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Double Yellow-Headed Amazon Parrot

Nicole Cosgrove

These boisterous birds are popular in captivity, especially among bird enthusiasts who like interacting with their pets.

Parrots are well-known for their exceedingly talkative nature. Many will hold conversations with their owners and go out of their way to get attention.

Many people consider this to be rather cute, but it can also get overwhelming. When you have a loud Parrot yelling at you for attention, things can get a bit anxiety-inducing.

These Parrots can make excellent pets, but only for the right person. We describe their temperament and care needs in this article, so you can determine if you might be one of those right people.

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Species Overview

Double Yellow-Headed Amazon Parrot
Yellow-headed Amazon (Image Credit: Heather Paul, Flickr, Attribution CC 2.0 Generic)
Common Names: Double Yellow-Headed Amazon Parrot
Scientific Names: Amazona oratrix
Adult Size: 15 – 17 inches
Life Expectancy: 60 – 80 years

Origin and History

The Double Yellow-Headed Amazon Parrot is native to Central and South America. They naturally live in forests and woods near water, but not necessarily in rainforests.

Their population is on the decline, mainly due to deforestation and trapping. Many individuals are removed from the wild to supplement the pet trade. Today, only a few thousand birds remain in the wild. They are considered an endangered species.

Owning these birds is a bit more difficult due to their endangered status. Documentation is required to ensure that the bird is captive-bred. Owning wild-caught birds is illegal.

Luckily, these birds are relatively easy to find in captivity. Many breeders do an excellent job of raising healthy birds. While they may be hard to find in the wild, they can be easily located in captivity.

Temperament

Double Yellow-Headed Amazon Parrots can make excellent pets. Many captive-bred birds are hand-fed, starting very young. In these cases, they can make affectionate pets that quickly bond with their owners.

As an intelligent species, they can be a bit more of a handful than others. They enjoy being the center of attention, and problems occur most often when owners are unable to give their birds the attention that they need.

Usually, these birds are friendly and receptive to any attention. However, they may go through a hormonal stage around the time that they reach sexual maturity. Usually, this occurs around 4 months to 1 year. This behavior can last quite a long time, anywhere from several months to 2 years.

During this time, this species may lunge and bite at unknown people. Some may even become aggressive toward their recently beloved owner.

We don’t recommend this species for households with children for this reason. They may work great if you purchase them when they are older.

Most Double Yellow-Headed Amazon Parrots bond closely with one family member. They are one-person birds; don’t purchase one if you’re looking for a species to bond with everyone equally. They won’t do it.

Pros
  • Interactive
  • Affectionate and social
  • Intelligent
Cons
  • Can be noisy
  • Needs a great deal of attention and work

Speech & Vocalizations

This species is one of the best mimics out there. If you’re looking for a Parrot that will talk, this is an excellent species. They are considered second to only the African gray Parrot in their ability to talk.

This Parrot tends to be rather boisterous, though. They are not suitable for those looking for quieter birds. You may not want to adopt one in an apartment either.

They are most noisy around dusk and dawn, though this can vary from bird to bird. Loud vocalizations are the norm for this species. Screaming can be a severe problem in some cases. Some birds may do it all day long.

Boredom usually leads to noisier behaviors. If you keep your bird entertained, they may not be quite as loud.

Double Yellow-Headed Amazon Parrots Colors and Markings

The main feature of this Parrot is their yellow head, hence their name. The rest of their body is green, so the color of their head is quite dramatic.

Younger birds look a bit different. They usually have a dark grey coloration, but their head becomes more and more yellow as they molt. Eventually, they will match the adult coloration. But this doesn’t occur until they are closer to 6 years old.

Even after the coloration has technically set in completely, the yellow markings may increase as they get older. Males and females look the same. You have to run genetic testing to sex them accurately.

There are no color variations for this species. For the most part, they all look the same. However, their coloration will vary as they age.

Caring for the Double Yellow-Headed Amazon Parrot

These birds are challenging to care for. They require a great deal of attention, which is difficult for many owners to give. In many situations, it simply isn’t possible for most owners to give them the time that they need.

We highly recommend ensuring that you have hours every day to commit to your bird before adopting one. They are an athletic bird, so you should plan on giving them plenty of room and time to move and exercise. They love to fly if given enough space.

Since they are larger birds, they can be a bit destructive. A strong fly-cage is recommended. They will probably try to destroy it out of curiosity, though.

At the minimum, we recommend that the cage is 3 feet in either direction, with a play gym at the top.

Plenty of toys should be provided. The Parrot will try to tear these toys apart — that’s how they play. Therefore, ensure that their toys are sturdy and plan on buying new ones regularly.

Supervision is required because these birds will attempt to tear up your home as well. Your couch and furniture can be easy targets for a bored Parrot.

These birds need social interaction. If you don’t pay enough attention to them, they can become destructive and depressed. Stress-induced behaviors, like feather plucking, can occur. Therefore, ensure that you can give them at least 3–4 hours of your attention each day.

Preferably, this time should be split into multiple sessions. A few rounds of one-on-one time a day will be far more helpful than one long session in the evening.

Double yellow headed amazon parrot
Image Credit: klarunddeutlichmedia, PIxabay

Common Health Problems

This species is prone to the same health problems that most Parrots are.

Nutritional deficiencies are sadly widespread. Many bird owners do not understand how to feed their Parrot correctly. This leads to various problems. Vitamin A deficiency is most common but others can occur as well.

Obesity can also occur, especially if Parrots are given too many treats. They may love sunflower seeds, but that doesn’t mean that they should eat tons every day. Regular exercise is also essential, though many owners may find that this takes more time than they have.

Polyomavirus can infect these Parrots. This virus causes appetite loss and eventually, weight loss. It is deadly in some cases, as the bird will not eat enough to sustain themselves.

Chlamydiosis is a bacterial infection that is also common. The bird’s feathers will fluff up and they may have nasal discharge.

Overall, these birds tend to be relatively healthy. If they are taken care of properly, then they can live for a long time. Plan on this before you adopt them. Most Parrots outlive their owners.

Diet and Nutrition

The nutrition of Parrots is critical. There is a great deal of misinformation on this topic out there, but it is essential for your bird’s overall wellbeing.

In the wild, they eat various seeds, nuts, berries, vegetation, and fruits. This varied diet is hard to replicate in captivity. For this reason, we recommend feeding them a pelleted food, combined with fruits and vegetables. This diet helps the bird consume all the nutrients that they need and provides them with tip-top nutrition.

The pelleted food works as a nutritional supplement, as they are often formulated to be high in the nutrients that your bird needs. However, most birds will also benefit from raw and fresh foods, like fruits and vegetables.

Be sure to offer foods high in vitamin A, as this is a common deficiency. Calcium is also essential and can be added easily through the correct vegetables.

When deciding what fresh foods to give your parrot, consider focusing on those with higher levels of these vitamins.

Exercise

Due to their high activity needs, these birds are prone to weight gain. If they are not exercised properly, they can quickly become overweight and obese. Like with all animals, too much body fat can cause all sorts of problems for these Parrots.

You should plan on giving your bird at least 3 to 4 hours of exercise each day. This should be done outside of the cage. These birds can get into things quickly, so you should plan on providing constant supervision.

This exercise period will enable your bird to burn excess calories, staying in tip-top shape.  It will also help them stretch their muscles and provide a great deal of mental stimulation.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Double Yellow-Headed Amazon Parrot

We highly recommend purchasing your Parrot from a breeder. These birds are not good at adapting to moves. They remember their people and will become upset when separated.

Furthermore, there is no way that a pet store can provide them with the proper socialization and exercise. Without their needs being met, Amazon Parrots will quickly become stressed and exhibit feather plunking and similar behaviors. So, purchase them from a breeder if you can. It is unlikely that you will find a healthy Double Yellow-Headed Amazon in most stores.

These birds usually cost around $2,000 to $3,000 when purchased from a breeder. This may seem expensive, but it is primarily due to the considerable time commitment required for breeding these Parrots.

These Parrots are common occurrences at rescues, if you have one near you that accepts birds. They live for a long time, and many are displaced after their owner can no longer care for them.

Of course, make sure you interview the breeder and check on the bird before paying any money. Not all breeders are created equal. Any qualified breeder will allow you to see the Parrot, their living conditions, and their parents before adopting.

Cramped cages, unanswered questions, and inactive birds should be avoided.

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Conclusion

The Double Yellow-Headed Amazon Parrot is widely known for their ability to talk. They are brilliant birds, able to mimic words and be trained with some ease.

They are extremely friendly and bond well with at least one family member. They tend to be one-person birds, so they may not be best for families.

Their high intelligence leads to them requiring quite a bit of care, though. They need extensive socialization each day and at least 3–4 hours of supervised play outside of their cage. That’s a great deal of time for most people. Be sure you can commit it before you adopt one of these birds. Otherwise, they could develop health problems and exhibit stress-induced behaviors, like feather plunking.

This Parrot can make an excellent pet — just be sure that you can provide them with the appropriate care.


Featured Image Credit: Kalamoku, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.