Figure 236. Introduced populations of the Red-crowned Parrot in coastal southern California—at least those in suburban Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties—are established and self sustaining. This adult was photographed on 16 January 2005 in Orange, Orange County (Mike Bowles & Loretta Erickson).






Red-crowned Parrot

RED-CROWNED PARROT Amazona viridigenalis (Cassin, 1853)

Accepted: NA (the establishment of an introduced population is affirmed)


Not accepted: NA

CBRC review: NA

Not submitted/reviewed: NA

Large color image: see Figure

This large parrot is endemic to a relatively small portion of northeastern Mexico that includes eastern Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí, and extreme northeastern Veracruz. A breeding population in southern Texas most likely originated from escapees from captivity, although the possibility of some recruitment from natural populations should not be discounted. Populations in Hawaii, California, Florida, and Puerto Rico were founded by escaped or released birds.

Rogers and Jaramillo (2002) reported on the review of CBRC record 2001-032, a summary of the Red-crowned Parrot’s history, status, and distribution in California prepared by the CBRC’s Introduced Birds Subcommittee. The Committee concluded that southern California’s introduced population satisfied the criteria set forth in Section VI(B)(8) of the CBRC Bylaws (see Appendix A), and so this species was added to the California Bird List. The following discussion recapitulates Rogers and Jaramillo’s 2002 report, as updated by Pranty and Garrett (2003) and K. L. Garrett (in litt.).

The Red-crowned is California’s most common parrot, and its numbers are on the rise. Nearly all of these birds occupy the state’s southern third, and the overall estimated population of at least 2600 represents up to 20% of the world’s free-flying population. The species now occurs throughout the San Gabriel Valley, in portions of the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles County, as well as in urban portions of Orange and San Diego Counties. Fewer occur in adjacent San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. Small populations of Amazona parrots in urban portions of northern California, Palm Springs, and elsewhere in southern California may not be well established. California’s Red-crowned Parrots may be interbreeding with Lilac-crowned Parrots (Amazona finschi) and possibly other Amazona parrots (Garrett 1997). A special 1997 issue of Western Birds (vol. 28, no. 4) contains five papers devoted to the parrots of southern California.