Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha

by Sally Blanchard

» About 15" in length and weight at 300 grams
» Endemic to the highlands or northern and central Mexico
» Extirpated from southwestern Arizona and southeastern New Mexico. Last sightings were in 1935.
» Rare and controlled in aviculture
» CITES I Endangered

In 1986, 88 birds were removed from aviaries in an ill-planned program to release them into their former range in Arizona. The birds were fitted with radio colors. The captive birds lacked predator skills and gradually all of the released birds became hawk food.

I have been lucky enough to see these birds both at the Desert Museum outside of Tucson and at a private aviary in Oklahoma. I saw about 25 birds of varying ages at the aviary and fell in love with the youngsters. They were delightful birds with the most soulful liquid brown eyes. I also discovered that Thick-bills can be very screechy and loud. 




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