Parrots of Costa Rica: Diversity, Imperilment, and Conservation Attempts Draft 1

This topic submitted by Valerie Horobik ( at 11:41 AM on 3/14/05.

Ancient mystery finally solved! Hays finds tremendous comfort hugging a stone sphere in Costa Rica

Tropical Field Courses -Western Program-Miami University

Parrots are a charismatic and diverse family, sought out by most people who visit the tropics, and kept as pets in some parts of the world. As such, they are of great conservation interest in many locations, including Costa Rica. The status of many parrots, including several in Costa Rica, is grim, with many species listed under CITES. Due to deforestation in the Central American countries, a variety of other animals are also endangered or threatened. People are beginning to realize that because parrots tend to have diverse food needs and require large trees for nesting, their protection will likely provide protection for numerous other organisms. Consequently, parrots are arising as the flagship species of Costa Rican conservation efforts.

I. Parrots
A. Family Psittacidae
1. Taxonomy
2. Characteristics
3. Conservation status worldwide
II. Costa Rica species
A. Incredible bird diversity – 850 species!
B. Includes 17 species from family Psittacidae
C. Threats to survival
1. Deforestation
2. Poaching for the pet trade
3. Hunting for sport and feathers
III. Threatened species in Costa Rica
A. Scarlet macaw
1. Approximately 1000 left in the country
2. CITES Appendix 1
B. Great green macaw
1. An estimated 30 breeding pairs remain in Costa Rica
2. IUCN Redlist (vulnerable) and CITES Appendix 1
C. Yellow naped parrot
1. CITES Appendix 1
D. Red fronted parrotlet
1. IUCN Redlist (vulnerable)
IV. Conservation Efforts
A. Artificial nests out of reach of poachers
B. Tsuli (Audubon Society Chapter)
C. Richard and Marge Frisius
D. National Great Green Macaw Commission
E. Education programs


Amigos de las aves. 2005. Release sites. Online:

Anonymous. 2005. Macaw protection. Online:

Birding Club of Costa Rica. 2005. Costa Rica bird list. Online:

CITES. 2005. Listed animals – Costa Rica. Online:

Elphick, C., J.B. Dunning Jr., and D.A. Sibley. 2001. The Sibley Guide to Bird
Life and Behavior. Alfred A. Knopf: New York. 587 p.

Ginsberg, S. 2005. Costa Rica’s macaws. Birding guide. Online:

Global Crossroad. 2005. Bird conservation project. Online:

IUCN. 2005. Redlist of threatened species. Online:

Kricher, J. 1997. A Neotropical Companion. Princeton University Press:
Princeton. 451 p.

Organization for Tropical Studies. 2004. Online:

Peterson, R.T. and E.L. Chalif. 1973. Mexican Birds. Houghton Mifflin Company:
Boston. 298 p.

World Parrot Trust. 2002. Great Green Macaw: Flagship species of Costa Rica.

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