Puerto Rican Amazon

Puerto Rican Amazon

Scientific Name: Amazona vittata

Origin: Puerto Rico

Average Lifespan: Up to 27 years

Size: Up to 11 – 12 inches head to tail

Color:  Mainly green with blue edged feathers

Sounds: Vocal communicator

Interaction: Social

puerto rican amazon perching on a tree branch

Photo: Blake Matheson | Flickr

Physical Characteristics of the Puerto Rican Amazon

The Puerto Rican Amazon is a medium sized parrot specie that could grow up to 12 inches in length and weigh as much as 9.7 oz. Its body is covered with mainly green plumage with a hint of blue on the edges. The forehead area and lore are red. The circle of the eyes are white and with brown irises. Beaks and legs are flesh or horn colored. The lower body up to the breast are light yellow green. The nape and back have black edgings and some part of the abdomen both have black and reddish tinge. Its primary wings are dominant blue that can be recognized easily when in flight.

Personality and Temperament

These birds are loyal to their partners as they only change mates if one of them perishes, however, when a female bird becomes injured, the male bird leaves it and look for another female to mate and become  a partner.

In the wild, the male Amazon is the one who leads in search for an area to nest but the final decision to settle is made by the female. Once they’ve come to an agreement to settle in the specific nesting area, they will find time to inspect the area and clean it before they fully settle. They are diurnal in nature and usually starts their day half an hour after the sun rises.

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The Puerto Rican Amazon is very territorial and protects their nesting territory up to 50 meters in diameter. Whenever one of them leaves their nest, they are very quiet and careful so they will not attract predators. Their protective and territorial instincts could even get them in to combat with their predators and other bird species or even their own kind that pose as threat to their nesting place.

Health and Care

The Puerto Rican Amazon has been prohibited from being sold as household pet due to its very rapid population decrease. Many avian organizations approved of minimizing its use as pets to make sure that the specie’s population could increase under their care or in large aviaries where these birds could easily adapt. It is included in the list of endangered Amazon species. Human interaction is very rare as these birds may think of humans as one of their predators.

They are herbivores and in captivity, this Amazon specie must be fed as much as possible with foods similar to what they eat in the wild like leaves, flowers, and nectars from forest canopy. They also feed on fruits and barks. These birds don’t use their beak directly to eat but they first pick up the food with their feet.  They feed in a slow manner taking them up to a minute to fully consume the food in their mouth.

History and Background

A juvenile Puerto Rican Amazon reaches its full maturity at 4 years of age. A couple breeds only once a year and normally during the first half of the year. In a clutch, a female is able to deliver 2-4 eggs which she incubates for 24 to 28 days. The hatchlings are fed by both parents until they are able to fledge at 60 to 65 days.

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These species were very abundant even before the arrival of the Spanish colony in Puerto Rico. According to researchers, the population had even reached up to millions during that time and it is said that this specie even inhabited the areas of the surrounding islands particularly the Virgin Islands and Antigua.

After the rise of human population in the 18th century, the species began to decrease in numbers because of the agricultural development, industrialization, and adoption of young Puerto Rican Amazon chicks as pets.

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