Have you always wondered what it would be like to see parrots in their natural habitat, rather than in a cage at the zoo or pet shop? If you visit Puerto Rico, you may just get your chance. That’s because the tropical paradise is home to numerous members of the parrot family. While many have been introduced to the archipelago, there is one species – the Puerto Rican parrot – that is endemic to the island.
The Puerto Rican parrot, also referred to as the Puerto Rican Amazon, is, quite simply, exactly what you imagine a parrot to look like. They are mostly green, with red around their beaks and white rings around their eyes. The undersides of their wings are usually a brilliant, deep blue. Male and female parrots are indistinguishable by markings – unlike many other bird species; females are just as brilliantly colored as their male counterparts. Young birds have the same plumage as adults. Unfortunately, they are a species in peril.
According to The Jane Goodall Institute, Puerto Rican parrots are on the list of critically endangered birds, with approximately 50 to 80 birds existing in the wild. Their biggest known threat is man. Habitat destruction, capture for the pet industry, and forest clearing have all contributed to the dwindling population. Conservation efforts have been put into place to release more birds into the wild, and in 2013, it was discovered that released birds were building nests on their own in the Rio Abajo State Forest. Other birds have been released in the Maricao State Forest, and some into El Yunque. In all, there are 14 species of parrots living in Puerto Rico, and many are either endangered or vulnerable.
Unfortunately, we can’t promise you that you’ll see a Puerto Rican parrot in all its glory. Many have retreated deep into the rainforests, where they can find food, shelter and good places to nest. But you do have a good chance of catching a glimpse of one of the other species of parrot living on the archipelago. For instance, the budgerigar is listed as of least concern, and these small members of the parrot family are plentiful.
Several species of parakeet, white-fronted parrots, orange-fronted parrots, and orange-winged parrots are also listed as of least concern, so there is a very good chance you’ll spot one of these colorful parrots on your visit.
If you decide to stay with us on Maria’s Beach, some of the best birding locales include the Laguna Cartagena National Wildlife Refuge, the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge, or the mountainous town of Maricao, where you will have the opportunity to see many of the endemic birds listed above. For the best birding trip you should dress for hiking and pack sunblock, rain gear, binoculars and your camera. Some tours, such as the ones offered by Birding Puerto Rico, include bottled water, insect repellent, a scope and, most importantly, a certified tour guide. Please check with your birding tour provider to learn more.
Maria’s, a luxury villa located on Maria’s Beach, offers people visiting Rincón, Puerto Rico a comfortable island paradise with all the amenities of home – and more. It’s the perfect place for a good night’s rest – and maybe even a relaxing dip in the on-site pool or hot tub – after your bird watching adventure. Our booking is done through Island West Properties, Maria’s rental and onsite management. Please visit our booking page on this website to view the availability of Maria’s and fill out our convenient contact form below.