Parrots of California, Alhambra, CA

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Date: Dec, 2015
Location: Alhambra, CA, USA


Although there are many legends as to how they got here, the vast majority of California’s wild parrots are descendants of wild-caught parrots who were imported into the United States from South America (before importation was banned) and escaped or were intentionally released. The survival success of some of these species may be related to the number of imported and smuggled birds to this region. Already well versed in their survival skills, these parrots were able to establish themselves in exotic plant-life-rich areas.

For the most part, flocks in California are species specific such as the Black-hooded Parakeets of Malibu; the Yellow-chevroned Parakeets of Los Angeles; the Rose-ringed Parakeets of Bakersfield; the Red-masked Parakeets of San Francisco – but the largest in number are the Amazona flocks, they are also the exception in that Amazona flocks have a variety of species among them. Flocks of Amazon parrots can be found in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties — the most numerous of which, call the greater Los Angeles area their home.

In California, the most commonly seen wild parrots are:

Red-crowned Parrots (Amazona viridigenalis)
Lilac-crowned Parrots (Amazona finschi)
Red-lored Parrots (Amazona autumnalis)
Yellow-chevroned Parakeets (Brotogeris chiriri)
Rose-ringed Parakeets (Psittacula krameri)
Mitred Parakeets (Aratinga mitrata)
Red-masked Parakeets (Aratinga erythrogenys)
Blue-crowned Parakeets (Aratinga acuticaudata)
Black-hooded Parakeets (Nandayus nenday)

Less commonly seen are:

White-fronted Parrots (Amazona albifrons)
Blue-fronted Parrots (Amazona aestiva)
Yellow-headed Parrots (Amazona oratrix)

[Identification Guide]

Some of these parrots would never catch a glimpse of each other in their native ranges, but here in Southern California these species have become dedicated companions, bonded friends and flock-mates.

In their native ranges, three of these Amazon species are in serious trouble. The Red-crowned Parrot was added to the Endangered Species list in 1994 and is still declining in its native range due to exploitation and long-term habitat loss. It is believed that more Red-crowned Parrots exist in California, than in their native habitat.


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