Kenai and Azure, Blue Fronted Amazons.
Photo furnished by Joanie Doss.

Amazon FAQ
By
Joanie Doss
amazons@ccountry.net

Among the first animals Christopher Columbus came across in the New World were Amazon parrots. Columbus brought back Cuban parrots to Europe from his first voyage to the New World. Dr. Dari Russ published several books in the 1870's and 1880 's about popular birds as house pets. He gave the name "Amazon Parrot" to the birds known as "green parrots" or "short-winged parrots."

Traders and sailors called them "Kriken". This comes from the French word "criquer", which means to screech. Although Amazons became pets, Indians hunted a far greater number for food. They served these birds with broth and rice. Those that survived capture and the long sea voyage, went to trainers in European port cities. These trainers were generally innkeepers in sailor bars, barbers or former sailors. The birds picked up repulsive ands such as spitting, snoring, hacking coughs and a good vocabulary of swear words. The new owners found that these sounds and words were almost impossible to remove from the birds' repertoire.

There are approximately 27 species of Amazons depending on how you classify them. Species have subspecies as well. Amazons are one of the largest groups of parrots and range from South American to Northern Mexico. Nine species of Amazons are from the islands in the Caribbean.

In 1991, the AmaZone reported a recommendation by the Committee on Classification and Nomenclature of the American Ornithologists' Union. This recommendation was a reclassification of the ochrocephala group. The Yellow-naped Amazon is now its own species, Amazona auropalliata. The group Amazona ochrocephela will now identify Yellow-crowned Amazons only. A third group is the Amazona Oratrix or Yellow-headed group. Dick Ivy of the AmaZone suggest the following classification of the subspecies:

In the wild, Amazons are most active from dawn to about 10:00 a.m. They become active again from about 4:00 p.m. until dusk. In captivity it is during these times that some become quite noisy. When alarmed by an intruder, they become very vocal and remain so after all signs of the intruder have vanished. The amount of noise varies with different species and individuals. These times during the day are perfect for speech training as it is the bird's natural vocalization time.

The Amazon is a stocky-built bird with a square tail. Those commonly kept for pets are mostly green with light bone or dark gray beaks. They range in size from 10 to 16 inches. (The rare Imperial Amazon is 18 inches but seldom kept as a pet.) Amazons have green body feathers, varying from dark bluish green to a yellow green. Colored head feathers of red, blue, yellow, lavender and white distinguish one species from another. Wing and tail coloration as well as beak and foot coloration help in identification. When determining what type of Amazon you have, check the head coloration, then beak and foot color. If the photo you are using for a guide shows the wing and tail coloration, check them as well. Some species such as Blue Fronted Amazons, have a variation in the amount of color. You may not get an exact match with a photo in a book.

Amazons seem plain at first glance, but that quickly changes when they flare into display. In full display, they fan out their tails revealing red and yellow colors. The Amazon raises his head feathers, dilates his eyes and walks stiff legged. He holds his wings away from his body, drops them slightly, and fans the lower wing feathers revealing dazzling bright feathers. Amazons also fan their nape feathers similar to Hawkhead parrots. Although the feathers are not as long, they still make a beautiful frame for their faces. It is easy to see how they would intimidate another male or impress a female. Many Amazon species have eyelashes. If you look closely, you can see the black lashes on a Blue Front.



SPECIES OF AMAZONS COMMONLY KEPT AS PETS

SPECIES CHOSEN
The species listed are the ones most commonly kept as pets. There are other species of Amazons that are pets but the ones listed are generally readily available.

BREEDING SEASON
The breeding season is in the wild, not in buildings with controlled, heat, humidity and lights.

PRICING
There is a wide range in pricing. I used the lowest price given me and the highest, added all price quotes and then averaged them. Birds sell for different prices depending on what part of the United States they are sold. Prices vary with the quality of the bird. Unweaned babies sell for less than those that are weaned. Unless you are a very experienced hand-feeder, you should buy a baby already weaned. You do not have to be the person to hand feed it to have the bird bond to you. A proven pair of breeders will be more expensive than a pair that has just been put together. Birds tested for diseases, microchipped, sexed or have a physical exam by a veterinary will cost more that those that do not. Breeders and stores that stand behind their birds will cost more than those bought by a person that drops them off at your door and never sees you again. Bargain birds may be stolen, smuggled, sick, or have emotional and personality problems. A cheap bird does not necessarily mean a good buy nor does a high price tag guarantee a perfect bird. Be an informed buyer and know what you are buying.



Amazona albifrons WHITE-FRONTED AMAZON
This is one of the most abundant of the Amazons. They are one of the smallest types of Amazons. In large flocks, they tend to be noisy. This is an Amazon that can be sexed visually. The male alula and primary coverts are red and he has more red to the rear of the eyes. The female has no red in the wings and her iris is red-brown. Some of these small guys are fearless. Watch them so they will not get hurt. Talking is not one of their strong points, but individuals do develop respectable vocabularies.

Range:
Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua
Size:
10 inches
Head:
Forehead and crown are white, the occiput dull blue edged with black, and the eye area red.
Beak:
Light yellow
Feet:
Light gray, brown-gray
Breeding Season:
March - June
Cost:
Low price: $250
High price: $600
Average price: $420


Amazona viridigenalis MEXICAN REDHEAD or GREEN-CHEEKED
Natives handfed and tamed many of these birds before exporting them from Mexico. This made them a popular export because people could easily handle them. In the wild, this species shares part of its range with the Ornate Hawk-Eagle that specializes in hunting parrots. Many will not tolerate other Amazon species and will scream to stake their territory. Talking ability in this type varies considerably. They generally have a good temperament.

Range:
Northeastern Mexico
Size:
12 - 13 inches
Head:
Forehead, crown, and lores have red feathers. There is a violet blue band from above their eyes to their neck. The blue band is absent in very young birds.
Beak:
Yellowish-horn
Feet:
Pale gray-green - gray-brown
Breeding Season:
March through April
Cost:
Low price: $400
High price: $900
Average price: $550


Amazona finschi LILAC-CROWNED AMAZON
These are trusting birds that learn to imitate sounds. The quality of their voice isn't considered as good as some of the other Amazons. Some are good talkers and some do not speak at all. They are gentle birds with a quiet demeanor. They seem to like deciduous forests. In the wild, they fly to the tree tops of large oaks.

Range:
Northwestern Mexico
Size:
12 - 13 inches
Head:
The lores, crown and forehead are red-brown. The occiput is violet. Violet also continues towards the side of the nape.
Beak:
Light gray - horn color
Feet:
Green-gray - blue-gray
Breeding Season:
February - May
Cost:
Low price: $275
High price: $1,000
Average price: $560


Amazona autumnalis RED-LORED
These birds prefer humid tropical forests. They have been spotted with macaws in the wild. They are shy, gentle birds. In the wild they will hide behind foliage until an intruder leaves before flying. Some people consider their facial markings to be one of the prettiest of the Amazons. They are affectionate and loyal pets. Some have reported that their birds are good talkers.

Range:
Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and the Bay Islands
Size:
12 - 13 inches
Head:
The crown, occiput, and nape are a lilac-blue, the lores red, and the upper part of the cheeks yellow.
Beak:
Tip of the lower mandible gray horn. The upper mandible is light horn.
Feet:
Light gray to dark gray
Breeding Season:
February - June.
Cost:
Low price: $450
High price: $750
Average price: $565


Amazona aestiva BLUE FRONTED AMAZON
The amount of blue or yellow varies with the individual bird and subspecies. In the wild, they feed from the upper canopy and seldom explore the floor of the forest. They are intolerant of other birds during the breeding season. This is a very popular bird among bird fanciers. There were 97,000 Blue Fronts legally imported into the United States during a six year period. They are intelligent, beautiful, and most are excellent talkers. This bird has been a favorite pet bird in Europe for over a century. They seldom have a stand-off attitude and become deeply involved with humans. These birds are hardy and have long life spans. The oldest known was 117 years.

Range:
Brazil, Paraguay
Size:
14 - 15 inches
Head:
There is a wide variation in color combinations. Some birds have no blue. Others have turquoise blue on their foreheads or even the whole front of the bird (face, neck and chest). Most display yellow somewhere on their head or face. Some have blue, a little white and then yellow as head markings.
Beak:
Dark gray
Feet:
Gray
Breeding Season:
October - March
Cost:
Low price: $400
High price: $1,000
Average price: $655


Amazona ochrocephala ochrocephala YELLOW-FRONTED or YELLOW CROWNED
They are very good talkers. In the wild they sometimes use termite nests as a nesting place. These birds are not as popular as the Double Yellow-Head Amazon, but are good companions and talkers. Many people believe they have the talking ability of the Napes and Yellow Heads without the nippy personality. These are intelligent birds that make good companions.

Range:
Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam
Size:
14 - 15 inches
Head:
Yellow on forehead, much less yellow than the Double Yellow-head. The cheeks and ear coverts are green.
Beak:
Light bone
Feet:
Light gray
Breeding Season:
January - May.
Cost:
Low price: $450
High price: $1,300
Average price: $630


Amazona ochrocephala panamensis PANAMA AMAZON
Most Panamas have a good temperament. They are famous for their talking ability. These birds are sometimes confused with Yellow Crowned Amazons. The Yellow-Crowns are larger. Panamas are smaller and are a darker shade of green. These birds are harder to find than some of the others listed, but are well worth the time and effort searching for them.

Range:
Northwest Colombia, Western Panama
Size:
12 - 13 inches
Head:
Yellow forehead, blue wash on the crown
Beak:
Grayish horn with dark tip
Feet:
Horn color, almost white
Breeding Season:
February - March
Cost:
Low price: $500
High price: $1,000
Average price: $820


Amazona ochrocephala auropalliata YELLOW-NAPED AMAZON
This is one of the most symmetrically shaped of all the Amazons. These birds are known for their intelligence and talking ability. Napes have very human voices. Their voices are low without being gruff and they use inflection rather than speak in a monotone. This group of birds is known for their singing ability. Most have a good sense of pitch. The males can be more difficult to handle as they reach sexual maturity so early training is necessary. These birds have a tendency to challenge other males that are similar in coloration. They seem to enjoy showing off and display frequently. They are clever, have great personalities, and make amusing pets.

Range:
Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua
Size:
12-15 inches
Head:
Green with a few yellow feathers on the forehead. Some do not have any yellow feathers; others get them as they mature. Yellow feathers are also at the back of the neck (nape). This increases with age. Some birds develop more yellow than others.
Beak:
Dark gray with the base of the upper mandible somewhat lighter
Feet:
Light gray
Breeding Season:
March - May
Cost:
Low price: $500
High price: $1,500
Average price: $850


Amazona ochrocephala oratrix DOUBLE YELLOW-HEAD AMAZON
The Double Yellow Head is probably the best known of all the Amazons. Many people consider them one of the most beautiful of all Amazons. Double Yellow-heads may challenge other males of similar coloration. There are reports that some of these birds feigned difficulty in breathing and make loud breathing sounds when stressed or frightened similar to the Pionus. These are highly intelligent and imaginative birds that have remained a staple in the pet bird trade. They are considered very good talkers and singers. Although some become nippy, their beauty and intelligence outweighs their indiscretions.

Range:
Mexico
Size:
14 - 16 inches
Head:
Head and throat yellow. Yellow increases with age.
Beak:
Light bone, Yellowish white
Feet:
Light gray, light brown
Breeding Season:
March - May
Cost:
Low price: $450
High price: $1,400
Average price: $840


Amazona amazonica ORANGE-WINGED AMAZON
In the wild they form communal flocks with Blue Fronts and Mealy Amazons. These birds are often confused with Blue Fronts. Orange Wings have a more even temperament than Blue Fronts. Three thousand Orange-Wings were imported into the Los Angeles area alone in 1977. They were so common in Venezuela they were considered pests. Orange-Winged Amazons are one of the smaller Amazons. They make good pets although known for their screaming. Some are good talkers, but many are more adept at mimicking sounds. They are the only Amazon with orange feathers in their wings, thus the name Orange-Winged Amazon. They learn quickly and adapt well to most situations.

Range:
Columbia, Venezuela, Guyana, Brazil, Panama
Size:
12 - 13 inches (Some subspecies as small as 10 inches)
Head:
The crown is yellow with lores and above the eye region a violet-blue. The Blue Front has a brighter more vibrant blue than the Orange Winged Amazon. Like the Blue Front, Orange-Winged Amazon individuals have a wide variety of where the blue appears. The color flight feathers in the Orange-Wing's wing are orange while Blue Fronts are red.
Beak:
Horn with a gray tip
Feet:
Pale gray - horn brown
Breeding Season:
February to June
Cost:
Low price: $250
High price: $800
Average price: $475


Amazona farinosa MEALY AMAZON
These birds have a powdery look. They were called Mealy as they appeared to have rolled in flour. The Mealy Amazon has a very docile temperament. They generally get along well with other birds. They will go out of their way to avoid a fight. These are the gentle giants of the Amazon world. Some of these birds are very quiet while others have very loud voices. A Mealy's voice carries over a distance of a mile. Their talking ability varies with the individual. Mealies enjoy repeating a phrase over and over and each time using a different inflection. Pairs can be demonstrative sexually, copulating many times a day. A disturbance may provoke the pair into copulation and it is not a sign of impending nesting.

Range:
Southern Mexico, Venezuela, Guyana, Surinam
Size:
16 - 17 inches
Head:
A yellow spot variably defined. Sometimes this area has red feathers.
Beak:
Yellow horn at base and dark gray at the tip
Feet:
Pale gray - dark gray
Breeding Season:
December - June
Cost:
Low price: $500
High price: $950
Average price: $730



PERSONALITY
Amazons are popular pets because of their beauty, outgoing, clownish personality, their intelligence and their ability to talk. Amazons are very intelligent birds. This is their downfall as many quickly outsmart their owners. They have fantastic memories and will remember incidents and training for months and even years. These birds are also very stubborn. Once they have decided to do something, it will be very difficult to get them to stop. Amazons would be hard to test for intelligence as they could think of a thousand ways to get out of being tested.

The Amazon makes a great performing bird as they thrive on showing off and enjoy excitement. They are easily motivated to perform and many thrive on being before an audience. They sometimes respond to excitement by becoming excessively excited themselves and hard to handle. Most Amazons are outgoing, confident birds. Some species of birds tend to keep their problems to themselves and pick their feathers when upset. An Amazon is very open. When upset, he quickly lets you know by screaming or biting.

Amazons are seldom stand-offish and become very involved with humans. They tend to become too attached to their owners and will guard them jealously. These are not birds for young children. Never allow a young child and an Amazon together without supervision. These are not birds for people that quickly lose their tempers either. They require setting limits at a very early age. A pair of Amazons set up for breeding can be dangerous. Amazons guard each other, their young and their territory with an aggressiveness that can put fear in the bravest human. Anything that triggers an Amazon's breeding instinct will also trigger his aggression. Owners of pet males should be careful when handling them during the breeding season. Breeding pairs should have flights and cages designed so that you do not have to invade their cage to feed and water them.


TALKING
Amazons are popular because of their speaking ability. Some types of Amazons have gruff, low voices, but many of these birds have very human-like voices. Double Yellows, Napes and Blue Fronts are known for their human sounding voices. They use inflection and seldom talk in a monotone. Some have the uncanny ability to use their language correctly without any formal speech training. Double Yellow Heads, Yellow Napes, and Blue Fronts are the three most popular speaking Amazons. It would be hard to say which of the Amazons is the best speaker. Individual birds in other groups may talk equally as well as the top three. As much as you might want a talking bird, seriously consider if a talking bird is for you. Some of these birds will talk human for many hours a day. When you are in a small room trying to watch TV or talking on the phone or to another person, you may not appreciate the distraction of talking. Amazons love music. They will often sing complete songs with all the words on perfect pitch. They enjoy opera, country western, and Lawrence Whelk type music. Hard rock may overexcite them and even cause them to become screamers. They also enjoy people singing to them . . . even if the person has a bad singing voice.

Amazons begin talking at an early age. Their greatest learning time is from three months to a little over two years. At this time of their life, some birds' ability to pick up new phrases and words is amazing. They seem to slow down in learning new phrases and words after that period. They still learn new words, only not as quickly. Unless encouraged to continue to learn words, they will almost stop by the time they reach sexual maturity. If the Amazon is to develop into an outstanding talker, it is very important that he receives attention and love between birth and two years. The person that buys a young Amazon and then ignores him, has seriously damaged his ability to talk.


CAGES
The cage should be square or rectangular. Round cages are not as suitable as they can cause the bird to develop a nervous turning and twisting of the head. The bars should be thick enough that the parrot cannot bite through them. Cage doors should allow the bird to come in and out of the cage with ease. These birds quickly learn how to open their cages so a good lock may be necessary. Amazons by nature enjoy climbing more than flying. If there are no horizontal bars on the cage, be certain to supply a playground where they can get the climbing exercise they need. Place the Amazon cage below eye level. Sexually mature male Amazons tend to be very aggressive during the breeding season. You will want to keep them from becoming dominant. Position plays a big part in domination.

An average size Amazon should have a minimum cage of 21"x 21"x27". The bird should extend his wings without touching the sides of his cage. He should bring them high enough above his head so that he does not touch the top with his wing tips. Large Amazons, such as Mealies, may require a larger cage and small Amazons such as White Fronted Amazons can be a little smaller. This is adequate for the Amazon that spends time playing outside his cage. If the bird seldom leaves his cage it should be the largest cage you can afford that has the bars spaced 7/8" to 1" apart. The bird should not be able to stick his head through the bars. Since the bird will be climbing on the bars, it is imperative that the paint or finish is lead free and non toxic.


DIET
Amazons tend to become obese as they age. It is essential that they learn to eat healthy, low fat food early in life. Amazons tend to have Vitamin A deficiencies. Since one can easily overdose with Vitamin A additives, it is important that you include Vitamin A naturally in their diet. Some foods containing Vitamin A are leafy dark green vegetables and yellow vegetables such as carrots, corn, and squash. In the wild they eat nuts, fruits, berries, pods, seeds, buds and blossoms. The average owner of a pet Amazon should give him pellets, vegetables, fruits, and even a small amount of seed (minus safflower and sunflower seeds) with an occasional nut as a treat. You can share your low fat, low salt people food with your Amazon as well. Avoid foods with preservatives, food colorings or any other additives. Do not give avocado, chocolate or alcohol.

Food is very important to an Amazon. Most Amazons switch to a healthy diet easily. When you are late with their food, some Amazons will charge and even bite you for not feeding them sooner. Their love of food makes a good reward in training. Amazons will do almost anything for treats.


GROOMING
Many species of Amazons are from the rain forest and enjoy a shower or a good misting. They spread their wings and duck and bow to get the water all over their bodies. Increasing their showers can bring a hormone rise so be careful as the bird may be nippy the next day. If you do not shower or mist them, some Amazons will climb into their water dish and completely drench themselves and the surrounding area.

Keep both wings clipped to prevent the bird from hurting himself by crashing into a wall or window. Clipping also helps to reduce aggressiveness. Birds vary as individuals, therefore, for the bird's first clipping do not cut too many feathers. He should coast downward and break his fall, but not fly upwards. Clipping the wing feathers too far may cause the bird to split his breast or beak when he falls. In most Amazons, cutting all primary wing feathers from the tip of the wing to the first brightly colored feather works. If you have only a few birds, the money you spend to have a knowledgeable groomer or vet trim the wings will be well worthwhile. Poorly clipped wings encourages feather plucking and chewing. A bad clip job can also result in the Amazon falling and hurting himself. As a rule, most species of Amazons prefer climbing to flying. That does not mean they will not fly. When frightened or excited, it only takes a matter of seconds for these birds to become air borne.

Have the bird's nails checked when clipping the wings. Trim overgrown nails. Very overgrown nails take several times of removing a little bit at a time or several trips to a groomer. Do not cut the nails back too far or they will cause bleeding and prevent the bird from perching. The Amazon may need a few days to adjust to his shorter nails. One or two nails may bleed during the clipping, but the groomer should cut less from the others at the first sign of bleeding. Bleeding should stop within minutes. A nail that bleeds for a long time may be an indication that there is a physical problem. A trip to the vet for a complete physical is in order. Some symptoms of liver problems begin with bleeding that is hard to stop. Liver problems seem to crop up with Amazons when they are about 10 years old. Keeping nails trimmed also helps in keeping down aggression.


PET QUALITY
Never allow unsupervised Amazons alone with children. The sexually mature males tend to be testy during the breeding season. Most females remain even tempered. There are more males available than females. Pet females are seldom offered for sale so it can be hard finding breeding stock if the females are grabbed up as pets. Males are often sold when they become sexually mature and bite a member of the family. Males make good pets but during a brief time in their lives, they become hard to handle during the breeding season. As they age, they do mellow if you set limits when they are young. The males are bold birds that enjoy showing off their vocal skills. The males are very showy and display more often than the females. My males allow themselves to be hugged, held on their backs and even dressed in clothing. You just have to learn when this can and cannot be done.

Amazons are mischievous rascals. Never buy an Amazon on impulse as they have strong personalities. I believe their high intelligence, speaking ability, adaptability, hardiness and desire of human companionship makes them one of the best groups of parrots for pets when handled correctly.


Question 1
WHY DOESN'T MY AMAZON LOVE ME ANYMORE? HE NEVER BIT ME BEFORE AND NOW I CAN'T EVEN TOUCH HIM!
A fault of the Amazon parrot is that he loves his people too much. His biting does not mean he does not love you anymore. He loves you so much he has chosen you for his mate. He becomes frustrated that he cannot drive you to the nest and the two of you are not setting up housekeeping. He will bite you to drive you away from a potential suitor (your human mate, child, acquaintance or other pet). The Amazon is trying to drive you to the safety of his nest. He may bite other people to communicate that you already have a partner . . . him. He may become territorial when you hold him and bite any one that intrudes his space. Although these bites can be extremely painful, they are in fact, love bites.

Limits must be set while he is still young. The male Amazon or aggressive female, does not belong on your shoulder. Always hold a male Amazon on your wrist held at waist level. I believe that Amazons should be stick trained as well as hand trained so you can always handle them. Do not engage in rough play with him as that will bring out his aggression. Discourage nibbling on your body, arms or hands. A jiggle of your wrist and a firm "No" is all that you need for young Amazons. You must be consistent for this to work.


Question 2
MY AMAZON IS MAKING FUNNY SOUNDS. IS HE SICK?
The sexually mature Amazon has a whole group of unusual sounds that he makes. He often makes a squealing sound when he has found a potential nesting spot. Paper bags, boxes, dark corners, drawers, and areas behind sofas and chairs all are appealing and he squeals in delight on finding such a great place to nest. He may make clucking or honking type sounds when he masturbates or has a breeding urge. The Amazon may make a hoarse rasping sound when he feels sexual and frustrated. Remember that anything that triggers his breeding instinct may also trigger his aggression.


Question 3
I REALLY WANT A TALKING BIRD. WHAT AMAZON IS THE BEST TALKER?
Some groups speak better than others. This does not mean that every bird in that group will talk. Most Double Yellow Headed Amazons, Yellow Nape Amazons, Blue Fronted Amazons, Panama Amazons, and Yellow Crown Amazons will speak with some encouragement. Amazons are very amusing and interesting birds and even those that do not talk make fascinating pets. You must do your part as well. The bird needs to hear your voice. Some birds require hearing the word or phrases many times before they speak. If the bird has not spoken by the time he is a two year old, it will be very difficult, but not impossible, to get him to speak.


Question 4
MY FRIEND'S COCKATOO LOVES TO CUDDLE AND HAVE HIS BACK TOUCHED. MY AMAZON DOES NOT CUDDLE, DOES HE LIKE ME?
Amazons do love their owners but do not react the same way as many other breeds. They want to be near their people. Most Amazons (especially young ones) have places to go and things to see and do not enjoy cuddling. By nature, Amazons do not like their backs touched. They can learn to enjoy cuddling and having their backs touched, but this is not a natural desire. Now head scratching is another matter. Most Amazons want to have their heads lightly rubbed and some will twist their heads completely around so that you can rub under their chins. Amazons want people to admire and talk to them. They will do fantastic acrobatics and animated talking if they feel ignored or you walk away from them to gain and keep human attention. Others will scream for the same reason.


Question 5
WHY DOES MY AMAZON SMELL?
Amazons truly love water and bathing. Misting with a spray bottle several times a week will improve the bird's feathers and smell. You can train your Amazons to go into a shower stall and take a shower, with or without their human companion. Amazons have a natural musky odor. Two of my male Napes are about the same age. Caged side by side, they receive the same amount of light, humidity, and the same diet. The one smells like sweet roses while the other smells like dirty gym socks. When excited and during the breeding season, this smell is more apparent.


Question 6
I HEAR AMAZONS ARE SCREAMERS? HOW LOUD ARE THEY?
Some Amazons, such as a Mealy in good voice, will equal a cockatoo. Most types of Amazons are not that loud and do not have the volume of a cockatoo or macaw or the high pitch of conure. Their call can be annoying like the barking of a dog. My Amazons only scream when I do not get their food to them quickly enough or if I am late covering them for the night. Breeding Amazons are another story. Amazons are very family oriented and nesting is an important part of their life. They will scream at other birds and intruders to let them know they have entered or infringed on their territory. All breeds of birds have individuals that bite and scream. Most of this can be modified, but if screaming and biting are a big problem for you, perhaps another type of pet would best fill your needs.


Question 7
I WANT TO BREED AMAZONS. HOW DIFFICULT IS IT TO GET THEM TO BREED?
Some species are rather difficult and are hard to double clutch. Some Blue Fronts for instance, can be very choosy about taking a mate. They may become close friends but may never breed. The ideal situation is to allow them to choose their own mate. For many people, this is impractical and they can only trust to luck that they have chosen a mate that meets their bird's approval. If a bird's mate dies, it may be very hard to replace it.


Question 8
I FELL IN LOVE WITH AN AMAZON, BUT HE IS 30 YEARS OLD. BECAUSE OF HIS AGE, I AM AFRAID THAT I WILL NOT HAVE MUCH TIME WITH HIM. HOW OLD IS OLD FOR AMAZONS?
Amazons are very hardy birds. Some breeders in England reported keeping them outdoors with very little shelter, even during the winters. I personally knew a Nape that died at 106 years of age that spent most of his life in Alaska. There also was a Blue Fronted Amazon said to be 117 years old. If the bird is healthy, thirty is not too old to consider adding him to your family. Be aware that in those thirty years he may have picked up some undesirable habits or language.

Because of their long life span, you may want to make arrangements for your bird should you die before him. Put down in writing what should be done to the bird. It would also be in the bird's best interest if you had a written list of instructions of how you have cared for him listing such things as favorite foods and brand names of pellets or seeds.


Question 9
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO AMAZONS SUFFER?
The Amazon is generally very healthy. They are, however, prone to upper respiratory problems and liver problems. Amazons have been known to live to 100. They are prone to bacterial infections so their cage and dishes should be kept as clean as possible. They are susceptible to psittacosis. Avian TB, Pacheco's disease, papilloma, and pox claim their share of Amazons as well. Obesity is a real problem with the majority of Amazons. This puts a strain on the respiratory system and liver.


Question 10
WHAT TYPE OF BIRD WOULD BE A GOOD COMPANION FOR MY AMAZON?
For your male Amazon you will want a bird that looks as different as possible. Two male Amazons can become a handful during the breeding season. They may become friends again after the breeding season. Amazons seem to enjoy the company of other birds. Amazons can share a room with almost any bird, but putting them on the same perch or cage may result in injury.


BIBLIOGRAPHY
I used the following books to help with the writing of this article:
Genus Amazona			  The World Of Amazon Parrots
by John & Pat Stoodley		  Dieter Hoppe
Bezels Publications		  T.F.H. Publications
ISBN 0-947756-02-7		  ISBN 0-86622-928-0
1990				  1992

Encyclopedia Of Amazon Parrots	  Amazon Parrots
Klaus Bosch & Ursula Wedde	  Paul Paradise
T.F.H. Publications		  T.F.H. Publications
ISBN 0-87666-871-6		  ISBN 0-87666-985-2
1981				  1988

Amazon Parrots In Your Home	  Handbook Of Amazon Parrots
Helmut Printer			  Dr. A.E. Decoteau
T.F.H. Publications		  T.F.H. Publications
ISBN 0-86622-901-9		  ISBN 0-87666-892-9
1988				  1980

Yellow Fronted Amazon Parrots	  Blue-Fronted Amazon Parrots
Dr. Edward Mulawka		  Dr. Edward Mulawka
T.F.H. Publications		  T.F.H. Publications
ISBN 0-87666-835-X		  ISBN	0-87666-834-1
1982				  1983

Amazon Parrots			  Parrots Of The World
Werner and Susanne Lantermann	  Joseph M. Forshaw
Barrons				  T.F.H. Publications
ISBN 0-8120-4035-X		  ISBN 0-87666-959-3
1988				  1973

Parrots of South America
Rosemary Low
John Gifford LTD
ISBN 0707100631
1972

OTHER SOURCES OF INFORMATION ON AMAZONS
The Amazona Quarerly			
P.O. Box 73547					
Puyallup, Washington 98373-4016	
This is the publication for the 	
Amazona Society
				
The AmaZone							
P.O. Box 2005
Yorktown, Virginia 23692
This is in conjunction with Dick Ivy
and The Bird Clubs of America
Birds USA BIRD TALK Watchbird
1994/1995 August 1995 May/June 1995
1990 June 1994 April/May
1993/1994 July 1993
1995/1996 August 1992
1991 July 1992
1990

Comments or Suggestions should go to the current maintainers of the FAQ files:

Kathryn A. Smith
Damian Bates

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This FAQ is by no means meant to replace the many wonderful and informative books, breeders, magazines, and veterinarians that are out there.

Last Revised: Sunday, 20-Jul-2008 08:41:04 MDT ( Damian )