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Species
Agapornis roseicollis - Peach-faced lovebird (1) Alipiopsitta xanthops - Yellow-faced Parrot (1) Alisterus amboinensis - Moluccan King Parrot (1) Alisterus scapularis - Australian King Parrot (3) Amazona aestiva - Blue-fronted Amazon (12) Amazona agilis - Black-billed Parrot (4) Amazona albifrons - White-fronted Amazon (6) Amazona amazonica - Orange-winged Amazon (5) Amazona arausiaca - Red-necked Parrot (1) Amazona auropalliata - Yellow-naped amazon (3) Amazona autumnalis - Red-lored Amazon (7) Amazona barbadensis - Yellow-shouldered amazon (5) Amazona brasiliensis - Red-tailed Amazon (1) Amazona collaria - Yellow-billed Parrot (5) Amazona farinosa - Mealy Amazon (1) Amazona festiva - Festive Parrots (1) Amazona finschi - Lilac crowned Amazon (11) Amazona guildingii - St. Vincent Amazon (6) Amazona imperialis - Imperial Amazon (1) Amazona l. bahamensis - Bahama Parrot (5) Amazona l. caymanensis - Grand Cayman Parrot (4) Amazona l. hesterna - Cayman Brac Parrot (4) Amazona lilacina - Ecuador Amazon (4) Amazona ochrocephala - Yellow-crowned Amazon (3) Amazona oratrix - Yellow-headed Amazon (21) Amazona rhodocorytha - Red-browed Amazon (2) Amazona tucumana - Tucumán Amazon (1) Amazona ventralis - Hispaniola Parrots (2) Amazona versicolor - Saint Lucia Amazon (1) Amazona vinacea - Vinaceous-breasted Amazon (3) Amazona viridigenalis - Red-crowned Amazon (27) Amazona vittata - Puerto Rican Amazon (14) Amazona xantholora - Yellow-lored Amazon (1) Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus - Hyacinth Macaw (5) Anodorhynchus leari - Lear's Macaw (3) Ara ambiguus - Great Green Macaw (8) Ara ararauna - Blue-and-Gold Macaw (30) Ara ararauna - Blue-and-Gold Macaw (9) Ara chloropterus- Green-winged macaw (10) Ara glaucogularis - Blue-throated Macaw (8) Ara macao - Scarlet Macaw (37) Ara militaris - Military Macaw (7) Ara rubrogenys - Red-fronted macaw (1) Aratinga acuticaudata - Blue-crowned Parakeet (4) Aratinga auricapillus - Gold-capped conure (1) Aratinga canicularis - Orange-fronted Parakeet (6) Aratinga erythrogenys - Red-masked Parakeet (13) Aratinga holochlora - Green Parakeet (7) Aratinga jandaya - Jenday conure (3) Aratinga leucophthalma - White-eyed Parakeet (1) Aratinga mitrata -Mitred Parakeet (12) Aratinga nana - Olive-throated Parakeet (1) Aratinga pertinax - Brown-throated Parakeet (1) Aratinga solstitialis - Sun Conure (2) Aratinga strenua - Pacific Parakeet (1) Aratinga wagleri - Scarlet-fronted Parakeet (1) Barnardius zonarius - Australian Ringneck (1) Bolborhynchus lineola - Barred Parakeet (1) Brotogeris chiriri - Yellow-chevroned parakeet (3) Brotogeris jugularis - Orange-chinned Parakeet (2) Brotogeris pyrrhoptera - Grey-cheeked Parakeet (2) Brotogeris versicolurus - White-winged Parakeet (1) Cacatua alba - Umbrella Cockatoo (8) Cacatua ducorpsii - Solomons Cockatoo (1) Cacatua galerita - Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (47) Cacatua goffiniana - Tanimbar Corella (7) Cacatua haematuropygia - Philippine Cockatoo (8) Cacatua leadbeateri - Major Mitchell's Cockatoo (4) Cacatua moluccensis - Salmon-crested Cockatoo (10) Cacatua ophthalmica - Blue-eyed Cockatoo (1) Cacatua p. pastinator - Muir's Corella (6) Cacatua pastinator - Western Corella (5) Cacatua sanguinea - Little Corella (42) Cacatua sulphurea - Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (12) Cacatua tenuirostris - Long-billed Corella (10) Callocephalon fimbriatum - Gang-gang Cockatoo (9) Calyptorhynchus banksii - Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (53) Calyptorhynchus baudinii - Baudin Cockatoo (37) Calyptorhynchus funereus - Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo (13) Calyptorhynchus lathami - Glossy Black Cockatoo (17) Calyptorhynchus latirostris - Carnaby's Cockatoo (91) Chalcopsitta cardinalis - Cardinal Lory (1) Charmosyna amabilis - Red-throated Lorikeet (1) Charmosyna diadema - Caledonian lorikeet (1) Charmosyna placentis - Red-flanked lorikeet (1) Conuropsis carolinensis - Carolina Parakeet (5) Coracopsis n. barklyi - Seychelles Black Parrot (2) Cyanoliseus patagonus - Burrowing Parrot (5) Cyanopsitta spixii - Spix's Macaw (10) Cyanoramphus auriceps - Yellow-crowned Kakariki (1) Cyanoramphus cookii - Norfolk Parakeet (1) Cyanoramphus malherbi - Orange-fronted parakeet (12) Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae - Red-crowned Kakariki (15) Cyanoramphus ulietanus - Society parakeet (1) Cyanoramphus unicolor - Antipodes Island Parakeet (3) Cyanoramphus zealandicus - Black-fronted parakeets (1) Deroptyus accipitrinus - Hawk-headed parrot (1) Diopsittaca nobilis - Red-shouldered macaw (1) Eclectus roratus - Eclectus Parrot (10) Enicognathus leptorhynchus - Slender-billed parakeet (1) Eolophus roseicapilla - Galah (19) Eos squamata - Violet-necked Lory (2) Forpus coelestis - Pacific Parrotlet (1) Forpus conspicillatus - Spectacled Parrotlet (1) Forpus cyanopygius - Mexican Parrotlet (1) Forpus passerinus - Green-rumped Parrotlet (2) Geoffroyus geoffroyi - Red-cheeked Parrot (1) Glossopsitta porphyrocephala - Purple-crowned Lorikeet (1) Graydidascalus brachyurus - Short-tailed Parrot (1) Guaruba guaruba - Golden conure (2) Hapalopsittaca fuertesi - Fuerte's parrot (2) Lathamus discolor - Swift Parrot (19) Leptosittaca branickii - Golden-plumed Parakeet (2) Loriculus vernalis - Vernal Hanging Parrot (1) Lorius chlorocercus - Yellow-bibbed Lory (1) Lorius domicella - Black-capped Lory (1) Lorius domicella - Purple-naped Lory (2) Lorius garrulus - Chattering Lory (5) Lorius lorry - black-capped Lories (1) Melopsittacus undulatus - Budgerigar (25) Micropsitta keiensis - Yellow-capped pygmy parrot (1) Micropsitta pusio - Buff-faced pygmy parrot (1) Myiopsitta monachus - Monk Parakeet (86) Nandayus nenday - Black-hooded Parakeet (4) Neophema chrysogaster - Orange-bellied Parrot (39) Neophema petrophila - Rock Parrot (1) Neophema pulchella - Turquoise parakeet (1) Nestor meridionalis - Kaka (23) Nestor notabilis - Kea (44) Nestor productus - Norfolk Island Kaka (1) Northiella haematogaster - Blue bonnet Parrot (1) Nymphicus hollandicus - Cockatiel (7) Ognorhynchus icterotis - Yellow-eared Parrot (5) Orthopsittaca manilata - Red-bellied macaw (1) Pezoporus flaviventris - Western Ground Parrot (13) Pezoporus occidentalis - Night Parrot (10) Pezoporus wallicus - Eastern ground parrot (2) Pezoporus wallicus - Eastern ground parrot (1) Pionites melanocephalus - Black-headed Caique (1) Pionus menstruus - Blue-headed parrot (1) Pionus senilis - White-crowned Parrot (1) Platycercus elegans - Crimson Rosella (6) Platycercus eximius - Eastern Rosella (4) Poicephalus fuscicollis - Brown-necked Parrot (1) Poicephalus robustus - Cape Parrot (5) Poicephalus senegalus - Senegal Parrot (2) Polytelis alexandrae - Princess Parrot (4) Polytelis anthopeplus - Regent Parrot (7) Polytelis swainsonii- Superb Parrot (14) Primolius auricollis - Yellow-collared macaw (1) Probosciger aterrimus - Palm Cockatoo (4) Psephotus chrysopterygius - Golden-shouldered Parrot (3) Psittacella brehmii - Brehm's Tiger-parrot (1) Psittacula alexandri - Red-breasted Parakeet (1) Psittacula columboides - Malabar Parakeet (1) Psittacula cyanocephala - Plum-headed Parakeet (3) Psittacula derbiana - Derbyan Parakeet (4) Psittacula echo - Mauritius parakeet (3) Psittacula eupatria - Alexandrine Parakeet (18) Psittacula eupatria - Alexandrine Parakeet (4) Psittacula finschii - Grey-headed Parakeet (1) Psittacula himalayana - Slaty-headed Parakeet (1) Psittacula krameri - Ring-necked Parakeet (50) Psittacus erithacus - African Grey Parrot (45) Psittacus erithacus - African Grey Parrot (23) Psittrichas fulgidus - Pesquet's Parrot (1) Pyrrhura albipectus - White-breasted Parakeet (1) Pyrrhura caeruleiceps - Perijá Parakeet (2) Pyrrhura griseipectus - Grey-breasted Parakeet (1) Pyrrhura molinae - Green-cheeked Conure (1) Pyrrhura orcesi - El Oro Parakeet (3) Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha - Thick-billed Parrot (9) Strigops habroptilus - Kakapo (82) Tanygnathus lucionensis - Blue-naped Parrot (4) Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus - Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (1) Trichoglossus rubritorquis - Red-collared Lorikeet (2) Trichoglosus haematodus - Rainbow Lorikeets (13) Vini kuhlii - Kuhl's Lorikeet (1)
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Tuesday
Sep182012

St. Lucia's Jacquot on the rebound 

The endangered and colourful Saint Lucia parrot is making a comeback on the island. (Handout Photo)SAINT LUCIA -- A few decades ago, you couldn't go anywhere on this island without hearing about the St. Lucia Parrot. The national bird was the subject of songs, plays, bumper stickers and even appeared on postage stamps.

There was a good reason for all the attention. The St. Lucia Parrot, which is endemic to the island, was on the verge of extinction. The species had declined from about 1,000 birds in the 1950s to just 150 in the late 1970s. Most experts predicted it would die out by the turn of the century. That's when citizens decided to rally around their parrot -- Amazona Versicolour -- known locally as a "Jacquot."

"The whole nation got involved in trying to save the species," said Jeannine Henry, a guide at the new Our Planet attraction, which has a section devoted to the bird.

The effort involved public education, conservation measures, and stiff fines for anyone who was caught hunting, capturing or harming the bird. It worked, thanks in part to the assistance of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. By 1990, the species increased to about 350 birds and has been expanding, albeit slowly.

Still, with only about 350 in the wild, my chance of seeing one wasn't high. Many residents told me they had never seen the bird. I didn't let that deter me.

While travelling on the north side of the island one day, my driver Leonard James mentioned a little-known Mini Zoo near Castries, where I could see a few of the parrots. Ten minutes later, we were walking past cages containing iguanas, agoutis, green monkeys and a boa constrictor.

In a large cage, near a sign for the Union Nature Trail, was the St. Lucia Parrot. It sat on its perch and watched me without making a sound, while I admired its resplendent colours -- mainly green with a cobalt-blue forehead and scarlet breast. I was thrilled to see it, though it looked a bit lonely. There was another Jacquot in a similarly sized cage next to it and a third, in a smaller cage on the second floor of the interpretive centre.

Rain Forest Sky Rides’ aerial tram provides a thrilling new view of Saint Lucia from above the mature rain forest canopy. (Handout photo)In the wild, Jacquots occupy the forest canopy where they feed on fruit, nuts and berries. To increase my chance of a sighting I would have to be on their turf.

The Rain Forest Sky Rides sounded promising. One of the attractions is an aerial tram that takes you 39 metres up in the air with a view of a mature rain forest canopy. It was an enjoyable narrated ride amid ficus and gommier trees, ferns and tropical flowers, but there was no sign of the St. Lucia Parrot.

I spent the next few days seeing the sights -- the "drive-in" volcano, Diamond Botanical Gardens, Pigeon Island National Historic Park, and the market in Castries -- and indulging. Particularly notable was dinner at the atmospheric Rainforest Hideaway restaurant and a spa treatment at a seaside hut at Coconut Bay Beach Resort.

I hadn't forgotten about the parrot, though, and on my last day, I planned a hike of the Des Cartier Rain Forest Trail near the village of Micoud. But when we arrived early Sunday morning, there was no sign of our guide. James got on his cell phone to make inquiries, while I stood at the foot of a vine-draped gmelina tree, mentally debating whether I would walk the rugged northern loop trail alone without an interpreter. That's when I heard a bird call that sounded like a parrot.

"That's it," cried James. I ran to the trailhead and began scanning the trees for a glimpse of the bird. And there it was! I couldn't believe my luck!

Using my camera's zoom lens like a pair of binoculars I focused on the parrot, which continued singing, apparently communicating with a parrot in another tree. The air was steamy, and the sky overcast. I craned my head to see the bird, which was in the upper reaches of the canopy. Sometimes it would face in my direction and other times it would turn its back to me. I tried hard to steady the camera, as mosquitoes viciously bit every inch of exposed skin.

Soon, James and groundskeeper Therence Eugene, who showed up in place of the guide, joined me in observing the parrots, helping me locate the birds, each time they flew to a different branch. I wasn't sure if the jacquots were aware of our presence but we kept still just in case. Ten minutes later they were gone.

I was surprised when Eugene told me he sees the parrots almost every day. He says 5:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. are the best times.

I was no longer interested in walking the trail now that I'd glimpsed the rare St. Lucia Parrot in the wild. And to think I'd seen it without the effort of a physically demanding hike. I felt like I had cheated. It was too easy. But rewarding nonetheless.

For travel information, visit the Saint Lucia Tourist Board at stlucianow.com. For Rainforest Sky Rides, see check rfat.com. For Our Planet, check ourplanetcentre.org.

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