The San Diego Zoo Safari Park has thick-billed parrots on exhibit in its Condor Ridge habitat.
The thick-billed parrot population has dropped since the early 1900s. Although its range once included southern areas of Arizona and New Mexico south to Venezuela in South America, it is now found mostly in the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains of northern Mexico. What has happened? Hunting and logging in the parrots' pine forest habitat and the illegal capture of birds for the pet trade are the greatest threats facing thick-billed parrots today.
It is believed that half of the world's thick-billed parrots live in a 6,000-acre (2,400-hectare) tract of forest in Chihuahua, Mexico, which is the birds' most important nesting area. In 2000, a private group that owned the land agreed to stop logging in the area and plans are under way to develop a certified sustainable timber harvest and build cabins for ecotourists.
San Diego Zoo Global participates in the Species Survival Plan for the thick-billed parrot and is part of a group of conservation organizations supporting field studies and working to save the birds' remaining habitat.
With their noisy habits and eye-catching plumage, thick-billed parrots are hard to ignore. Today, with a breeding program in place, habitat protection undertaken, and public awareness on the rise, our western mountains just might echo again with the riotous calls of flocking thick-billed parrots!
You can help us bring thick-billed parrots and other species back from the brink by supporting the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy. Together we can save and protect wildlife around the globe.