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We studied the breeding biology of the Panamanian subspecies of the Yellow-crowned Parrot, Amazona ochrocephala panamensis, during 1997-1999 in the province of Chiriquí, Panama, to provide basic information regarding the breeding behavior and reproductive success of these parrots in their natural habitat. We recorded parrot behaviors throughout the reproductive period, monitored nest success, and characterized occupied and non-occupied tree cavities. All breeding attempts involved a male-female pair. Clutch size ranged from 2 to 4 eggs, which were incubated only by the female, beginning when the first egg was laid. Incubation averaged 25 days and the eggs hatched asynchronously. During the incubation period, females remained inside the nest for long periods of time, though they often departed from the nest area during early mornings and late afternoons, presumably to forage; during this period, males were not observed entering the nest, though they often remained nearby. During the nestling period, males contributed significantly to feeding the offspring. Pairs nested in trees that were in good or fair condition, and did not favor cavities in any one tree species. As found in many other field studies of parrots, breeding success was low. Only 10% (1997-1998) and 14% (1998-1999) of the nests survived poaching and natural predation. Because nest poaching was the primary cause of breeding failure and poses a serious threat to population viability, we also present data on poaching techniques and the local trade of nestling parrots. Overall, the pool of breeding adults is likely made up of aging individuals that are not being replaced, setting the stage for a rapid population decline.

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Wilson Journal of Ornithology

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