Psittacidae, one of the three true parrot families
California, Florida, Puerto Rico
Important Environmental Factors
High variation in seasonal rainfall
Any level of paved or compacted ground less than 90%
At least 200 meters above sea level
These parrots are primarily green, but are named for their yellow heads.
Habitat and Behavior
The parrots tend to prefer lowland habitats below 500 meters elevation, and will inhabit savannas, many kinds of forest, and cultivated areas where there are trees. They nest in tree cavities and snags of Roystonea palms, and breed from February to June. They feed primarily on fruit from both wild and cultivated trees (e.g. in orchards).
Status in Native Range
These parrots are endangered in their native range, and wild populations are so low that further declines are expected in the future. The main threats to the parrots include habitat loss and degradation—their range along the Pacific coast of Mexico is estimated to have contracted by 79% –and trapping for the pet trade. The species are able to “talk” quite well, and are thus very popular pets. In Belize, some local farmers have also resorted to hunting yellow-headed parrots that damage crops.
Impact in California
Yellow-headed parrots were once common from Los Angeles to San Diego, but wild populations have been decreasing . In 2015, only five individual birds were observed in Pasadena. As such, few negative impacts are associated with the parrots in California.
Species records provided by eBird.
We would like to thank Ashley Campfield for her research assistance.
- Monterrubio-Rico et al. (2010) in Oryx 44(2). [link]
- Mori et al. (2017) in Animal Biodiversity and Conservation 40(1).