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What is a Yellow-Headed Amazon?

The yellow-headed amazon is a parrot that can be described as intelligent, attractive and entertaining. When they are young, they are mostly green with a yellow forehead and sometimes yellow dappling across the rest of the head. The complete yellow head appears after four years of molting. This bird has been a pet for several hundred years, native to Mexico and northern Central America.

They are inquisitive and are known to be drama queens. They tend to attach themselves to one member of the family and tolerate the rest as part of the flock. Yellow-headed amazons are considered to have the most extensive vocabulary, second only to the African gray parrots.

These birds are known to be feisty. Socializing and training can help this to a degree. Still, owners must understand their pet’s body language and respect it when they are not in the mood for company. If it is ignored, the human can get bit. Continue reading to find questions answered by Experts.


A yellow-headed amazon parrot can make a great companion for the person who is willing to accept the bird as it is. They live up to 80 years and will need an owner who understands the responsibility of caring for a bird with this lifespan. Here are some things to expect of their personality and behavior:

  • This Amazon bird talks well and are quick to perform delightful antics.
  • Destruction can be a problem as they may chew on furniture instead of toys. This can be overcome with training.
  • A hand fed yellow-headed amazon is very flock oriented and will bond to family members but usually, claims one person as it matures.

Potential Problems

In the wild, Amazons call out to each other at sunset and sunrise. This will also happen when they have been domesticated. The calling out can last up to 10 minutes. These parrots rarely become ill when under good care. Most times it is difficult to determine illness, though there are some visible signs:

  • ruffled plumage
  • listlessness
  • drooping wings
  • sagging body
  • extreme mood changes
  • loss of appetite
  • bulging feathers
  • partially closed or watery eyes
  • swelling eyelids
  • rasping
  • difficulty breathing
  • excessive saliva
  • dirty vent
  • changes in feces, not diet related

More common illnesses are:

  • psittacosis (Chlamydiosis or parrot fever)
  • bacterial, viral or fungal infections
  • feather picking (result of boredom, poor diet, sexual frustration or lack of bathing)
  • allergies
  • chewing flight and tail feathers
  • beak malformations
  • papillomas
  • kidney disease (gout)
  • toxicity
  • heavy metal poisoning
  • lipomas

If you notice any of these illnesses, immediately provide a warm, draft free and secure place. The temperature should be kept around 86°F. Food and water should be placed close to the perch where it is easily accessible. If there are no signs of improvement, it would be a good idea to take your pet to an avian veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.

Care and Feeding

The primary health concern is obesity. The recommended diet includes the following:

  • fresh and natural foods
  • foods high in beta carotenes
  • root vegetables
  • sprouted seeds and grains

You should avoid:

  • overly processed foods
  • high fat foods
  • processed pelleted foods

Exercise is also very important to this species. Many manufacturers make cages designed specifically for Amazons and other large parrots. A 34-inch square strong and sturdy cage will work that also has a gym on top. Perches of varying sizes are good for exercising their feet. Sturdy toys that they can swing, play and chew are also good to keep them healthy and happy.

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