Amazon Parrots - General

By Rick Axelson, DVM; Updated by Laurie Hess, DVM

General Information


The colorful Amazon parrot (Amazona sp.) is one of the most common of all the 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.

These birds 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 or specifically with males or females. This one-on-one bond occasionally leads to aggression towards others. Amazons are generally very affectionate and will often persistently solicit petting and head scratches.

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

Widely recognized for their extraordinary ability to mimic, some Amazons develop extensive vocabularies of words, songs, verses, whistles, sneezes, coughs, and electronic sounds such as telephones and microwave oven beeps. The 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, as well as 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 and family pets for people who have time to spend with these very social creatures.

Obtaining 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 may adapt more readily to new environments and situations than older, wild, colony- or parent-raised birds that may prove challenging to tame.

"New birds should be exposed early to different events to help promote a calm, well-adjusted pet."

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 old people, 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.

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, as needed. 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.



Green is the predominant body color with red, orange, yellow, white, and blue adorning the head, wings and tail differently among the various species.


Somewhat less colorful

Sexing:  No external sex differences

Weight:    Average 10-20 ounces (300-600 grams)

Size:  Average 10-20 inches (25-45 cm) in length

Life span: 15-35 years, on average (generally not greater than 65 years in captivity)

Diet:   Consult your veterinarian. Also see handout "Amazon Parrots - Feeding".

Breeding:  Sexual maturity at 3-6 years. Males and females housed together should be monitored carefully, as some males can become quite aggressive during breeding season.

Brood Size:   2-7 eggs hatch in 17-31 days; young leave the nest in 4-8 weeks. Females housed alone can lay infertile eggs throughout their lives after sexual maturity.

Cage:   Minimum 2 ft x 3 ft x 4 ft long (60 cm x 90 cm x 120 cm). Bar spacing should be narrow enough so that head and feet do not become caught between bars. The larger the cage space the better for the bird.

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