, UK.

Martin, R. O. 2009. Long-term monogamy in a long-lived parrot: mating system and life history evolution in the yellow-shouldered amazon parrot Amazona barbadensis. 2009. Factors affecting the life history, abundance and distribution of the yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot (Amazona barbadensis) on Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles. University of Sheffield.

Rodríguez-Ferraro, A. 2009. Who's who? & how we know - genetics & conservation. PsittaScene 21(3): 3-5.

Rodríguez-Ferraro, A.; Blake, J. G. 2008. Diversity patterns of bird assemblages in arid zones of northern Venezuela. Condor 110(3): 405-420.

Rodríguez-Ferraro, A.; Sanz, V. 2007. Natural history and population status of the Yellow-shouldered Parrot on La Blanquilla Island, Venezuela. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 119(4): 602-609.

Rodríguez, J. P.; Rojas-Suárez, F. 1995. Libro Rojo de la fauna Venezolana. Provita, Caracas.

Rojas-Suárez, F.; Rodríguez, J.P. 2008. Cotorra cabeciamarilla Amazona barbadensis. In: Rodríguez, J.P. and Rojas-Suárez, F. (eds), Libro Rojo de la fauna Venezolana. Tercera Edición, pp. 135. Provita & Shell Venezuela, S.A., Caracas, Venezuela.

Sanz, V.; Grajal, A. 1998. Successful reintroduction of captive-raised Yellow-shouldered Amazon parrots on Margarita Island, Venezuela. Conservation Biology 12: 430-441.

Sanz, V.; Rodriguez-Ferraro, A. 2006. Reproductive parameters and productivity of the Yellow-shouldered Parrot on Margarita Island, Venezuela: a long-term study. Condor 108: 178-192.

Sanz, V.; Rodriguez-Ferraro, A.; Albornoz, M.; Bertsch, C. 2003. Use of artificial nests by the Yellow-shouldered Parrot (Amazona barbadensis). Ornitologia Neotropical 14: 345-351.

Snyder, N.; McGowan, P.; Gilardi, J.; Grajal, A. 2000. Parrots: status survey and conservation action plan 2000-2004. International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Williams, S. 2010. Progress! Parrot conservation on Bonaire. PsittaScene 22(1): 9-11.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomo

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Clay, R., Isherwood, I., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Wege, D.

Rodríguez, J., Rojas-Suárez, F., Sharpe, C J, Rodríguez-Ferraro, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Amazona barbadensis. Downloaded from on 11/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 11/07/2014.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Yellow-shouldered parrot (Amazona barbadensis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author (Gmelin, 1788)
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 11,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species