Choosing a Hispaniolan Amazon
Hispaniolan Amazons are intelligent, inquisitive birds with excellent speaking ability. These Amazons originate from the island of Hispaniola and spend their days in pine forests, palm groves and upland mountain evergreen forests. Due to their relative rarity in captivity, they are unlikely to be available for pets. They are active by nature and have a tendency toward obesity if closely confined. Mature birds, especially males can become aggressive.
Hispaniolan Amazons (Amazona ventralis) can probably live up to 50 to 60 years judging by the life span of similar species. Little is known about their life span in captivity.
Appearance and Personality
Hispaniolan Amazons are medium sized, stocky, green Amazons with white foreheads and eye-rings. They have dark ear-coverts, maroon belly patches and pinkish-horn beaks. Primary flight feathers and wing coverts are blue and the tails feathers are green with red at the base.
Hispaniolan 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, etc. to avoid fear of novel situations. They need to have some space for exercise.
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 pellets 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, Hispaniolan Amazons should be fed no 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.
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. Hispaniolan are heavy bodies and care must be taken not to cut too many feathers. Excessive wing clipping can result in injuries from falling.
Hispaniolan 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.
Hispaniolan Amazons are difficult to breed in captivity. In North America, Hispaniolan 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 3 to 4 eggs. One-inch by 1-inch by 14 gauge welded wire, or 1-inch by 1-inch welded wire is a good choice for cage construction. A suggested size is 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall by 8 feet long suspended 4 feet above the ground or floor.
Double entrance nest boxes may be used to reduce the chance of the male trapping the female in the box. Wooden boxes approximately 12 inches by 12 inches by 24 inches can be used.
Incubation period is approximately 24 to 26 days. Chicks will usually fledge at approximately 10 to 12 weeks of age. Hispaniolan Amazons are relatively easy to hand-rear. Most hand rearing formulas can be used successfully.
Male Hispaniolan Amazons frequently become aggressive toward their mates. Cage construction and management should take into consideration techniques to reduce mate aggression. Clipping the wings of the male prior to the breeding season will help the female to escape in case the male becomes aggressive. Aggression often occurs at the time of human visitation and may also be directed toward their keeper.
Hispaniolan Amazons are noisy especially when in breeding condition. When breeding Amazons, noise and proximity to neighbors must be considered.
Common Diseases and Disorders
Although relatively healthy, the following have been reported in Hispaniolan Amazons: