Scientists have discovered a rare species of parrot in Mexico with blue covert feathers, a unique green crown and a distinctive call. The parrot, referred to as the Blue-winged Amazon, occupies a similar area in the Yucatan Peninsula as the Yucatan Amazon and the White-fronted Amazon but it does not hybridize with them, said researchers from the University of Florida in the US. A very distinctive feature of this new species is its call, which is loud, sharp, short, repetitive and monotonous; one particular vocalization is more reminiscent of an Accipiter than of any known parrot, they said. The duration of syllables is much longer than in other Amazon parrot species. In flight, the call is a loud, short, sharp and repetitive yak-yak-yak.
While perched, the call is mellow and prolonged. The species lives in small flocks of less than 12 individuals. Pairs and their offspring have a tendency to remain together and are discernible in groups. Like all members of the genus Amazona, this parrot is a herbivore. Its diet consists of seeds, fruits, flowers and leaves obtained in the tree canopy. The analysis of mitochondrial DNA genes indicates that the blue-winged Amazon has emerged quite recently, or about 120,000 years ago, from within the A albifrons population. Miguel A Gomez Garza from the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon in Mexico had first come across the species in 2014. The study was published in the journal PeerJ.