WCS Argentina

Burrowing Parrot

A slender parrot with long pointed tail, overall green with yellow underparts and a bright red spot on its chest. Usually found in pairs that gather to form flocks. Breeds in colonies in cliff faces, each pair digging a tunnel that ends in a nesting chamber. The colony at El Cóndor on the coast of Patagonia in the province of Río Negro, Argentina is the largest colony of all species of parrots in the world. Over 37,000 pairs nest along a stretch of cliff eight miles long forming a world-class wildlife spectacle http://www.uni-giessen.de/~gf1702/

Conservation Challenges

This species is considered by many farmers to be damaging to crops however even a colony as large as the one at El Condor only consumes what two truckloads of cattle can eat. For details see “Agricultural pest?” in http://www.uni-giessen.de/~gf1702/

Conservation Approach

Generate public awareness of the damaging effects of habitat destruction of the Monte scrub near Viedma in Río Negro, not only for burrowing parrots but for many species of birds and mammals. See “ProMonte” http://www.uni-giessen.de/~gf1702/.
Develop El Cóndor as a new tourist destination for wildlife enthusiasts. Monitor the population of burrowing parrots and threats to its survival.

Goals

To achieve formal protection for the burrowing parrot colony of El Cóndor and the conservation of the inland Monte habitat that is important for the survival of the birds that breed here.

Activities

  • Monitoring of parrot populations and colony sizes and distribution throughout its range.
  • Gathering of data on behavior and feeding distribution and on interaction with agriculture.
  • Education and awareness building to raise concern for the effects of habitat destruction to make way for agriculture and the effects that this might have on the future of burrowing parrots, especially those that breed at the colony at El Cóndor.

Threats

Burrowing parrots are threatened by loss of habitat to the expanding agricultural frontier in several parts of its range. The use of pesticides is known to produce growth defects. Disturbance of breeding colonies by people can affect breeding success.

Accomplishments

Public awareness is greater than it has ever been for the conservation of burrowing parrots and efforts to destroy the parrot colony at El Condor have been discontinued. We have greatly increased our knowledge of the behavior of the species during 14 years of research. See publications in http://www.uni-giessen.de/~gf1702/


Contact

WCS Argentina
Amenabar 1595 piso 2 oficina 19, C1426AKC CABA

Key Staff

Juan Masello
Burrowing Parrots Project