Give the Yellow-naped Amazons a Pathway to Flourish

Yellow-naped Amazons in Guatemala City

Guatemala Yellow-naped Amazon Conservation – Parrot Pathway of the South Coast


· Initial assessment and subsequent monitoring of Yellow-naped Amazon population
· Identify “hot spots” through monitoring and national media blitz
· Protect hot spots through local employment, and local and national education and awareness
· Develop avitourism of the south coast through sustainable avitourism (Parrot Path of the South Coast
· Develop Yellow-naped Amazon Working Group
· Increase capacity for avian conservation through workshops and teaching of students at San Carlos University


Twenty-years ago, Dr. LoraKim Joyner directed others in the Guatemalan Psittacine Project (Proyecto de Loros). With others she initiated a conservation project in the south coast of Guatemala emphasizing the Yellow-naped Amazon (Amazona auropalliata). This conservation team conducted a 5 year monitoring program, time budget analysis of nesting adults, habitat survey, chick and nest health assessment, and a multipronged community education and conservation intervention program. Poaching levels were very high, and the human security and poverty issues were intense. The project discontinued, rather dramatically, in 1995 when the three fincas within the sanctuary program converted most of their land to sugar cane production. One third of the parrot nest trees were lost in that year alone. Members of the team returned in 2009 to evaluate the status of the conservation site. Initial monitoring indicates that the population of Yellow-napes has decreased there by 95%. Furthermore, the countryside has largely converted to sugar production, locals describing the former parrots and fauna of the area as “desaparecido” (disappeared).

Project Summary:

Dr. Joyner along with a number of groups and individuals are forming a Yellow-naped Amazon Working Group to address this harsh reality. The group is proposing a four pronged approach, two of which include standard conservation efforts comprised of population assessment and monitoring, and education and awareness. This first stage will be identification of potential nesting and roosting sites through satellite imagery, a national media blitz inviting people to report parrot sightings, and a survey of areas likely to yield birds. These sites will be “hot spots” in need of protecting.

What we propose to do next uniquely applies to this socio-environmental area. Using the monitoring information, we will recruit finca owners and sugar cane conglomerates to set aside and reforest select areas, as well as contribute workers’ time to protect and monitor these sites. We will augment their contribution by employing biologists from the University of San Carlos, and field technicians from local communities. Drawing on local community members, and offering pay, equipment, and training, we will raise both national and local awareness and support. Following the inflow of funding from various granting agencies., we plan that these sites will sustain themselves through avitourism and other economic incentives.

Our ultimate goal is to develop a “Ruta de Loros del Costa Sur” (Parrot Path of the South Coast). This will be in part a self-guided tour that will draw nationals and internationals to these sites, who will not only employ local guides, but also contribute to the local economy through lodging, meals, and other purchases. These stops along the path will help to not only protect and preserve the parrots and other species throughout the south coast, but will help local communities and businesses thrive.

Current Funding: We had only enough funds to  investigate and help establish 5 “hot spots”  in 2013, and to conduct two weeks of training, lectures, and workshops.  Our goal is to increase the numbers of hot spots and locations of preservation and ecotourism to 15 in the coming year.  We need your help to grow this project so that the species has a reasonable chance to survive in this country.


Here is our current Parrot Pathway(La Ruta de Los Loros):