The Endangered yellow-headed parrot Amazona oratrix along the Pacific coast of Mexico

Tiberio Cesar Monterrubio-Ricoa1, Katherine Rentona2, Juan Manuel Ortega-Rodrígueza1, Alejandro Pérez-Arteagaa1 c1 and Ramón Cancino-Murilloa1

a1 Laboratorio de Manejo y Conservación de Fauna Silvestre, Facultad de Biología, Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Edificio R, Ciudad Universitaria, Morelia, Michoacán 58194, México.

a2 Estación de Biología Chamela, Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, San Patricio, Jalisco, México


The yellow-headed parrot Amazona oratrix is categorized as Endangered on the IUCN Red List but little is known about its distribution, particularly along the Pacific coast of Mexico. We used ecological niche models, with presence records from museum collections and historical sightings, overlain on vegetation maps, to predict the historical range of the yellow-headed parrot along the Pacific coast of Mexico. We compared this with the current range of the species, estimated with ecological niche models using presence–absence data from surveys during 2003–2008. We estimate that the range of the yellow-headed parrot along Mexico’s Pacific coast has contracted by 79%. The current range may now cover only 18,957 km2, in three main areas. At one of these, a small isolated area on the coast of Jalisco, the species may be vulnerable to extirpation or genetic endogamy. There is a lack of conserved tropical semi-deciduous forest, which provides optimal habitat for reproduction of this parrot, within the current range of the species. Only the south, along the coast of Oaxaca, has extensive areas of this habitat. There are only three, small, protected areas within the species’ current range. Conservation strategies need to be implemented to restore connectivity between the three main areas of the current range of the yellow-headed parrot on the Pacific coast of Mexico.

(Received May 20 2009)

(Reviewed August 26 2009)

(Accepted September 17 2009)