The Fuertes’s Parrot (Hapalopsittaca fuertesi), also known as the Indigo-winged Parrot, is a parrot which has a highly restricted range on the west slope of the Central Andes of Colombia. You know a bird profile is going to be a challenge when Wikipedia doesn’t have a photo. Birdlife does have a drawing I can hopefully use (link below).
Fuertes’ Parrots are endemic to Colombia in an extremely challenging location to go birding with the bad weather and high altitude cloud forest. See my description on how to find them on my post and the Birds of Passage blog. Pereira or Santa Rosa de Cabal are the staging points, both can be easily reached by bus but you need a hired car-SUV to get to the habitat.
LEARN MORE ABOUT FUERTES PARROTS
You can see some photos by professional photographers on some of these sites.
The Rufous-fronted Parakeet, (Bolborhynchus ferrugineifrons) is endemic to Colombia and can be a real challenge to see as they like very high altitudes between 3000-4000 metres. Wikipedia doesn’t have a photo but I do have a picture from Rio Blanco. Photos are available on the websites in the “Learn More” section.
Not only are they a Colombian endemic but their range is very small in the high paramo near Manizales & Pereira. The best place to see them is in and around the Termales del Ruiz. You will be at 3500 metres so plan for altitude sickness. Once you get within 5km of the hotel, keep your windows down and ears open, they are the only parrot species in this area so listen for the squawking.
The Rusty-faced Parrot (Hapalopsittaca amazonina) is found in subtropical or tropical moist montane forests and subtropical or tropical high-altitude shrubland. I didn’t get a shot and there is only a drawing on Wikipedia so this shot of a drawing I got at Rio Blanco will have to do. There are better photos in the “Learning More” section below and video clips.
The only video clips I could find on YouTube were taken by one of Colombia’s top birding guides – Oswaldo Cortes. I wish I could have hired him as a guide, especially when I see how cute this parrot is up close!
The Yellow-eared Parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis), is an endangered parrot of tropical America. It is found in the western Andes in Colombia and (perhaps only formerly) Ecuador and is closely associated to the wax palm Ceroxylon sp. which is itself endangered.
The foggy weather messed up my photos so I have added the Wikipedia shot so you can see the gorgeous colours of this beauty.
They are the symbol of conservation in Colombia and there is a reserve to protect them near Jardin, Antioquia.
Although they once had a larger range according to Birdlife’s map, nowadays they have a very limited area at Ventanas near Jardin, Colombia.
Peter Odekerken, a top Australian photographer was more fortunate (sunny weather + superb photography skills) than I was in getting very detailed footage of these amazing birds. He made a really interesting mini-doco.
The Santa Marta parakeet (Pyrrhura viridicata) is a species of parrot in the family Psittacidae. It is extremely rare and only seen by visitng the El Dorado Reserve. There aren’t many photos of this bird online, and my sighting was distant and in bad weather so I didn’t get a shot. I only saw a pair flying through the trees across the valley and this time “Hail Mary” didn’t work.
The Yellow-crowned Amazon or Yellow-crowned Parrot (Amazona ochrocephala), is a species of parrot, native to the tropical South America and Panama. Subspecies include xantholaema, nattereri and panamensis.
Sorry they are a bit blurry, I was trying to focus on them as part of a large group at the Napo clay lick. They have quite a large range in in Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. I saw these guys at the large parrot clay lick near Napo Wildlife Center. Also try looking for them at clay licks near Tambopata & Manu in Peru.
The Military Macaw (Ara militaris) gets its name from its predominantly green plumage resembling a military parade uniform. They are rare enough that if one is spotted, every birder will stand up and pay attention! We were really lucky to see 4 flying by at Wildsumaco but my photos came out blurry so I have included the Wikipedia shots.
They have quite a large range in in Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. Even within their range, this is not an easy bird to find so consider yourself very lucky if you do! Many people (like me) see them at Wildsumaco in Ecuador and Minca in Colombia.