Justification of Red List Category
Conservation action has helped this species recover from an all-time population low in 1980. It still qualifies as Vulnerable because numbers remain very small and its range is small and restricted to a single island. However, if there are any future declines in available habitat, it may qualify for uplisting to Endangered.
The most recent population estimate stands at 850-1,000 mature individuals (P. R. Reillo in litt. 2012), roughly equivalent to 1,200-1,500 individuals in total.
Numbers have risen from possibly as few as 150 birds in 1980, to possibly as many as 1,200 in the present day, based upon recent surveys and density estimates (P. R. Reillo in litt. 2016). There are no new data on population trends, but the species is assumed to still be increasing.
Amazona arausiaca is concentrated around the Morne Diablotin Massif in the north of Dominica, with birds also occupying habitat in the far north (Morne au Diable region), east, south-east and centre of the island, and Morne Trois Pitons National Park in the south (Zamore and Durand 1998, Wiley et al. 2004, P. R. Reillo in litt. 2007). Many areas have been reoccupied after the species disappeared from them in the aftermath of the destructive Hurricane David in 1979 (Zamore and Durand 1998). It is described as ubiquitous in forested areas, and locally common on agricultural land.
It mainly occurs in the canopy of rainforests, generally between sea level and 800 m, but occasionally to 1,200 m. It has become a regular visitor to coastal areas (Juniper and Parr 1998, P. R. Reillo in litt. 2012), descending to sea level throughout the year to search for food (Zamore and Durand 1998, Reillo and Durand 2008). There are an increasing number of records from agricultural land, mainly in citrus crop, passion fruit and mango plantations (Zamore and Durand 1998). Breeding takes place between February and June, with nests usually situated in the cavities of large forest trees, such as Dacryodes excelsa and Sloanea caribaea. These are usually 11-25 m above the ground and commonly have a protective covering of vines, bromeliads or creepers (Juniper and Parr 1998, Zamore and Durand 1998).
Habitat loss at lower elevations has been mainly caused by clearance for agriculture (Collar 1997). Although replanting with fruit crops has benefited the species (Reillo and Durand 2008), frugivory by the parrots has sparked conflict with local farmers (Douglas 2011). Hurricane-related damage has also been important: another hurricane of the magnitude of Hurricane David could reverse recent population increases. Hunting and illegal trade are now low-level threats, but illegal wildlife trade across the Caribbean is a constant concern and there is increasing pressure from illegal wildlife trade centered in Europe (P. R. Reillo in litt., 2016).
Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I and II. It is fully protected under domestic legislation. Much remaining habitat is within the Northern and Central forest reserves, and the Morne Trois Pitons and Morne Diablotin national parks, but adjacent areas of critical importance are not protected (Juniper and Parr 1998). Since 1980, it has benefited from joint government and non-government efforts to protect its habitat and sensitise local people to its needs. Research methods have been improved recently to maximise ecological information gained whilst minimising disturbance to the birds, and study has yielded important information on nesting behaviour and parental care. Similarly, census methodologies have improved to give more accurate estimates of density and population size (Reillo and Durand 2008). The population is monitored annually. A recent PhD project examined the species's interaction with fruit crops on Dominica (P. R. Reillo in litt. 2012).
40 cm. Green parrot with blue forecrown and face, with white bare orbital area. Red patch on throat (sometimes absent). Red-and-yellow speculum. Primaries tipped blackish. Similar spp. Imperial Parrot A. imperialis is larger and darker, with largely purple body. Voice Harsh screeches, squawks and yapping scre-ah, higher pitched than A. imperialis. Vocalizations are different in the northern and southern regions of Dominica.
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D., Khwaja, N. & Wheatley, H.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Amazona arausiaca. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/07/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/07/2020.