US Fish & Wildlife Service logo
Southeast Region US Fish & Wildlife Service header


Puerto Rican ParrotGroundbreaking for New Puerto Rican Parrot Aviary


February 18, 2005

Lilibeth Serrano, Office (787) 851-7297 ext. 239,
Cell (787) 505-4397


The endangered Puerto Rican Parrot will soon have a new facility to aid in its recovery. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners, will break ground and begin construction of a new aviary.

About one acre at the Caribbean National Forest (commonly known as El Yunque) will be used to relocate operations from an old military installation to a state-of-the-art facility at a cost of roughly $2.5 million. The facility will have a nursery, hospital, hurricane room, kitchen and outdoor cages. Congress appropriated $1.7 million to build the aviary. Additional funds will come from private donations and other partners. As part of their continued partnership with the Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Parrot International and other organizations are working to raise the necessary funds.

The Service is working closely with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and the U.S. Forest Service to bolster the conservation and recovery of Puerto Rico ’s only native parrot species.

Bright green feathers, with a red forehead, white rings around its eyes and wings that flash blue-turquoise in flight, the Puerto Rican Parrot is the only native parrot in the United States . It is the most endangered parrot and one of the ten most endangered birds in the world. Currently, there are less than 200 parrots alive.

A captive breeding program set up more than three decades ago has helped lift the Puerto Rican parrot population from a low point in 1975, when only 13 wild birds were recorded. Thirty five parrots raised in captivity have been released into the wild.

Today, 158 captive parrots live in one of two aviaries, one managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service in El Yunque and the other managed by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources is located in Rio Abajo, Utuado Puerto Rico.

The Service aviary supports the only existing wild population of parrots through fostering, emergency care of sick and injured wild nestlings, and boosting the wild population through captive releases. However the management needs of the species have outgrown the management options available at the present location. Frequent landslides isolate the facilities, power failures are frequent, space is limited, and the environment is extremely humid affecting both the parrots and our dedicated staff.

The Forest Service prepared an Environmental Assessment and multiple surveys of the construction site. No threatened or endangered plant species were found in the area. The Forest Service did find two endemic tree species of special concern known as Tortugo prieto (Ravenia urbanii) and the Puerto Rican rain tree. These trees were relocated to the Forest Service Nursery or other nearby locations.

The site is potential habitat for endangered or threatened animals: the Puerto Rican Boa (Epicrates inornatus), the Puerto Rican Sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter venator), Puerto Rican Brad-winged hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) and Chupacallos tree (plendedron macranthum). During construction contractors will ensure that if any of these species or new species are discovered the project will be held up for the safe removal of the species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System that encompasses 544 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices, and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores national significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

More information and photos go to


For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page at or

NOTE: You can view our releases or subscribe to receive them -- via e-mail -- at the Service's Southeast Regional home page at Our national home page is at:, GA 30345
Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286

Graphic for Clickable Items Click for Privacy Statement Click here for Freedom of Information Act Statement Click here for Disclaimer Statement Click here to Contact the Southeast Region Click here for Sitemap Click here for the Search Engine for US Fish and Wildlife Service Click here for the Regions in the US Fish and Wildlife Service