ARIZONA – THICK-BILLED PARROT
CLICK HERE TO ADOPT ARIZONA
Hatch Year: 1996
Arrival to WBS: 1996
Reason for Residence: hatched in captivity
Arizona was the third Thick-Billed Parrot chick World Bird Sanctuary successfully hatched and raised within our own propagation department. This species is highly endangered, and though once found in the southwestern United States they have been extirpated from this area of their range and can now only be found in small areas of Mexico. World Bird Sanctuary attempted to captively breed this species in order to be released back into their previous ranges, however the released populations were never able to survive due to numerous environmental factors (many of which caused the declines in populations in the first place).
To help educate people about the plight of this unique species of parrot, Arizona was chosen to become an education ambassador in order to help advocate on behalf of his wild brethren. Over the years Arizona traveled with our Zoo Show team to numerous locations around the country, as well as doing outreach right here in St.Louis. Arizona is a quick study when it comes to mimicking human speech and rapidly widens his vocabulary on a regular basis. In addition to many normal phrases such as “Hello”, “Hi Arizona”, “Whatcha doing?”, and “You’re a good boy Arizona”, he is also able to whistle the entire Tequila song to himself and takes GREAT joy in finishing the verse by shouting “TEQUILA!” when others sing it to him. As he’s gotten older Arizona has become less comfortable around large crowds, but since he still enjoys the company of familiar humans he now lives in our main office area where he gets the peace of being off exhibit but still sees his favorite people daily. He lets the staff know when it’s time to leave by telling everyone “bye bye” every day at approximately 5pm.
SPECIES: THICK-BILLED PARROT
CONSERVATION STATUS: ENDANGERED
Only surviving parrot species native to North America. Shooting, logging, and development eliminated the species from its U.S. range, and attempts to reintroduce the species have been unsuccessful. It is included on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List and was listed as Endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1973. Principal threats to the Thick-billed Parrot are the illegal pet trade, habitat loss (mainly due to logging), and climate change.
Scientific 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: male and female same
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
Range: its range once included southern areas of Arizona and New Mexico south to Venezuela in South America, it is now found mostly in the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains of northern Mexico. Estimates suggest there are just 3,000 to 6,000 of the parrots in the wild, with fewer than 1,000 breeding pairs.
Behavior: intelligent, curious, and social birds, living together in flocks all year. nesting activity takes place at higher elevations. The parrots build their nests in the cavities of dead or decaying trees, preferring to use old woodpecker holes or abandoned flicker nesting holes, which the birds enlarge by chewing the wood. Chicks develop slowly and are cared for by both parents. They stay in the nest for two to three months before they fledge and learn to fly, and the parents continue to feed them for a short time while they learn to forage for themselves. An adult male and female may stay together as a pair for life.
Diet: main food item is pine seeds, although they do eat other seeds, berries, fruit, insects, and tree bark.
Vocalization: The voice of the thick-billed parrot resembles a high-pitched macaw and includes a variety of harsh, rolling calls described as similar to human laughter.
– The calls of this species can be heard from over a mile away!
– Smuggling wild parrots into the United States from Mexico for the pet trade is the second-largest illegal border business next to drug trafficking.