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Florida’s Introduced Parrots – an Amazing Array of Macaws, Amazons, Conures and Exotic Transplants


Florida’s only native parrot, the Carolina parakeet, is unfortunately no longer with us, having been hunted out of existence in the early 1900’s.  But at least 40 other parrot species have taken up residence in the Sunshine State (74 species have been sighted there since the 1960’s), and a recent survey reveals that most have established breeding populations.

Included among these in residence are Goffin’s cockatoos, chestnut-fronted macaws, African gray parrots, black-headed and red-throated parakeets, nearly every commonly-kept Amazon and mitred and sun conures.  Both green-winged and blue and gold macaws are regularly sighted, but breeding success has not been documented.

One of the most surprising discoveries has been a robust population of red-crowned Amazon parrots, a species considered quite threatened in its native northeastern Mexico.  Roosting aggregations of 100-200+ birds have been observed, and breeding pairs were been documented in Fort Lauderdale as far back as the early 1970’s.  A reintroduction program, using individuals trapped in Florida, is under consideration.

As a naturalist with wide interests, I’m awed by Florida’s introduced wildlife, despite the environmental havoc that has resulted.  In addition to some of the birds mentioned above, I have also observed dozens of species of introduced fishes, reptiles, amphibians, insects and spiders.  Exotic mammals have been the biggest surprise – African pouched rats, capybara, agoutis and a number of other surprising finds await those who wander afield in this most unusual state.


An in depth Florida Field Naturalist article on introduced parrots is posted at http://www.fosbirds.org/FFN/Articles/FFNv30n4p111-131Pranty.pdf

Image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by Roger Moore Glandauer.

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