This is one of the rarest birds in the world and Chester Zoo is at the forefront of the conservation work needed to help save this species from extinction.

In January 2014 we sent a team of 10 experienced conservationists, bird and horticultural experts to survey the remote Cerro Blanco Forest in South West Ecuador, to track and collect vital information on the Ecuador Amazon parrot and work with our conservation partner, the Pro Bosque Fundacion.

Dr Mark Pilgrim, Chester Zoo’s Director General led the expedition:

"Previously, the Ecuador Amazon parrot was considered to be one of four subspecies, which has an estimated population of about five million birds. As a result of the size of the population, it did not rank among conservationists priorities.

"However now that we’ve identified just how important this parrot is – that it is in fact a full species – it means it can now get some protection. And it’s vital that that happens now as we fear there could be as few as just 600 left."

Ultimately the work and research the team completed is essential for the survival of this species in the wild and could potentially help save these parrots from becoming extinct.

In July 2014 the IUCN announced that the Ecuador Amazon parrot would be awarded full species status and officially listed as endangered - meaning a very high risk of extinction in the wild.

Following the news, Dr Pilgrim said:

"This new listing is something of a double-edged sword. While on the one hand it confirms that the species’ continued existence is under real threat, the good news is that it will now be considered a conservation priority and will attract resources."

Despite the protected status of Cerro Blanco forest and the nearby mangroves of the Bosque’s El Salado Reserve - between which the parrots make daily flights - the Ecuador Amazon faces continued threats from the destruction of mangroves for urban expansion, the cutting of trees for charcoal production and use in construction and their capture for the pet trade.

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Interesting facts

Where they live: Ecuador

Habitat: Dry forest and mangrove

Diet: Insects, fruit

Height: 30cm

Threats: Loss of habitat and particularly nesting and feeding trees due to clearance of land for agriculture. Poaching is also a threat in the Cerro Blanco forest.

Species Information

Scientific name Amazona autumnalis lilacina
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae
Genus Amazona
IUCN status Endangered
Roles in the zoo

In situ Conservation Ambassador

Species conservation: This is a species for which we have a significant focus on in the wild, as part of our conservation projects and programmes around the world.


Interdependence: This species helps demonstrate that all living things, including humans, live in ecosystems and depend on other living things for their survival.

Human Impact: This species helps demonstrate that human activities are causing serious environmental damage.

Partnerships: This species helps demonstrate that we work in partnerships with other organisations to conserve nature and natural resources.

Chester Zoo: This species helps demonstrate that as a charity Chester Zoo’s mission is to be a major force in conserving biodiversity worldwide.

You! This species helps demonstrate that we can all make changes to help the environment and zoos can help inspire people to do this.

Visitor experience

Exhibit Enhancement: This species connects visitors with the geographic areas that they originate from and helps develop further understanding of the environmental issues facing the species in those regions.