email a friend
printable version
St Lucia Amazon Amazona versicolor
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

Conservation action may have saved this species from extinction. Numbers are now increasing and there is some evidence of a small range expansion. However, the area of apparently suitable (but unoccupied) habitat may be decreasing. If this begins to affect occupied habitat, the species may immediately qualify for uplisting to Endangered. At present, its small population size and small range on a single island qualify it as Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

43 cm. Colourful parrot. Blue face and forehead. Red area on breast becoming maroon and mottled on lower breast and belly. Red speculum. Dark blue primaries. Tail tipped yellow. Similar spp. Only parrot on St Lucia. Voice Noisy and raucous screeching. Also purring, cackling, shrieking and honking noises.

Distribution and population
Amazona versicolor occurs in the central-southern mountains of St Lucia. In 1950, there were 295 km2 of available habitat, but this has been reduced rapidly since the mid-1970s. There have been considerable population declines, but these are being reversed by concerted conservation action. Surveys in 1996 estimated the wild population at c.350-500 individuals (Juniper and Parr 1998), and noted some range expansion (J. D. Gilardi in litt. 1999).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 350-500 individuals, roughly equating to 230-330 mature individuals.

Trend justification
There are no new data on population trends, therefore the species is assumed to still be increasing.

It favours montane, moist primary forest, mainly at 500-900 m, but also forages in secondary growth (Juniper and Parr 1998). It nests in tree-holes, and breeding takes place in February-March or later (Collar 1997a). Breeding success is apparently similar to other Caribbean and mainland Amazona parrots (J. D. Gilardi in litt. 1999).

The human population of St Lucia is growing at a considerable rate, increasing pressure on the forest and resulting in habitat loss (Copsey 1995). Selective logging of mature trees may significantly reduce breeding sites (Juniper and Parr 1998), and hurricanes, hunting and trade pose further threats. There have been recent efforts to lift the moratorium on hunting within forest reserves, which would seriously threaten this species (J. D. Gilardi in litt. 1999).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II. It is protected by domestic legislation (J. D. Gilardi in litt. 1999). Education and awareness programmes have turned the bird into a national symbol. This has successfully eliminated hunting (Juniper and Parr 1998), helped by a moratorium on hunting within forest reserves (J. D. Gilardi in litt. 1999). A captive-breeding programme was established in 1975, and in 1995 a total of 19 young birds had fledged (Copsey 1995). Conservation Actions Proposed
Maintain the hunting moratorium within all forest reserves. Conduct a basic study of the feeding and breeding ecology. Designate remaining habitat as protected areas. Reassess the objectives of the captive-breeding programme.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

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.; 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.

Copsey, J. 1995. An ethogram of social behaviours in captive St Lucia Parrots Amazona versicolor. Dodo: Journal of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust 31: 95-102.

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

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.

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.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D.

Gilardi, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Amazona versicolor. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

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 - Saint Lucia parrot (Amazona versicolor) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Psittacidae (Parrots)
Species name author (M?ller, 1776)
Population size 230-330 mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 140 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species