Black-billed Amazon (Amazona agilis)

Black-billed Amazon

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Amazona agilis | [authority] Linnaeus, 1758 | [UK] Black-billed Amazon | [FR] Amazone verte | [DE] Rotspiegel-Amazone | [ES] Amazona Jamaicana Piquioscura | [NL] Jamaica-Amazone | [copyright picture] Birdlife


Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Amazona agilis NA Jamaica


Amazon parrot is the common name for a parrot of the genus Amazona. These are medium-size parrots native to the New World ranging from South America to Mexico and the Caribbean. Most Amazon parrots are predominantly green, with accenting colors that depend on the species and can be quite vivid. They have comparatively short, somewhat square, tails. Just like the other parrots, amazons have four toes on each foot, two pointing forwards and two pointing backward. They feed primarily on seeds, nuts, and fruits, supplemented by leafy matter. Almost everywhere in the lowlands of tropical and subtropical America, the savannas, grassy openings in the forest, and roadsides are frequented by flocks of very small finches with short and thick bills, which feed on the seeds of grasses. In the genus Sporophila, the males are clad in black, black and white, or black and chestnut, while the dull females are olive or buff. Often the same species shows pronounced variation in plumage from region to region.

Physical charateristics

All-green parrot with scaled effect on head (sometimes odd red feathers), red primary covert patch, bluish primaries, flight feathers darker at tip, tail feathers margined blue with red bases to outer feathers. Bill black. Yellow-billed Parrot A. collaria is larger with yellow bill and whitish facial area, and has deeper and slower wing beats.

Listen to the sound of Black-billed Amazon

[audio: Amazon.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Richard C. Hoyer

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 25 cm size max.: 27 cm
incubation min.: 23 days incubation max.: 30 days
fledging min.: 40 days fledging max.: 50 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 4  


North America : Jamaica. Fairly common in the centre of Jamaica, from Cockpit Country to Mount Diablo. It also occurs on the eastern slopes of the John Crow Mountains. The population in Cockpit Country is thought to number fewer than 10,000 individuals, and continues to decline slowly.There are no estimates for populations in the rest of the island.


Wet limestone forests and forest edge, mostly at elevations of 100-1,400 m. It also uses cultivated land and plantations adjacent to forest for foraging.


Breeding takes place from March to August. The use of abandoned Jamaican Woodpecker Melanerpes radiolatus cavities has been reported, but the majority of pairs use tree-hollows that form from processes related to weathering or pathogens. In captivity the clutch size is 2-4 eggs which are incubated for about 26 days by the female only. Young fledge after another 9 weeks.

Feeding habits

Pairs and flocks feed high in the canopy on seeds, fruits, berries, leaf buds and blossoms; also ripe plantain Musa, Cecropia, Ficus, Nectandra, Bryophyllum, Blighia sapida and Melia azedarach.


This species has a very small range within which its habitat is declining in extent, area and quality; and further population reductions are being caused by trapping and predation, qualifying the species as Vulnerable. It does not currently qualify as Endangered because habitat is not severely fragmented and it is known from more than five locations. However the species may qualify for uplisting in the future due to population declines should all three proposed mining concessions in Cockpit Country be granted.
Shifting cultivation, logging and possibly bauxite mining have reduced suitable habitat, and the species is trapped for local consumption. Predation by yellow boa Epicrates subflavus is a significant limiting factor to nesting success. There is no evidence that poaching for the cage-bird trade has a major impact. The Black-billed Parrot is the smaller and rarer of the two parrots endemic to the island of Jamaica. The Black-billed Parrot is readily identifiable in flight, as it flies with distinctively fast and fluttery wingbeats. The Black billed Parrot is largely restricted to we limestone forest in cockpit country in central Jamaica, where it moves in small flocks, and roosts communally, often with Yellow-billed Parrots (Amazona collaris) and Olive-throated Parakeets (Aratinga nana).
Black-billed Amazon status Vulnerable


Resident, with local wandering according to food availability.

Distribution map

Black-billed Amazon distribution range map

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