At the Zoo
South American Tropical Rainforest and Aviary
- Cuban amazons have zygodactyl feet for climbing, meaning two toes in front and two in back.
- There are four recognized subspecies of Cuban amazons.
- Throughout most of their range they nest in tree cavities, such as abandoned woodpecker nest holes and dead palms that have lost their foliage, but the Abaco Island (Bahamas) population has adapted to nesting underground in limestone crevices, where they are protected from wildfires.
The Cuban Amazon is a medium-sized mainly green parrot reaching 11-13 inches in height. The green feathers are edged with a black rim giving it a scaled appearance, and wings include some blue feathers. The head is a distinctive combination of pinky-red on the throat and cheeks, and white on the feathers just above the beak between the eyes.
They are found in Cuba, the Bahamas, and the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean, in woodlands and dry forests. Cuban amazons are arboreal, diurnal, and herbivorous, mainly feeding on fruits and seeds.
In the winter, Cuban amazons gather in flocks and disperse into pairs during the breeding season.
They are very noisy, especially when in flocks. Their calls are described as loud shrieks, whistles, screeches and trumpet-like sounds. In flight, they utter harsh “squawk-squawk” sounds. Breeding occurs from March to June; the male assumes responsibility for feeding the brooding female
Status In The Wild
Near Threatened – IUCN 2012
This status is due to ongoing habitat loss, occasional natural disasters and trapping for the wild parrot trade.
Current conservation efforts include creation and placement of artificial nests, which have been used in Cuba by over 1,300 birds. Those made of artificial materials have also proved more durable.
Future proposed conservation efforts focus on discouraging taking of birds from the wild through public education campaigns.