Nature and Environment Education - SCHOOL PROGRAMS - LORA (PARROT)
Bonaire's Lora, the yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot (Amazona barbadensis) is an endangered species found only here on our island and a few other places. The Lora used to live on Aruba but because of persecution is now extinct from there. The Lora is primarily green, but when one stretches its wings, you can see the beautiful feathers there in green, red, blue, and yellow.
Group of Loras live in the woods and, at the north side of our island, in the rock. Washington Slagbaai National Park is the most important area for the Loras.
Loras fly in pairs or in large groups, seeking food just after sunrise and before sunset. Loras eat the fruits of the Kadushi, Shimaruku, Palu di Boneiru and the Watapana plants. They also love the fruits of Mango and Papaya trees, one of the reasons why some gardeners don’t like Loras. Living on Bonaire is not always easy for these birds -- often there is not enough food and water. In 1978 about 200 Loras starved to death.
Loras gather in their resting areas just before the sun goes down, and stay put for the evening. Although they can squawk/scream really loudly, they’re usually quiet during the day, perched on a tree branch in the shadows.
Loras nest between February and September. Their nests are made in holes in trees, in rocks and some times in kadushi (cactus) . They lay two to four eggs. As the female sits on the eggs, the male keeps watch and brings food for the family. After 24 days the chicks hatch, and the female joins her mate in feeding them. The chicks begin to fly after four weeks, and they fly with their parents for several weeks after that.
The chance for the chicks to survive to nest themselves is, unfortunately, low. Rats, cats and other birds eat the eggs, but the biggest threat to Bonairean Loras is human beings. They take the chicks out of their nests to sell; too many of our Loras are illegally sold in other parts of the world such as Curaçao, Aruba, Europe, and the U.S. As of this writing there are more Loras in captivity on Bonaire than in the wild.
In Aruba, all the Loras were captured, shot, and poisoned in 1947. As a result of that, Loras have been protected in the Netherlands Antilles since 1952. It is not legal to capture, kill, sell, or keep these birds, their nests, or their eggs. The trafficking of Loras between countries is prohibited by an international agreement (CITES). Unfortunately, the laws are not yet working perfectly.
How can you help?
The Bonairean Lora
Yellow-shouldered parrot (lora) Population Numbers:
Due to the previous lack of expertise and resources, STINAPA Bonaire together with DROB and the foundation Salba nos Lora, has been carrying out roost counts on the island since the 80’s. These counts were designed mainly with the purpose of education and outreach for the general public, but the results cannot be used for island population estimates due to the lack of scientific rigor in the methodology. This lack of scientific rigor also explains the large difference in numbers obtained with this methodology throughout the years (from 216 birds in the year 1984 to 800 in the year 2010) as well as the much lower number of birds when compared to the new number (2700), which is the result of scientifically sound methodology and data analysis.
Results of Yearly Roost Counts organized by STINAPA Bonaire, DROB, and Salba Nos Lora: