Home | Bird Conservation | Conservation News – No Recovery Plan for the Endangered Thick Billed Parrot

Conservation News – No Recovery Plan for the Endangered Thick Billed Parrot

Thick Billed ParrotsI’ve been involved in a number of field research efforts, and so am somewhat familiar with the difficulties inherent in funding and implementing conservation work.  However, I must admit that this situation is baffling – a recovery plan has not yet been formulated for the Thick Billed Parrot (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha), despite the fact that the bird has been protected by the Endangered Species Act since the law’s inception in 1973!

Help for the US’s Last Native Parrot?

The Thick Billed Parrot is the only remaining Psittacine native to the US Mainland.  The other, the Carolina Parakeet, was hunted to extinction in the early 1900’s.  With less than 3,000 individuals surviving in the wild, this green and red parrot may be headed for a similar fate if remedial action is not undertaken soon.

To that end, the conservation organization WildEarth Guardians has filed suit against Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, seeking to compel the implementation of a recovery plan.  Let’s hope for a “parrot-friendly” outcome!

Wild and Captive Status

Audubon's Carolina ParakeetsThick Billed Parrots regularly ranged into central Arizona and New Mexico until the early 1900’s, and sporadically until the mid 1960’s.  Today they are virtually unknown within US borders.  A reintroduction plan instituted by the state of Arizona was not successful.

Although far from common in captivity, the birds do breed well when properly provided for… a group I’ve watched for years is a star attraction at the Queens Zoo in New York City.  Private keepers have had some success with this species as well, and even provided several of the individuals released in Arizona.

Further Reading

Please see The USA’s “Other” Parrot for more information on this fascinating bird (it forages in the snow!).

Please visit the WildEarth Guardians Website for more on the group’s work with Parrots, Jaguarundis, Tortoises and other animals.


Thick-billed Parrots image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Paul Reynolds and Snowmanradio

About Frank Indiviglio

Read other posts by

I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
Scroll To Top