|(Photo credit: mike loukides)|
Parrots and parakeets are gregarious birds and are rarely seen alone. They’re intelligent birds and are quite noisy in the early morning and again in the late afternoon as they move about in large groups. We often see large flocks of parrots flying from tree to tree around Ojochal numbering in the 100’s. Many species mate for life and will be seen flying in pairs.
The central and southern Pacific regions of Costa Rica are home to the majority of both parrots and parakeets found within the county. The Corcovado Reserve, located in the Osa Peninsula, contains many birds, as does the southern coastal plain. The Carara Biological Reserve, located about 45 miles south-west of San Jose, is a popular place to spot numerous types of parrots, parakeets, and macaws.
Many parrot populations worldwide are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss and collection for the pet trade. The loss of nest trees and chick poaching can drastically reduce reproductive success. However, due to the long lifespan of many parrots, populations are unlikely to become extinct rapidly even with complete reproductive failure. Since 1975, an international agreement known as CITES, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, has helped to protect native populations of threatened and endangered species by limiting trade in these animals. These days, parrots and parakeets sold at pet stores are raised domestically by Aviculturalists however some species are difficult to breed in captivity and unfortunately are still sought by collectors.
There are about 16 types of parrots and parakeets seen frequently within Costa Rica as well as two types of Macaws. Of the parakeets, common varieties include the Orange Chinned, the Brown Throated, the Orange-Fronted, the Sulfur Winged, the Olive Throated and the Crimson Fronted Parakeet. Parrots include the Yellow Naped, the Red Loret, the Mealy Parrot, the White Fronted, the White Crowned, the Blue Headed, the Brown Hooded Parrot and the Red Fronted Parrotlet. Macaws of Costa Rica include the Scarlet Macaw and the Green Macaw. Since Parrots seek fruits and nuts for their diet, various fruit trees, almond and macadamia nut trees have been planted along the beaches of southern Costa Rica to provide ample sources of food for these feathered friends.
Zoo Ave, located in Alajuela, Costa Rica, is the largest aviary zoo and breeder in Costa Rica. The organization breeds birds for release to help replenish and re-establish wild bird populations throughout Costa Rica and sponsored a large public awareness program in Costa Rica to discourage the caging of wild birds as pets.