Imperial Amazon Amazona imperialis


Justification of Red List Category
Conservation action over the past 30 years has improved the status of this species. Numbers have increased in recent years, but there may still be fewer than 250 mature individuals, qualifying the species as Endangered. If the population continues to increase, it will be eventually downlisted to Vulnerable unless there are concomitant decreases in available habitat.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 250-350 individuals in total, roughly equivalent to 160-240 mature individuals (P. R. Reillo in litt. 2012).

Trend justification
There are no new data on population trends, but the species is suspected to still be increasing at an unquantified rate owing to conservation efforts.

Distribution and population

Amazona imperialis is endemic to Dominica, where it occurs in the Morne Diablotin area (primarily on the north-east, south and south-east slopes [Raffaele et al. 1998]), the Northern and Central Forest Reserves, and has recently re-established a small population in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park near Morne John (Reillo 2001, Wiley et al. 2007, P. R. Reillo in litt. 2007). It is known to have declined significantly and numbered only 80-100 individuals in 1993. Conservation action increased the population to 150 birds by 2003 (P. R. Reillo in litt. 2003). At present Morne Diablotin National Park and its surrounds are thought to hold 100-175 individuals, with 50-75 in the Central Forest Reserve and c.50 in Morne Trois Pitons National Park and its surrounds. The total population is estimated at 250-350 individuals (Wege and Anadón-Irizarry 2008, P. R. Reillo in litt. 2012).


It mainly inhabits montane and elfin forest at 600-1,300 m, but forages down to 150 m in response to food shortages (Dominica Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment in litt. 2000, Snyder et al. 2000). It is highly sensitive to habitat modification, readily abandoning traditional foraging and nesting territories (Dominica Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment in litt. 2000). Nests are situated in cavities in tall forest trees (the same species as used by A. arausiaca), with breeding between February and June (coinciding with the dry season). The nest cavity is heavily festooned with vines and epiphytes, making observation of nesting activity difficult (Dominica Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment in litt. 2000). Despite the intensive work carried out towards this species' conservation, its ecology remains poorly known.


A combination of habitat loss (mainly conversion to plantations, especially bananas (Snyder et al. 2000), and hurricane-related damage), hunting for food and trapping for the cage-bird trade were the principal reasons for this species's decline up until 1990 (P. R. Reillo in litt. 2012). Local trade has been considerably reduced, if not eliminated, as a result of a successful education programme, but foreign bird-collectors may still pose a threat (Snyder et al. 2000). Competition for nest-sites from the more numerous A. arausiaca will presumably become more significant as lowland forest is lost and the two species come increasingly into contact (Dominica Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment in litt. 2000).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II. It is protected by domestic legislation. In recent years, there have been considerable efforts to protect suitable habitat and sensitise local citizens to its needs. Successful conservation education programmes have markedly reduced local trade. It is protected across all national parks, the Northern Forest Reserve and the Central Forest Reserve, but important areas adjacent to these reserves remain unprotected (Dominica Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment in litt. 2000, Snyder et al. 2000). An area of 33 km2 of the Northern Forest Reserve has been designated as the Morne Diablotin National Park (Collar (1997a, Wiley et al 2007). It is also present in small numbers in the Morne Trois Pitons National Park (Reillo 2001, Wiley et al. 2007). Reports of the first successful captive breeding of the species were published in 2011 (Reillo et al. 2011).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor the population. Continue enforcement of the protection of the Morne Diablotin and Morne Trois Pitons National Parks, and the Northern and Central Forest Reserves.  Study the ecology of this species and factors affecting its status (including interspecific competition) (Dominica Ministry of Agriculture and the Environment in litt. 2000, Zamore and Durand 1998, Wiley et al 2007).  Continue to prohibit trade in this species, exports for captive breeding, and import of non-native psittacines as pets on Dominica (P. R. Reillo in litt. 2012).


45 cm. Spectacular, purple-and-green parrot. Dark purple head, nape and mantle. Purple underparts with dark fringes giving scaled effect. Dull green thighs and vent. Green wings with red carpal. Purple speculum and blackish primaries. Reddish tail tipped green. Immature has green nape and neck. Similar spp. Red-necked Parrot A. arausiaca is smaller and largely green. Voice Loud, trumpet-like flight calls. Also variety of shrieks, whistles and squawks. Often quiet during middle of day.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D., Khwaja, N. & Wheatley, H.

Reillo, P.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Amazona imperialis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/11/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/11/2019.