Parrot Call: play
Black-billed Parrots, with an average fledging weight of 150 grams, are the smallest of the Amazona genus (illustrating the maxim that ,while mainlands generally have a range of sizes of any animal, the extreme sizes -largest or smallest-generally are found on islands). They are only distantly related to the Yellow-billed parrot, and their ancestors most likely arrived in Jamaica from Honduras (maybe by "shoal-hopping": see Formation of Jamaica) They are a relatively dull green and are poor at imitating human voices. This latter characteristic has kept them from becoming very popular in the illegal pet trade (all of Jamaica's endemic wildlife are protected by the Wildlife Protection Act and it is against the law to keep them in captivity).
It should be noted that, while some field guides identify adults
by their red wing coverts, recent research has shown that not all
individuals have red in the wing nor is this a sign of sexual
maturity - nestlings fledge with red covert feathers. Further, this
field mark is associated with sexual dimorphism:- females seem to
lack the red but not all males have it.
The Black-billed Parrot is likely to be seen flying in small family groups consisting of an adult pair and last year's brood of one, two or, occasionally, three youngsters. As a non-excavating cavity nester, Black-billed Parrots are dependent upon native forests for nesting substrates. Black-billed Parrots occur almost exclusively in the Cockpit Country. In recent years, a small population has also been seen in the John Crow Mountains, but their numbers are quite small in the east. These parrots are locally common in Windsor and were the subject (together with the Yellow-billed Parrot) of the Jamaican Parrot Project. Black-billed Parrots can be distinguished from Yellow-billed Parrots in flight by their higher-pitched flight vocalizations and more rapid wingbeats.
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