Title: Rio Grande Ecological Services Field Office
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/CA01300685/00001
 Material Information
Title: Rio Grande Ecological Services Field Office
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Publisher: United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Publication Date: 2007
Subject: Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- Puerto Rico -- Caribbean National Forest
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA01300685
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Rio Grande

Ecological Services Field Office

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Fernando Niiiez-Garcia,
Field Supervisor
Rio Grande ES Field Office
Calle Garcia de la Noceda #38
P.O. Box 1600
Rio Grande, PR 00745
Phone: 787/887 8769
Fax: 787/887 7512
E-mail: fernandonunez@fws.gov

All photos USFWS (top to bottom)
Caribbean National Forest
Endangered Puerto Rican parrot
Following released Puerto Rican
Parrots using radio telemetry
Monitoring captive nesting I..h TI .i

Station Facts
* Established: 1990.

* FY 05 budget: $962,000.

* Number of staff: 11.

Station Goals
* Coordinate management and
research/recovery efforts for the
endangered Puerto Rican Parrot
(Amazona vittata), one of the 10
most endangered birds in the
world and the only native parrot
in U.S. territory.

* Promote the conservation of
habitat for the Puerto Rican
Parrot and other endangered,
native, and migratory bird

* Promote international technology
interchange to assist other island
nations in the Caribbean in the
management of their natural

Services provided to
* Private individuals.

* Federal agencies and local
government and non-government

* Girl and Boy Scouts of America.

* Public schools and municipal

Activity Highlights
* Released captive-reared parrots
into the wild at the Caribbean
National Forest.

* Field efforts have included the
restoration of nest cavities and
field infrastructure in the
Caribbean National Forest after
the devastation of the Puerto
Rican Parrot population and its
habitat by hurricanes.

* Coordinated interagency
recovery efforts and developed
strategies to deal with predators,
competitors, nest guarding
techniques and survey

* Exchanged technology and
technical assistance with the Rio
Abajo Aviary managed by the
Puerto Rico Department of
Natural and Environmental
Resources (DNER).

* Managed captive population to
assure production of individuals
to be released into the wild, wild
nest manipulations, and
facilitated surrogate parents for
double clutches of active wild

* Designed and coordinated
research projects to develop and
refine techniques for the
reintroduction of captive-raised
parrots into the wild.

* Promoted international
technology interchange with
neighboring Caribbean nations
including the training of
biologists and technicians from
different countries and
conducting workshops on the
techniques used in Puerto Rican
Parrot recovery program.

Questions and Answers
What are the functions of the Puerto
Rican Parrot Recovery Program?
The Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery
Program is responsible for the
coordination of all activities involved
in the conservation and recovery of
the Puerto Rican Parrot. Recovery
activities include interagency
coordination of management and
research projects, the protection of
wild nests from predators and
competitors, the management of a
captive flock, and evaluating and
promoting the conservation of habitat
for the future reestablishment of
more wild populations.

I have seen parrots about '. 'i .,il. I
in Puerto Rico. Is the Puerto Rican
parrot ..,ll// endangered? and if so,
why is it endangered?
The Puerto Rican Parrot is one of the
10 most endangered bird species in
the world and the only native parrot
under United States jurisdiction.
However, many other exotic parrot
species have been introduced to
Puerto Rico mostly because of the pet

The only known wild population of
Puerto Rican parrots survives at the
Caribbean National Forest (El
Yunque) in eastern Puerto Rico. As
with many other endangered species,
a major cause of the plight of the
Puerto Rican Parrot has been the
conflict between human population
growth and land use practices with
the conservation of wildlife habitat.
The Puerto Rican Parrot requires
mature cavity forming trees for
nesting. Agricultural practices
reduced the amount of mature forest
areas available in Puerto Rico, thus
affecting the parrot population. This
reduced population became
susceptible to the impact of natural
and introduced predators,
competitors, and the effects of

How 1..... 'i Puerto Rican Parrots
exist, and where are they?
As of February 2005, fewer than 200
Puerto Rican Parrots exist. Of those,
157 parrots are in captivity and
approximately 30-35 individuals are
in the wild. The captive population
was divided into two flocks in 1993.

The Puerto Rico Department of
Natural and Environmental
Resources manages one of the captive
flocks at the Jose L. Vivaldi Memorial
Aviary in the Rio Abajo
Commonwealth Forest. This forest is
located in western Puerto Rico
between the municipalities of Arecibo
and Utuado. The other captive flock
in the Luquillo Mountains (El
Yunque), is managed by the FWS Rio
Grande Field Office staff.

How do the Puerto Rican Parrots
make their nests, when do they
reproduce, and how long does the
family stihi together?
Puerto Rican Parrots are secondary
cavity nesters. It means that they
nest in cavities, but they can not
excavate them on their own. They
require large trees old enough to
form natural cavities. Females make
some modifications to form cup
shaped depressions at the bottom of
the cavities, where they lay from two
to four eggs. The breeding season
usually starts in January and lasts
until May or June. Puerto Rican
Parrot pair bonds last until a member
of the pair dies. During January, the
pair selects the nest cavity, typically,
the pair use the same nest every year.
When the female lays eggs and starts
incubating, the male brings her food.

The female incubates the eggs for
about 26 days, and the chicks remain
in the nest for about 9 weeks. After
the chicks fledge, the family remains
together until the next breeding
season. Sometimes the yearling
parrots return to the nest sites with
their parents, but the adults regularly
expel them from the territory.

If they are endangered in the wild,
why do you have Puerto Rican
Parrots in captivity?
The captive flock was established in
1973 to assure the survival of the
species should a catastrophic event
eliminate the wild population. In
1975, only 13 parrots remained in the
wild. In addition, the captive flock has
provided the opportunity to enhance
wild nest productivity through
fostering and double clutching.

Fostering has been a -'irr' -- ill way
to supplement the wild population
with birds produced in captivity. More
recently, 10 captive-reared Puerto
Rican Parrots were successfully
released in June 2000, 16 in May,
2001, nine in May, 2002 and five
additional parrots in May 2004.

What is the status of the released
captive-reared birds?
After conducting an extensive pilot
study in the Dominican Republic
using Hispaniolan Parrots (Amazona
ventralis) as a surrogate ecological
model, a protocol and methodology
was developed for the released
Puerto Rican Parrots in the
Caribbean National Forest. Radio
transmitters were used for the four
releases of parrots to track their
movements and determine survival.

Following the first release of 10
Puerto Rican parrots on May 2000,
90% of the individuals survived for
two months indicating that the
parrots were in good physical
condition and capable of locating
food. Released parrots were
documented using areas historically
occupied by wild parrots, as well as
traveling with wild birds. The
survival trajectories after three
releases indicate that 45 to 50% of
released Puerto Rican parrots
survived at least until the radio
batteries quit working (6-9 months
after the releases).

The results, to date, indicate that
releases of captive-reared birds are a
promising technique to speed the
recovery of this critically endangered
parrot, especially with respect to
reestablishing a second wild
population outside the Caribbean
National Forest.

Rio rand Ecoogicl Srvics Fild Ofic

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