Here in Luquillo we have one of the world’s most endangered birds – The Puerto Rican Parrot.
Called “Iguaca” by the Taino Indians, these beautiful birds with their green and blue feathers and distinctive red spot used to darken the skies when the Spanish first arrived in Puerto Rico.
However, following centuries of poaching and habitat destruction culminating with Hurricane Hugo in 1989, there were only about 22 individual parrots left in the wild.
But, thanks to conservation efforts, they’re making a slow but steady comeback and it’s now estimated that there are as many as 300 mating pairs in and around El Yunque.
We were fortunate to live in Barrio Sabana (a neighborhood in Luquillo) at the “skirt” of El Yunque over the summer of 2015. In the yard of the house in which we stayed, there was a large Mahogany tree. In that tree, there were no less than 2 mating pairs of Puerto Rican Parrots!!
We often heard them squawking in the morning and afternoon and, on occasion, we were lucky enough to see them fly to and from the tree (always in pairs). There were times when we spotted as many as 8 specimens flying by.
The Puerto Rican Parrot: Barrio Sabana, Luquillo Puerto Rico – July 2015
As I said before, we would sometimes catch glimpses of these elusive birds as they flew to and from the large tree near the house where we were living in.
One day, we captured a video of a parrot sitting out in the open enjoying a rain shower. You can see our video below:
There were actually several parrots nearby; they seemed to be enjoying and playing in the rain, but this one was the only one that stayed put long enough to record. Occasionally, the Puerto Rican Parrot can also be seen (or heard) in Monserrate Balneario (near the Kiosks in Luquillo) in the Sierra Palms (their principal food source).
So, if you’re a Birder, you should come to Luquillo for your chance to see one of these beautiful, rare, and critically endangered birds.
The Puerto Rican Parrot: More Information
You can find out more information about these beautiful birds and the effort to save them from extinction at the following links: