Amazon Parrots

What should you expect from your Amazon parrot?

Amazon parrots are best known for their excellent ability to mimic. Double Yellow-headed, Yellow-naped and Blue-fronted Amazons seem to have the best potential for talking, laughing, coughing or even imitating a baby's cry- perhaps males more than females. Other species may whistle or scream. All Amazons tend to form a bond with a specific individual, which may turn into aggression toward other family members, especially during the breeding season. Although Mealy and Orange-winged Amazons are not as lively and talkative as other species, they are generally regarded as more gentle and affectionate. Hand raised Blue-fronted Amazons generally make good companions.

What do Amazons do all day?

Amazons are playful and easily amused with simple toys. Because they love to chew, toys must be free of toxic metals, hooks, sharp objects or small, easily consumed components. Providing chew toys or fresh cut branches from nontoxic, pesticide-free trees may prevent some Amazons from destroying their perches as quickly. Check with your veterinarian for recommendations on locally available safe trees. Amazons tend to be the most vocal in the early morning and late afternoon. Be aware that Amazons are very curious and will investigate anything new in their environment.

Are Amazons tame?

Young, hand-raised Amazons adapt readily to new surroundings and handling procedures. They should be exposed early in life to novel situations (car travel, veterinarian visits, multiple visitors in the household, and other household pets) so that they are well adjusted to these events. Discipline, leadership, patience, hooding (covering the head), a sense of ritual and the offering of rewards are necessary to modify the behavior of Amazons. Even then, they are not completely trustworthy and may bite for no apparent reason, especially after they reach sexual maturity.

Why should the wings be clipped?

Amazons that are allowed unrestricted access in the home can encounter numerous physical dangers or toxins (as well as significant wreak destruction); therefore, wing clipping is recommended. The goal of clipping the wings is NOT to make the bird incapable of flight, but to prevent it from developing rapid and sustained flight and to prevent escape. An Amazon will require additional trimming eight to twelve weeks after the start of a molt.

How can you keep your Amazon parrot healthy, happy and safe?

  • Give lots of attention and leadership training.
  • Feed a fresh, high quality, toxin-free, pelleted diet with daily supplementation of chopped vegetables and fruit.
  • Grit is probably not necessary with modern captive diets.
  • Provide clean, fresh, uncontaminated water.
  • Remove and replace food and water containers twice daily to maximize activity in a healthy bird.
  • Provide an occasional opportunity for bath, shower, or misting (at least weekly).
  • Avoid spraying house with insecticides.

Housing for your Amazon should:
  • Be as large as possible (minimum 2' x 3' x 2').
  • Be clean, secure, safe, and easy to service.
  • Be constructed of durable, nontoxic material.
  • Contain variable-sized perches made of clean, nontoxic, pesticide-free tree branches.
  • Have food and water containers placed at opposite ends of the enclosure.
  • Avoid having perches located directly over food containers.
  • Offer occasional protected outdoor exposure to fresh air, sunlight, and exercise.

Things you must keep away from your Amazon parrot:
  • Ceiling fans
  • Hot cooking oil
  • Teflon coated items (overheated)
  • Leg chains
  • Sandpaper-covered perches
  • Tobacco and cigarette smoke
  • Chocolate, avocado, salt, alcohol
  • Toxic houseplants
  • Pesticides
  • Toxic fumes
  • Easily dismantled toys
  • Dogs, cats, and young children
  • Cedar, redwood, and pressure treated wood shavings
  • Sources of lead or zinc
  • Plug in air fresheners

For more information visit: Association of Avian Veterinarians, Good Bird, Inc.