The Parrots of Dominica
Isn't it a beaut? This is the national bird of Dominica. Its scientific name is Imperial Amazon. It is found only in Dominica and local name is Sisserou, the Carib word for parrot.
The Sisserou parrots on Dominica all but disappeared after the passage of Hurricane David in 1979. Scientists believed that only about 50 of them remained on the island after the destructive storm. As such Dominican Forestry and Wildlife officials had to wait until 2000 to get a glimpse of the huge parrot in its stumping ground, the Morne Diablotin National Park.
The Sisserou parrot resides mainly in the thick rain forest reserve situated at the foot of Dominica's highest peak [4,747 ft, Morne Diablotin]. The parrot shares the lower elevation of its home with the other equally popular Jacko Parrot. The Jacko Parrot or the Amazona Arausiaca is smaller than the Sisserou and is also endemic to Dominica.
Dominica is lucky in that these two parrots of the Amazon species have survived to this day. Parrots almost identical to the Sisserou, on Martinique and Guadeloupe, were made extinct in the 1800s. The size of the Sisserou prevents it from flying long distances. It is said that fly like a duck. The Parrots survival therefore requires that their natural habitat, the rain forest of tall trees, is maintained. [Shamefully this is something Dominican leadership seem to ignore; considering that is, the developmental activities they promote.]
The Jacko Parrot derives its name from the Jacko Flats, the area where it was first observed. Jacko Flats is an old maroon camp named after the famous runaway African slave and camp leader Jacko; who escaped into the rain forest soon after his arrival from Africa in the 1760s. Jacko, the aging rebel maroon, was killed some forty years later at Jacko Flats. So two beautiful and resilient parrots get the honour of bearing names associated with powerful and courageous people.