Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Funky Parrot

Today, while birding at Irvine Regional Park, I came across this weird Amazona parrot feeding on acorns with a large flock of Red-crowned and Lilac-crowned Parrots. I don't see many parrots that aren't these two species, so I was excited... until I started researching it. Man, what a mess! I can't find any decent matches after a brief search through all my field guides (Venezuela, Mexico and Northern Central America, Sibley, etc) and online sites.

The thing that instantly caught my eye was the bird's yellow crown/face. At first glance, I thought it might be a weird Yellow-headed Parrot, but that doesn't match. The bird has a darkish bill (with some pale areas), yellow on the shoulder (and limited red as well, but not very noticeable), and yellow on the crown/face. While inspecting the photos I noticed some reddish/orange flecking in the yellow. Now that's tricky. I'm stumped, though admittedly I don't know a lot about parrots. Here are some photos.


JoshC said...

Maybe a hybrid?? Many parrots that wouldn't normally see eachother + non-normal setting = weird stuff!!

chuq said...

It's a yellow-headed amazon (perhaps a yellow-crowned).


popular pet that got away.


Charlie said...

Hi Neil

I agree with you that this doesn't look quite right for Yellow-headed (or for the rare Yellow-shouldered Parrot either which it sort of resembles too). I'm no expert either, but I wonder if this is a hybrid - possibly between Yellow-headed and Orange-winged Parrots which are two popular trade species?
Co-incidentally I asked Jamie Gilardi of the World Parrot Trust when I interviewed him for our 'Parrot Month' about the species of parrots flying around LA and whether there could be enough of them now to form populations that may be considered useful 'reservoirs' if the original wild birds became rare: he said that he didn't think it likely because there was so much hybridisation going on.
Someone who knows better then me may offer a better explanation, but a hybrid (not something I normally jump to as an explanation by the way) may be the answer.

tai haku said...

I think this is some sort of funky human bred colour morph probably involving parents from different bits of the Amazona ochrocephala group

Owlman said...

Wow, based on what I've been able to find on the web I think your guy is a Yellow shouldered amazon. Check this out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow-shouldered_Amazon BTW, I know nothing about parrots this guess is just based off of a Google search.

City Parrots said...

It is a hybrid. Most probably:

Yellow-crowned Amazon (Amazona ochrocephala) X Blue-fronted Amazon (Amazona aestiva)

In stead of the yellow-crowned it could also be a yellow-headed (Amazona oratrix) those are closely related.

It is probably also listed here: http://amazornia.us/gallery_BF_YH.html

Anonymous said...

Being a parrot mom for many years and having hand raised my share of parrot babies, my guess would be a cross betweeen a Double Yellow Head Amazon and a Blue Front Amazon. This would be due to the size and the funky beak coloring also the yellow/orange/red feathers on his shoulders. DYH have a horn colored beak and BF have a dark/black beak. Yellow crowns and Yellow Fronts, and Panamas have a lighter black/grey beak, but most of these guys aren't common in the pet trade like the DYH and the BF are. I think the YC,YF and Panama's all have white eye rings. The bird looks much to big a socky to be a Yellow Shoulder which are about the size of a large conure and have some white on them.

Julie Zickefoose said...

It looks like a yellow-shouldered Amazon (A. barbadensis) to me. It seems more likely to me that an escaped or released bird would be a good species than some sort of human-generated hybrid.

Anonymous said...

That bird is defanitly a hybrid cross of a blue front amazon and a double yellow headed amazon. I would know, i have both... and the babies that look just like that.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to cross breed an orange winged with a double yellow head ?