Europe’s last captive male black-billed amazon parrot has been transferred to a new zoo for a breeding program with one of the few females of its kind.
The bird – originally a native of the Caribbean – flew in from the Spanish Canary Islands to take up his new duties in the Austrian capital Vienna.
The breed is officially classified as endangered by the IUCN.
The male red-backed amazon (Amazona agilis) arrived at the Tiergarten Schonbrunn Zoo in Austria’s capital Vienna from Loro Parque Zoo, Tenerife, on May 12.
The lovebirds have already been introduced to each other at a special enclosure where they can be seen sharing food treats and getting closer.
Zoological Head of Department Simone Haderthauer revealed: “We are very happy that the sensitive bird survived the flight so well.”
She added: “Now the two are in the process of getting used to each other in peace. As of this week, visitors can see them in the facility next to the keas.”
The species’ natural home is Jamaica, where it can be found in the rainforests of only two small mountain ranges.
The breed forms small flocks of not more than 30 birds where they blend into the canopy of the forest and are perfectly camouflaged by their green plumage.
According to the zoo, black-billed amazons get their name from their almost black-colored bill and are very reserved with a rather gentle personality.
Moreover, the black-billed amazon is the smallest Amazon parrot at only 25 centimeters (10 ins) long.
The individuals feed on fruit, seeds and nuts, but also enjoy cultivated fruit like mangos, papayas and cucumbers, as well as wild fruits.
Black-billed amazon populations have significantly decreased due to deforestation and hurricane damage fragmenting their forest, as well as poaching for food and the pet trade in wild parrots.
Despite being quite common in the past, they are currently listed as ‘endangered’ by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Zoo Director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck reported: “Like many Amazon species, the red-backed amazon is critically endangered in its native habitat. The main reason for this is the illegal animal trade and habitat destruction, including deforestation.”
He added: “We are therefore very pleased that we were able to bring these two individuals together and are now hoping for offspring.”
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