Yellow-headed Amazon Parrot in Oakland

David Robinson

At about 5pm or so, just after sunset, I was observing a large flock of crows (easily 200 or more) in my neighborhood, just west of Highland Hospital in Oakland (just west of Elliott St. and just north of 33rd St, to be precise). To my great surprise, I noticed a parrot among the crows at the top of a tree. 

Both the parrot and the crows took off when I raised my camera. Some of the crows proceeded to harass the parrot quite aggressively, chasing it and pecking at it again and again, two, three, or four crows at a time. Rather than simply fly off, the parrot flew in large circles overhead, sometimes vocalizing loudly. (The crows, meanwhile — many of the flock, not just the ones harassing the parrot — had been vocalizing loudly for the past half hour.) 

Despite the repeated attacks, the parrot seemed to be sticking with the crows rather than truly trying to escape them. Sure enough, when a bunch of the crows perched on a telephone wire, the parrot flew in and perched on the wire a few feet away. That's when I was able to take several photos, which I've included with my ebird report of the sighting

Finally, at about 5:15pm, the parrot flew off west/southwest, heading into the distance a bit south of Highland Hospital.

When I thought about it, I realized the parrot's having tried to stay with the crows might not really have been so strange: many parrots roost in large flocks. (According to, Yellow-headed Parrots sometimes do.) 

I'm wondering whether this bird is an escaped pet or an escapee from a zoo.

According to, Yellow-headed Parrots are endangered. Here's the reason given:

"The primary cause of declines in Yellow-headed Parrot has been trapping and poaching of eggs and juveniles from nest cavities for the pet trade, as well as hunting, or shooting as pests on fruit crops (Lousada and Howell 1996; Eisermann 2003). It is one of the most sought-after Neotropical parrots for the pet trade because it is considered one of the best "talkers" (Juniper and Parr 1998). Although capture for the pet trade is now illegal in Mexico, this activity still poses a serious threat. Poachers frequently cut down trunks with nest cavities, or enlarge nest hole openings, or cut a hole at the level of the nest if well below the entrance hole (Eisermann 2003). Thus, in addition to loss of productivity, this results in a declining number of available nest cavity sites. This species also faces heightened risk because of its specialization on threatened tropical deciduous forest habitats. This threat to Yellow-headed Parrot is loss of this habitat type due to unsustainable logging, wood harvesting, and clearing for agriculture and livestock grazing; habitat degradation due to intensive cattle grazing can also be a problem (Eisermann 2003)."

 Is there some authority this sighting should be reported to?

David Robinson
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