All About Amazons!
Amazon parrots are native to areas in Mexico and Central and South
America. Deforestation of their natural habitat and capture for the pet trade
have greatly reduced the numbers of these once common species. Most
free-ranging species are considered threatened or endangered and efforts to
protect these birds have resulted in a ban on importation for pet purposes in
the United States. High quality companion birds are available from breeders.
Amazons have extroverted personalities and entertaining antics, but these
birds don't always enjoy being touched or "cuddled." Some may be
considered hyperactive or short-tempered. They generally are not good pets
What to 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
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 non-toxic, 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.
Is Your Amazon a Male or a Female?
In most Amazon species it is difficult to reliably distinguish a male from a
female based on physical characteristics; therefore, endoscopy or laboratory
methods must be used for sex determination in breeding facilities. Amazons
are somewhat of a challenge to breed but the offspring are easy to handraise.
What Your Vet Looks For in a Healthy Amazon
Dry, Open Nares
Clear, Bright Eyes (No Discharge)
Alert, Erect Posture
Smooth, Bright Feathers Without Color Breaks, Transparency or Ragged
Body Free of Lumps and Bumps
Even, Reptilian Pattern on the Feet and Nails of Appropriate Length
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, hospital visits, multiple visitors in the household, 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 The Wings Should Be Clipped
Amazons that are allowed unrestricted access in the home can encounter
numerous physical dangers or toxins (as well as cause significant
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 to Identify Your Bird
Two methods used to permanently mark companion birds for identification
purposes are tattoos and microchips (both are injected under the skin).
Individually number leg bands are not reliable for identification. Every bird
has a unique scale pattern on the feet. Photographs of the feet (updated
periodically as the bird ages) can be maintained in the bird's record to
confirm its identity and to prevent fraud that can occur with other
Housing for your Amazon should:
Parrots are very curious and will investigate anything new in their environment. That is why it is important to prevent their access to:
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.
Most Common Problems with Amazons Greys
Biting, screaming and Feather picking
Bacterial, viral and fungal infections
Calcium deficiency syndrome
Neuropathic gastric dilatation
Vitamin A (beta carotene) deficiency
Psittacine beak and feather disease virus
Many common disease conditions in African Grey Parrots are the result of
malnutrition. Visiting your avian veterinarian for routine health checks will
help prevent many of the above diseases and support you in having a long,
satisfying relationship with your African Grey Parrot.
How to Keep Your Amazon Healthy, Happy and Safe!
Give lots of attention and leadership training. Feed a fresh, high quality,
toxin-free, formulated diet with daily supplementation of chopped
vegetables and fruit according to manufacturer's recommendations. Grit is
probably not necessary with modern captive diets. Provide clean, fresh
uncontaminated water (try using water bottles). 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