Yellow-naped Amazon Amazona auropalliata


Justification of Red List Category
This species has been uplisted to Endangered because information on levels of exploitation and habitat loss, and local population trends, suggest that the species is undergoing at least a very rapid population decline.

Population justification
Partners in Flight estimated the population to number fewer than 50,000 individuals (A. Panjabi in litt. 2008), thus it is placed in the band 20,000-49,999 individuals here; although it has been suggested that the global population size may be <10,000 mature individuals (J. Gilardi in litt. 2011, 2016).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in rapid decline owing to on-going habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of hunting, a suspicion that is supported by observations of local population trends.

Distribution and population

Amazona auropalliata is found in Mexico and Central America, occurring along the Pacific slope of the isthmus in southern Mexico (Oaxaca and Chiapas), Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and north-western Costa Rica, the Bay Islands of Honduras (see also Gilardi 2014), and the Caribbean slope in eastern Honduras and north-eastern Nicaragua (Juniper and Parr 1998, Taylor 2013). The total population has been estimated at fewer than 50,000 individuals (A. Panjabi in litt. 2008), although it may actually number fewer than 10,000 individuals (J. Gilardi in litt. 2011, 2016). A population density of 0.054 individuals/ha was recorded in southern Rivas department, Nicaragua, during surveys in 2007-2008 (Lezama-López 2009), with density estimations of 9.7 individuals/km2 in a survey in Mexico in 2006 (Ovando-Ovando 2009 per A. Salinas in litt. 2016). The species is thought to be in rapid decline, probably throughout most of its range, owing to the loss and degradation of its habitats and unsustainable exploitation for trade. An estimated overall population decline of c.50% from c.1980 to 2000 has been reported (Anon. 2008), although this requires confirmation. Preliminary surveys and observations suggest that the population in southern Guatemala has plummeted since the 1990s (L. Joyner in litt. 2011). Interviews with local elders in south-western El Salvador provide anecdotal evidence that the species has undergone a significant decline since the 1950s and 1960s (R. Bjork in litt. 2011). In the early 1990s, the population in Gracias a Dios, Honduras, was estimated at c.123,000 birds; however, by this time the species had been nearly extirpated from Choluteca and El Valle (Wiedenfeld 1993). Surveys in Nicaragua indicate a steep decline in the species’s abundance between 1994-1995 and 2004 (Lezama et al. 2004), and locals in some areas report that the species has disappeared from the vicinity of human settlements (Grijalva 2008). There has been some suggestion that the introduction of a ban in trade of the species in Nicaragua may have slowed or halted declines (A. Salinas-Melgoza in litt. 2016), though some sites that had previously held large numbers may now hold very few (M. Lezama per C. Dahlin and T. Wright in litt. 2016). The population in Costa Rica also appears to be in decline (T. Wright in litt. 2011). Although the Costa Rican population is regarded as one of the most secure, local people report that the species has declined since the 1970s and 1980s (A. Salinas in litt. 2011), with formal counts at 6 sites in Costa Rica having noted a decline of 48.9% between 2005 and 2016 (C. Dahlin and T. Wright in litt. 2016).


It inhabits semi-arid woodland and semi-deciduous forest, arid scrub and savannas, mangroves, clearings in deciduous forest, Pacific swamp-forest, evergreen gallery forest and sometimes secondary growth in agricultural landscapes (Juniper and Parr 1998, Taylor 2013, R. Bjork in litt. 2011). Work involving radio-tagged individuals has shown that the species may also make use of farming and ranching areas (Salinas-Melgoza et al. 2013), and land management type can influence home range size and roosting behaviour (Salinas-Melgoza et al. 2013). This may be a result of differences in resource availability (Salinas-Melgoza et al. 2013). Yellow-naped Amazons have been reported to use traditional sites for roosting for decades (Wright 1996), though data from radio-tagged individuals indicate that traditional roosts may change location (A. Salinas-Melgoza and T. Wright in litt. 2016). Roost size can be up to several hundred individuals (Matzuak and Brightsmith 2007), though in some areas roost size does appear to have reduced significantly (M. Lezama per C. Dahlin and T. Wright in litt. 2016). The species may perform regional movements of up to 16 km (A. Salinas-Melgoza and T. Wright in litt. 2016); and genetic evaluations indicate there are high rates of gene flow through Costa Rica with ongoing dispersal, probably female-biased (Wright et al. 2005). The species's diet has been seldom studied, but so far it has been found to feed on 48 food plant species (Matuzak et al. 2008, A. Salinas-Melgoza and T. Wright in litt. 2016).


The species is threatened by habitat loss and degradation, driven primarily by the expansion of agriculture, and capture for local and international trade (Juniper and Parr 1998, Anon. 2008). Deforestation has been a prevalent threat in all range states (Grijalva 2008). For example, mangrove forests in the Gulf of Fonseca region are being cleared for the development of aquaculture and extraction of firewood and timber (Grijalva 2008). In Honduras, the species has been recorded as being c.93% less common in modified habitats, such as cultivation, compared to broadleaved forest (Wiedenfeld 1993). The conversion of areas to sugar cane or rice production is also threatening its habitat, particularly in Nicaragua (C. Dahlin and T. Wright in litt. 2016). It is considered one of the most sought-after psittacines in the Central American pet trade, owing to the species’s vocal capabilities (Wiedenfeld 1993, R. Bjork in litt. 2011 J. Gilardi in litt. 2011). During the 1990s, close to 100% of known nests in southern Guatemala were subject to poaching, and significant areas of habitat have been lost to the expansion of sugarcane cultivation (L. Joyner in litt. 2011). In south-western El Salvador, the species also suffers heavy nest-poaching, as well as cavity occupation by Africanised Bees (R. Bjork in litt. 2011). It has been reported that each year c.5,000 young A. auropalliata are smuggled out of La Mosquitia region, Honduras (per O. Andino in litt. 2011), although this has not been verified. Such numbers would not be unrealistic given that, on average, 8,388 birds were recorded in export from Honduras each year in the period 1987-1989 (Wiedenfeld 1993). The numbers of this species that are recorded in export from Nicaragua appear to be decreasing (Lezama et al. 2004); however, nest poaching is still high (J. A. Díaz Luque in litt. 2011, M. Lezama in litt. 2011), and thought to affect over 50% of nests in Rivas department (M. Lezama in litt. 2011). In Costa Rica, roughly a third of nests were raided in one study, accounting for c.85% of the all nest failures observed (Wright et al. 2001, Grijalva 2008), although in one study conducted near Liberia, up to 100% of the nests located by researchers at study sites had been poached (A. Salinas in litt. 2011). Further study in Liberia has suggested that 64% of nests may be poached (C. Dahlin and T. Wright per A. Salinas-Melgoza in litt. 2016). Poaching of nestlings can also affect future breeding in the species, as damage of nest trees when extracting nestlings can make the tree no longer usable as a nest site (C. Dahlin per A. Salinas-Melgoza in litt. 2016). It is thought that twice as many are taken from the wild than are recorded in export, based on a mortality rate of 54% during capture and transit (Pérez and Zúñiga 1998 in Grijalva 2008), although a survival rate of one in three or four has also been reported (per O. Andino in litt. 2011). Anthropogenic threats are thought to exacerbate the effects of poor rates of recruitment to the breeding population (Grijalva 2008). Climate change may also have an impact on the species as there have been hotter and longer dry seasons in the region, though the impact of this on the species is essentially currently unknown (C. Dahlin and T. Wright in litt. 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I. The species occurs in a number of protected areas. Efforts have been underway to get a c.4,000-ha area east Monterrico on the Pacific coast of Guatemala declared as a protected area (C. Muccio in litt. 2011). The species has been the subject of a number of local studies, some on-going, aimed at gathering information on population trends and threats. The extent of wildlife exploitation for trade has been highlighted by local media, for example in Honduras (per O. Andino in litt. 2011).Initiative 007-99 in Nicaragua aimed to ban any international and domestic trade for the species in 2004 (Ministerio del Ambiente y Recursos Naturales 2004), and an initiative by the Mexican government has banned capture and trade of all native Mexican species (J. Cantu per A. Salinas-Melgoza in litt. 2016). An awareness campaign by a number of NGOs has been launched in Mexico aiming to protect all parrot native species, including the Yellow-naped Amazon (J. Cantu per A. Salinas-Melgoza in litt. 2016).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out coordinated surveys across the species's range in order to quantify the total population size. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of off-take for trade through regular surveys of local people and officials. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation throughout the species's range. Conduct awareness-raising activities to reduce exploitation. Develop collaborations between conservationists, land owners and reserve managers (C. Dahlin and T. Wright in litt. 2016). Increase the area of suitable habitat that receives effective protection. Consider a captive breeding and reintroduction programme (C. Dahlin and T. Wright in litt. 2016).


36 cm. Typically robust and predominantly green Amazona species, showing bright yellow nape patch and bright red outer four secondaries, forming a speculum. Distal half of tail sometimes yellowish green. Bill and bare skin around eyes pale to dark grey. Typically vocal, uttering a variety of squawks, screams and whistles.


Text account compilers
Westrip, J., Taylor, J., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Butchart, S.

Andino, O., Lezama, M., Dahlin, C., Gilardi, J., Díaz Luque, J., Panjabi, A., Bjork, R., Muccio, C., Cantu, J., Joyner, L., Komar, O., Salinas-Melgoza, A., Wright, T.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Amazona auropalliata. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/08/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 09/08/2020.