Amazon Parrots - General

By Gregory Rich, DVM; Laurie Hess, DVM; Rick Axelson, DVM

General Information

The colorful Amazon parrot (Amazona sp.) is one of the most common pet parrots kept in captivity. They originate from Mexico, Central America, South America, and the adjacent islands of the West Indies. There are numerous types of Amazon parrots, all with different color patterns. Some commonly kept Amazon parrots include the double yellow-headed Amazon, yellow-naped Amazon, blue-fronted Amazon, green-cheeked Amazon, and orange-winged Amazon.

Amazons are stocky, medium-sized birds with strong beaks and short, rounded, blunted tails. Amazons can be very personable and interactive. They bond readily, often with one member of the family. This one-on-one bond occasionally may lead to aggression towards others. Amazons are generally very affectionate and often solicit petting and head scratches. Be careful when they are flashing their eyes; when they are over-excited, they are more prone to bite.

"Amazons are generally very affectionate and often solicit petting and head scratches."

Widely recognized for their extraordinary ability to mimic, many Amazon parrots develop extensive vocabularies of words, songs, verses, whistles, sneezes, coughs, and electronic sounds such as telephones and microwave oven beeps. Blue-fronted, yellow-naped, and double yellow-headed Amazons are best known for their ability to talk. Some species are prone to loud squawking, especially in the early morning and late afternoon.

They are very playful and enjoy climbing and chewing. Providing non-toxic, commercially available branches and other parrot-safe toys that promote chewing will afford many hours of entertainment and exercise for this inquisitive pet. These handsome, good-natured birds make excellent companions for people who have time to spend with these very social creatures.

Selecting an Amazon parrot

Amazon parrots may be purchased from pet stores or reputable breeders or adopted from numerous rescue facilities. Young birds may be easier to tame and train and adapt more readily to new environments and situations than the older, wild, colony, or parent-raised birds that may prove challenging to tame.

Hand-raised babies often make better pets since they have been completely socialized with humans. New birds should be exposed early to different events (young and older adults, males and females, other pets, car trips, visits to the veterinarian, etc.) to help promote a calm, well-adjusted pet. Lively, alert birds that are not easily frightened are more likely to be healthy. All new birds should be examined by a veterinarian familiar with birds.

"All new birds should be examined by a veterinarian familiar with birds."

Veterinary Care

Amazon parrots require regular, preventative veterinary health check-ups. Your veterinarian should perform a physical examination, grooming (nail or feather trimming, as necessary), and laboratory tests. During these semi-annual check-ups, health, nutritional, and behavior issues can be identified and addressed. Veterinary check-ups help prevent disease and will aid in the maintenance of a long-lasting, healthy relationship between you and your bird.

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