Yellow-naped parrots have exquisite plumage. With emerald-green feathers and the distinctive yellow sunburst on the back of their neck, these beautiful birds adorn the trees of Central America, from Mexico to Costa Rica.
Like many amazon parrot species, yellow-naped parrots are highly intelligent and sociable. They prefer to rest and sleep in larger groups, which offers greater protection. Their favoured roosting spots are sometimes occupied by several hundred individuals, creating a glittering green-and-yellow mass among the branches.
Yellow-naped parrots are absolutely vital for the health of their forest home. They play a critical role in seed dispersal, helping to ensure that a wide variety of tree species can regenerate. As long-distance flyers, they can also help the forest to grow beyond its existing reaches, expanding it over time.
Unfortunately, evidence shows that their numbers are currently dropping rapidly.
Estimated in the wild:
Extremely rarely, yellow-naped parrots can be a powder-blue colour.
The latest estimated global adult population of this parrot.
The maximum survival chances of these chicks in transit when they’re captured from the wild.
Unfortunately the combination of intelligence and mimicry ability makes this parrot a valuable target for poachers. Rather than targeting the adults, they go for the more vulnerable eggs and chicks – which are then sold into the domestic and international pet trade.
Seizing these birds from the wild and putting them in captivity is driving them into extinction. The level of predation by pet hunters is completely unsustainable. In some locations, up to 100% of nests have been poached, with disastrous results for the local population. Even in the parrot’s main strongholds, numbers are thought to have halved in the past decade.
Furthermore, there are concerns that parasites could be affecting the parrots’ health, damaging their chances of survival even more.
Habitat loss as a result of forest clearance for agricultural expansion is exacerbating the crisis for the plummeting population. The parrot’s Red List status has steadily escalated from Least Concern (2004), to Endangered (2017), to Critically Endangered (2021) reflecting the ongoing decline in numbers.
Yellow-naped parrot numbers are plummeting as a result of illegal trade. Please support our efforts to protect the remaining population of this spectacular bird from nest-robbers and habitat destruction.
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and its partners in Central America are working to save the yellow-naped parrot through the empowerment of local people.
In Nicaragua, FFI is working with local conservation group Biometepe on the island of Ometepe to monitor a significant population estimated at 1,000-1,200 individuals, making sure that the parrots are safe and that numbers remain stable. In the process we are discovering more about the birds’ behaviour, enabling us to protect them more effectively.
The project team is also working with local communities to better protect the nests. Once active nests have been identified and mapped, community-led patrols are put in place to combat poaching and help secure the parrot population.
Meanwhile, FFI and Biometepe are engaging with schools and the wider community to spread the word about the threats the parrots face – particularly from the pet trade – and the impact this is having upon wild populations.
Raising awareness of the plight of the parrots, and encouraging communities to value them as part of their cultural heritage, is vital to the long-term success of the programme.
Angelica Valdivia, FFI’s Country Director, says: “FFI believes that the conservation of the species depends on increased environmental awareness among residents and effective law enforcement to deter those who are taking part in the illegal trade of parrots.”
FFI wants to establish Ometepe as a safe haven for these unique and special birds, where they are protected by the people who live closest to them. Saving the yellow-naped parrot will, in turn, help to safeguard the forest and the livelihoods of the communities who depend on it.
Illegal wildlife trade has become a high-profile issue receiving global media attention, not least because of its devastating effect on populations of rhinos, elephants and other charismatic wildlife.
Habitat loss poses arguably the greatest threat to the world’s biodiversity, with human activity inflicting unprecedented changes on the natural habitats on which wildlife depends.