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The breeding biology of Black-billed Parrot Amazona agilis and Yellow-billed Parrot Amazona collaria in Cockpit Country, Jamaica

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2001

SUSAN E. KOENIG
Affiliation:
Windsor Research Centre, Sherwood Content P.O., Jamaica, W.I. E-mail: susankoenig@ cockpitcountry.com
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Abstract

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Black-billed Parrot Amazona agilis and Yellow-billed Parrot A. collaria are endemic to Jamaica and are restricted to remnant patches of mid-elevation wet limestone forest. Cockpit Country is the stronghold of Black-billed Parrot and is the only region where these two species occur sympatrically in significant numbers. In northern Cockpit Country, Black-billed Parrots nested commonly in degraded and regenerating edge habitat, where natural nesting cavities did not appear to be limiting. Yellow-billed Parrot nests were less abundant in the study area. Black-billed Parrots produced clutches of 3 or 4 eggs and incubation was approximately 24 days. Nestling growth and development were characteristically slow and the nestling period prolonged. Nesting success of both species was low for non-excavating, cavity-nesting species, but successful nests were prolific. Black-billed Parrot nestling mortality was highest during the first four weeks of the nestling period, the primary cause being predation, followed by “dead-in-nest, possible hypothermia”. Many aspects of Black-billed and Yellow-billed Parrot nesting behaviour may be related to predation. The majority of predation events were attributed to the endemic and Vulnerable yellow boa Epicrates subflavus. Such predator-prey dynamics will challenge Jamaica's natural resource managers to develop a more comprehensive attitude away from single-species conservation towards multiple species and their interactions in a complex habitat.

Type
Review Article
Copyright
BirdLife International 2001
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