Treatment as conspecific with A. auropalliata and A. ochrocephala has been common in recent decades (e.g. in HBW), but becoming increasingly unpopular with (among others) trade-control agencies; separation into three species plausible, but clear division between taxa, especially at species level, highly problematic along Caribbean coast of Middle America between E Guatemala and N Nicaragua#R. Genetic studies have shown that the A. ochrocephala complex can be divided into three main lineages, but seems to be paraphyletic with regard to A. aestiva. One recent phylogenetic study#R found that South American lineage could be divided into two well-supported closely related clades, but with A. aestiva distributed in both; differentiation of the South American populations does not correspond to plumage differences used to distinguish A. aestiva from A. ochrocephala, or to plumage differences used to distinguish among South American races of latter#R. Present species currently distinguished from other taxa in the ochrocephala complex by yellow of head extending around eye, usually forming a hood (3); bill and nares pale yellowish (3); shoulder extensively red with irregular yellow feathering (2). However, populations at SE extreme of range, in extreme E Guatemala (proposed “guatemalensis”, an undescribed dimorphic form of hondurensis) and adjacent NW Honduras (hondurensis), have reduced yellow on head (not extending around eye in latter) and presence of yellow nape patch, suggesting a hybrid transition to auropalliata (potentially an additional score of 2); these retained in present species on account of pale bill and nares, and yellow in red shoulders, but hondurensis evidently provides a link to darker-billed subspecies A. auropalliata caribaea, which inhabits islands off N Honduras (see below). Further detailed study of subspecies desirable. Populations of E Mexico (Tamaulipas to Tabasco) sometimes awarded race magna#R, here considered too poorly differentiated from oratrix to warrant recognition. Four subspecies currently recognized.
Feral populations (oratrix) in S USA (California, Florida) and Puerto Rico.
Food and feeding
Status and conservation
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