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Mealy Amazon Parrot

Nicole Cosgrove

The Mealy Amazon Parrot bird is one of the largest Amazon parrot species. Unlike other Amazon parrots, these birds are known for their docile and calm behavior. While these beautiful big birds may not have exceptional talking abilities and flashy colors like other parrots, they compensate with their affectionate and loving personality.

They make an excellent pet for pet lovers who prefer a calm bird because they are not as active or feisty. Although Mealy Amazon Parrots are less colorful, they usually have a mostly green body with purple or blue patches on their heads. Some might have a yellow patch instead. The tail feathers are light green or lime.

divider-birdsSpecies Overview

Common Names: Mealy Amazon, Mealy Parrot, Blue-crowned Mealy parrot
Scientific Name: Amazona farinose
Adult Size: 15 to 17 inches
Life Expectancy: 60 to 80 years

Origin and History

Mealy Amazon Parrots are native to Southern and Central America. They inhabit the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil, Colombia, southern Mexico, Bolivia, and Peru.

Initially identified in the 1780s, these birds inhabit the tropical rainforests and woodlands in the canopies and tree holes. Despite their wide distribution, farmers have encroached most of their habitat, which threatens their existence. Farmers treat these birds as pests because they attack their farm crops as a food source.

This parrot is pretty social and lives in flocks of up to 100 birds except for mating pairs. They interact with other bird species such as Macaws.

Temperament

Known as the gentle giant, Mealy Amazon Parrots have a loving and easy-going personality among all other Amazon parrots. They can form a lifetime pairing with a mate that can last a lifetime. Because of this natural instinct, they are very affectionate and have a strong bond with their owners when kept as pets.

These parrots love human interaction. They are cuddly and will perch on your shoulders, waiting to be picked up or scratched.

Therefore, you’ll find them looking for a family member to play with. This behavior often leads to bonding with one favorite person, and the friendship can last a lifetime.

To remain healthy, these birds need social interaction. If they feel abandoned, they start exhibiting destructive behaviors and depression, such as biting and feather plucking. Therefore, it’s essential to give your pet bird attention from when they are young.

All amazon birds are aggressive birds; however, Mealy Amazons are considered non-aggressive. They don’t bite or nip; hence, they can get along well with other birds.

Despite this, these birds might go through a bluffing stage as adolescents. This period can last two years, where the bird shows aggressive behaviors such as excessive chewing on items such as toys and electric wires in your home.

This period can be exhausting for most owners; therefore, it’s better to get this bird if you are an experienced owner.

Pros
  • It’s the most gentle bird among Amazon parrots.
  • Loyal and affectionate bird.
  • It’s an intelligent bird that can mimic and perform tricks.
  • A social bird that co-exists with other birds.
Cons
  • It requires a lot of socialization with the owners.
  • It’s a large bird that requires a big cage.
  • It can be very loud sometimes.

Speech & Vocalizations

Mealy Amazon parrot
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Birds from the Amazon parrot family species are excellent talkers. These Mealy amazons are intelligent and can pick up lots of vocabulary. They can learn entire songs, memorize lyrics and tones, which they love to repeat and mimic their owners.

Because of their large size, Mealy parrots tend to be very loud. Their natural call and screams can be deafening and travel a long distance. However, despite this, they are not as loud as other parrots.

Mealy Amazon Parrot Colors and Markings

Mealy Amazons are primarily green. They are different from other Amazon parrots because their tropical green color is darker on the back and wings and lighter on the belly.

They have a grey-green pattern on the neck and back. They get the Mealy name because of the subtle white tinge all over their backs, making them look as if they are dusted with flour.

These birds have shades of red and blue on the feather tips. Their beaks are yellow to dark-grey, and they have a white ring around the eyes. They are referred to as the blue-crowned parrot because of the blue patch on the crown.

  • Plain-Colored Mealy Amazons – They have few or no yellow feathers on the head, and the carpel edge is dull yellow. These sub-species also tend to be larger and duller than the typical Amazon birds.
  • Costa-Rica Mealy Amazons – The body has primarily yellow feathers instead of green.

divider-birdCaring for Mealy Amazon Parrots

When getting a Meal Amazon Parrot as a pet, here are some of the things you need to do to keep the bird living comfortably.

Mealy Amazon parrot eating_Rosa Jay, Shutterstock
Image Credit: Rosa Jay, Shutterstock

Shelter

These birds can grow up to 15 to 17 inches as adults. Because of their large size, they need a large cage. The cage should be at least 3 feet wide and long and 5 or 6 feet tall. In addition, the cage should be large enough for the bird to fly around comfortably without the risk of injuring itself.

The cage should have toys, swings, and ladders for your pet bird to play and exercise. Like other Amazon parrots, this bird is prone to weight gain; hence this equipment will encourage the bird to exercise. When adding these items, ensure they don’t overcrowd the cage so that the bird has ample space to fly.

Therefore, bringing this bird home, you need to factor in expenses such as for the cage.

Grooming

Amazon parrots love a regular bath to keep the feathers in good and healthy condition. Therefore, you should provide your Mealy Amazon Parrot with a water bowl or use a spray bottle to clean them.

A bath is good for maintaining the bird’s plumage. After the shower, have your bird dry out in the sun or a warm room, or you can use a blow drier to make things easier.

When trimming your bird’s wings, avoid clipping them too much. You should just cut the primary flight feathers that allow the bird to glide on the floor. If you clip them excessively, the heavier Mealy Parrots might fall and get injured.

Socialization

These birds enjoy human interaction. Therefore, once you bring one of them home, you have to provide one-on-one interaction to establish and maintain a healthy bond. Mealy Amazon parrots love hanging around their owners, which makes training easier.

Common Health Problems

Mealy Amazon Parrots are robust parrots and naturally adapt to different environments. They are vulnerable to conditions such as extreme cold, but they have minor health problems.

A good nutrition plan and daily exercise are also very crucial to the health of your bird. If you provide enough room for your bird, they’ll be less prone to illnesses and sadness.

Let’s take a look at the most common health conditions that these birds encounter.

  • Psittacosis: This medical condition is also known as parrot fever. Psittacosis is caused by the chlamydia bacteria and is spread via droppings and respiratory secretions from sneezing and coughing. Your bird will get infected by either ingesting contaminated material or inhaling the bacteria. Birds would get this infection if they were recently exposed to a large group of birds. You should watch out for symptoms such as loss of appetite, weight loss, difficulty breathing, nose discharge, and swelling of the tissues. You can use preventive care to protect your bird from this bacterial infection. However, if they contract it, isolate the specific bird from others in the aviary, and seek medical assistance from your vet as soon as possible.
  • Feather Picking: Mealy Amazon Parrots are notorious for feather picking, which eventually leads to balding and skin issues. This habit comes about if your bird is fearful. Your bird will exhibit fear when inactive or housed in a poorly designed cage with insufficient light. A poor diet and lack of sleep might also push your bird to be fearful. The end reaction for this is habits such as feather picking and chewing.
  • Obesity: Like other Amazon parrots, Mealy Amazon species are prone to obesity and weight gain. Because of their large size, they tend to gain weight faster, especially when they are not getting enough exercise. You can easily prevent your bird from becoming overweight by providing the proper diet and meeting its exercise needs.

Diet and Nutrition

In the wild, the Meal Amazon will feed on human crops such as corn, and as a result, it’s considered a crop pest by farmers. The bird’s natural diet is comprised of seeds, nuts, fruits, and leaf buds.

In captivity, Mealy Amazons require a high-quality pelleted diet, which should be supplemented with daily servings of fruits and vegetables. You should feed your bird approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of pelleted food and the same amount of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. This type of raw and well-balanced diet is vital in keeping your bird healthy.

Seeds and nuts are a bird’s favorite. However, due to the risk of obesity, it’s best to offer these foods as an occasional treat because of their high-fat content. Avoid food items such as chocolate, avocado, and coffee beans because they are toxic to your bird.

Mealy Amazon parrot eating oats_Rosa Jay_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Rosa Jay, Shutterstock

Exercise

Exercise is vital for Mealy Amazon Parrots. Because of this, you should ensure the cage is large enough for your bird to fly freely. Also, include bird-safe toys, ladders, and swings to keep the bird engaged physically and mentally. To prevent boredom, ensure you rotate the toys and introduce new things; otherwise, your bird will start chewing on your house furniture.

Away from cage play, you should give your bird some out-of-cage exercise sessions. You can provide a minimum of three to four hours of supervised exercise daily.

This is good to keep the bird mentally stimulated and help it burn off any excess calories. During these sessions, ensure the windows and doors are closed to prevent the bird from flying away.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Mealy Amazon Parrot

As a large bird, this species can be pretty expensive. They cost from $1,000 to $2,000 at a reputable breeder.

Because of their popularity, it’s easy to find a good breeder or a rescue via online sources. Rescues and shelters will offer the birds at a much lower price.

If you are considering buying or adopting one of these birds, you should visit the breeders or rescue center to observe the bird’s behavior and to determine whether it’s a good fit for you.

To ensure you get a healthy bird, ensure you go to a reputable breeder. A good breeder will answer your questions about the general health of their birds and provide a medical history. You should also visit their premises to see the birds’ living conditions and talk to past customers.

It would be best to avoid breeders who have cramped living conditions and those who can’t provide information about their birds. Also, watch out for inactive birds; it may be a sign that the bird is sick.

Before buying this bird, ensure you have a budget to handle all the expenses and needs to keep your pet healthy and happy.

divider-birdsSummary

Mealy Amazon Parrots are a good pet choice. These large-sized birds are docile, calm, and affectionate, which is ideal for bird lovers. Although not as colorful and talkative as other parrots, they’ll keep you entertained with their comical imitations.

They love spending time with their owners and develop lifetime relationships with a favorite family member. Because of this, they tend to get bored or depressed if neglected for a long time.

When keeping this bird, ensure they get enough exercise and a healthy diet. As large birds, they are highly prone to obesity which can impact their health.

Mealy Amazon Parrots get along with other birds and are a low-maintenance species. As long as you keep these birds well-fed and mentally and physically engaged, they’ll live a long and healthy life.


Featured Image Credit: Michal Sloviak, 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.