Of the 372 species of parrots found worldwide, about 28 are Amazon parrots. The parrots belonging to this genus, Amazona, are native to the New World, ranging from South America to Mexico and the Caribbean. Considered to be the best mimics of human voices, parrots of this genus are medium-sized birds that are quite colorful, and are distinguished by the bright splashes of color on their heads, napes, necks, wings, and tail feathers.
Along with their typical green color, each species has its own striking coloration, ranging from reds, yellows, blues, and even lilacs. Their life span is generally 40-80 years, though this varies considerably according to species. Some common Amazon parrots, which are generally kept as pets include the following:
|Species Name||Common Name|
|Amazona aestiva||Blue-fronted amazon|
|A. finschi||Lilac-crowned amazon|
|A. autumnalis||Red-lored amazon|
|A. festiva||Festive amazon|
|A. xanthops||Yellow-faced amazon|
|A. barbadensis||Yellow-shouldered amazon|
|A. amazonica||Orange-winged amazon|
|A. farinosa||Mealy amazon|
|A. oratrix||Double Yellow-headed amazon|
|A. albifrons||Spectacled amazon|
Amazon Parrots as Pets
The loving, social, and loyal nature of this bird makes it an amazing pet for any novice or experienced parrot owner. They are easy to train and intelligent, requiring a devoted owner who is willing to provide enough attention and care. The bird has an excellent talking ability, hence, if it has an owner who can devote much time talking and interacting with the bird, it can become a good mimic. However, like any other pet, it also has some behavioral problems which, if not addressed properly, can make the bird very aggressive.
Behavior: Amazon parrots are active and playful birds, but require more care and attention than other domesticated animals. They are known for their playfulness and dexterity with their feet. It is an independent bird that likes doing many stimulating activities. Hence, it is better to provide it with some toys for its exercise and amusement. Excessive screaming and chewing are the two common features seen, especially at certain stages in its life. Like other parrots, the bird also considers its beak as a way to ‘discipline us’, and can sometimes be very naughty. Hence, it is important to train or guide the bird before it develops an undesirable behavior.
Amazon parrots also go through a hormonal aggression phase that appears between the age of 5 to 12 years. During this time, the bird can be very aggressive, and needs to be handled with lots of patience. However, once it passes this phase, it settles down with little or no aggression at all. The bird reaches its sexual maturity at the age of 4 or 5. If left alone for a very long time, it might start showing signs of psychological distress. The best way to deal with it is to find the bird a mate, especially if you are unable to spend much time with it.
Care: These birds easily adapt to their cage and the surrounding environment. It is an active bird, and tends to put on weight if it does not get to exercise. Hence, the cage should have sufficient space for play and exercise. The bird usually develops a musky odor which can be bothersome to some people, hence, it should be showered regularly for personal hygiene and to keep the smell from getting very strong. The bird needs to sleep for at least 10 hours daily, or else it can become very grouchy and aggressive.
Diet: The available bird food usually includes formulated diets or seed-only diets. Both have their own pros and cons. Formulated diets, which are a good source of a variety of nutrients, are deficient in phytonutrients found in vegetables, fruits, grains, and seeds. Likewise, seed-only diets provide additional vitamin and calcium supplements, but do not offer overall enrichment.
Some veterinarians recommend a combination of both these diets along with some additional nutritional supplements, such as sprouted seeds, fresh fruits (such as apples, pears, plums, cherries, grapes, oranges, bananas, mangoes, papayas, and even berries such as strawberries and blueberries) and vegetables (such as carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, many garden vegetables, and even dandelions and chickweed). Avoid giving avocado, as it can be toxic to the bird. Give the bird clean water to drink.
Amazon parrots can be challenging pets. They like to be in the company of their owner, and if left unattended, they can become aggressive. However, due to their playful nature and amazing vocal abilities, these birds are fun to be with. Hence, if you are planning to buy one, do enough research about the bird’s behavior and care in order to build a strong bond with it.