Arizona – Thick-billed Parrot
Hatched: August 8, 1996
Arizona was the third thick-billed parrot hatched and raised successfully by the World Bird Sanctuary. Arizona spends his time traveling the country to bring the message of the consequences of habitat destruction to thousands of audiences each year.
Perhaps, with his help, conservationists will some day be successful in reestablishing a wild thick-bill parrot population in its native Arizona and New Mexico territory. Until then, this little ambassador will continue to educate and entertain audiences with his message about his plight.
Species: Thick-billed Parrot
Latin Name: Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha
Description: pigeon sized; bright green overall; red forehead, eye stripe, and bend of wing, with red splotching on the thighs; a small patch of yellow on under wing coverts seen when in flight; adults have amber eyes surrounded by a yellow eye ring and black beak with dark grey legs and feet; wings and long green tail are both pointed
Sex: so similar as to be virtually indistinguishable
Age: juveniles have brown eyes and a flesh colored bill which turns black by the end of the first year; individuals may live 35-40 years
Weight: 11-13 oz.
Habitat: high country pine and conifer forests
Status: once inhabited the mountains of southern Arizona and south through the Sierra Madre mountains in western Mexico; extirpated from the U.S. by about 1920 through hunting activity; logging of large stands of old-growth forests in Mexico has taken a further toll on the remaining Mexican population; it is estimated that there now remains only 1000-4000 Thick-billed parrots in the wild; status is ENDANGERED; attempts to reestablish a population in Arizona during the 1980s was unsuccessful due to the birds’ inability to elude a well established population of predator species
Range: high mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental in western Mexico, migrating to their winter breeding range south of Durango to Colima and Michoacan, Mexico
Behavior: social birds that live in large flocks; an adult pair may stay together for life; nesting pairs have been known to share trees with up to three nests in one tree; breeding occurs in mid-summer to mid-fall to coincide with the peak of pine seed production; one clutch of 1-4 eggs is laid in a cavity next in a large conifer (old woodpecker holes are preferred); incubation is 28 days; hatchlings attempt their first flights at approximately 2 months, but remain dependent on parents until about 7 months
Diet: primarily pine seeds from various pine species are the preferred food; will also eat acorns, conifer buds and other food
Vocalization: large repertoire of calls; screech that can be heard up to 2 miles
Other Information: The Thick-billed parrot is one of only two parrots formerly native to the U.S. The other (the Carolina Parakeet) is extinct.