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Choosing a Yellow-lored Amazon

By: Dr. Susan Clubb

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Yellow-lored Amazons (Amazona albifrons) are small, stocky, green Amazons found in the Yucutan peninsula of Mexico. They are intelligent, inquisitive birds with excellent speaking ability. Yellow-lored Amazons can probably live up to 50 years judging by the life span of similar species. Little is known about their life span in captivity.

Mature birds, especially males, can become aggressive. Yellow-loreds are rare in captivity and are unlikely to be available for pets. They are active by nature and have a tendency toward obesity if closely confined.

Small populations of yellow-lored Amazons may be found in Belize and Honduras. They inhabit a variety of forests including pine forests and palm groves but primarily tropical deciduous forests and are frequently found around crops such as corn. They are usually found in flocks and may roost in communal flocks of up to 1,500 birds. They nest in tree cavities.

Appearance and Personality

They are almost identical to the white-fronted Amazon except the red lores of the white fronted are replaced with yellow. They have white foreheads and red rings around the eyes, and red cheeks. Prominent red splashes are found on the shoulder of males and are smaller to absent in females. Primary and secondary flight feathers are blue and the tails feathers are green with red at the base.

Yellow-lored Amazons should always be provided with toys, blocks of wood or branches that they can chew. In order to ensure safety, companion Amazons should not be allowed unsupervised freedom in the home as they often encounter toxins or dangerous items. Young Amazons should be socialized to many people and exposed to a variety of situations such as new cages, toys, visits to the veterinarian, handling by friends, wing and nail clips to avoid fear of novel situations. They need to have some space for exercise.

Feeding

Amazons should be fed a formulated (pelleted or extruded) diet as a basis for good nutrition. The diet should be supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables daily to add variety and psychological enrichment. Feed approximately 1/4 cup of formulated diet and 1/4 cup of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Monitor food intake. Overfeeding leads to pickiness, selective feeding and wasteful throwing of food. Because of their tendency to obesity, yellow-lored Amazons should not be fed sunflower or safflower seeds or seeds should only be given as treats. Vitamin supplements are not needed for birds that are eating a formulated diet.

Grooming

Routine bathing or showering is vital to maintaining good plumage and skin condition. Birds can be misted and allowed to dry in a warm room or in the sun, or gently dried with a blow drier. Care should be taken not to clip the wing feathers excessively as Amazons often fall and injure themselves. Clip only the primary flight feathers and only enough so the bird will glide to the floor.

Housing

Yellow-lored Amazons are very active and should be provided the largest cage that space and budget allows. They should also be supplied with a retreat to guard against insecurity and fear responses. Ideally the cage should provide room for flight. Durable cage construction is not as critical as it is for macaws and cockatoos. Locks or escape proof latches may be necessary on cages. Ideally the bird will have an outdoor cage as well to allow playtime in the fresh-air and sunlight.

Breeding

Yellow-lored Amazons are difficult to breed in captivity. In North America, yellow-lored Amazons breed predominantly in the spring and have a limited breeding season typically from February or March to June or July. Clutch size is typically three to four eggs.

Incubation period is approximately 24 to 26 days. Chicks will usually fledge at approximately 10 to 12 weeks of age. Yellow-lored Amazons are relatively easy to hand-rear. Most hand rearing formulas can be used successfully.

Male yellow-lored Amazons may become aggressive toward their mates. Clipping the wings of the male prior to the breeding season may be necessary in aggressive individuals to help the female to escape in case the male becomes aggressive.

Yellow-lored can be noisy when in breeding condition. When breeding Amazons, consider the noise and proximity to neighbors.

Common Diseases and Disorders

  • Psittacosis (Chlamydiosis)
  • Feather-picking
  • Mate aggression
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Poor eating habits
  • Bacterial, viral and fungal infections
  • Obesity
  • Toxicity (ingestion of metals)
  • Toe necrosis

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