Amazon parrots are popular among bird lovers because of their intelligence, affectionate nature and excellent talking abilities. But most new parrot owners are surprised by the amount of care Amazons take, so don’t take on the commitment of owning one until you learn exactly what that commitment means.
Amazon parrot is the common name for a group of more than 60 parrot species native to South America. The three most popular Amazons for bird owners are the blue-fronted, double-yellow-head and yellow-naped species. Most Amazons are predominantly green, with each having species-distinguishing bright splashes of color on their heads and wings. Amazons range in length from 12 to 15 inches. They can live as long as 60 years in captivity, so be sure you’re willing to care for an Amazon for likely the rest of your life.
Pet Amazon parrots are affectionate and highly intelligent, and they have a playful streak. They can also be temperamental and noisy if not trained properly. Because of their intelligence, they get bored easily if you don’t provide stimulating activities and variation in their routines, such as training them to do tricks or teaching them to talk or sing. Blue-fronted Amazons are considered the best talkers of the Amazon family; the double-yellow-head and yellow-naped species following closest behind. Hand-raised, young birds make the best pets, especially if you’re a beginning bird owner; otherwise, you may inherit some bad behaviors, such as screaming, biting and shyness, which can be difficult to break in an adult bird. Typically, Amazons are more interactive and affectionate toward their owners if they are raised singly, so unless you plan to breed and raise them, it's best to just have one in your home.
You will need a large, sturdy cage to house your bird. At a minimum, it needs to be big enough for your Amazon to stretch and flap his wings unobstructed. Either a welded wire or stainless steel cage with vertical bars spaced close enough that your bird can’t get his head stuck between them works well. Provide perches, branches, ladders and a variety of toys for your bird to enjoy. Cover the floor with newspapers or a commercial parrot substrate.
Place the cage in an area of your home where your Amazon will get constant interactivity with you and other family members. However, don’t put it in high traffic areas, which can stress your bird. Don’t put the cage directly in front of a window or near heating and air conditioning vents because of temperature changes. Clean the cage weekly by wiping it down with hydrogen peroxide or other recommended cleaning product.
Amazons should eat a quality commercial seed or pellet mixture specially formulated for parrots. Supplement their diet with fruits and vegetables, not only for balanced nutrition but to provide stimulation for your pet. They will get bored and stressed with a monotonous diet. These birds like grapes, raisins, apples, beans and peas. They also require plenty of vitamins A, K, and E, which are found in carrots, squash, bell peppers, papaya, and cantaloupe. They eat seed hulls and therefore don’t need extra bird grit. Always have a fresh supply of water available.
George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images