Young red-lored Amazons tend to be very tame, with moderate speaking ability. They are intelligent, inquisitive birds and can be good pets for young couples or families if they are not treated roughly. Mature birds – especially males – may become aggressive.
Red-lored Amazons – also known as red-fronted Amazons or yellow-cheeked Amazons – were imported in large numbers in the 1970s and 1980s and are fairly common in the United States. The birds can live 50 years or more.
Red-lores, Amazona autumnalis are stocky green Amazons that somewhat resemble Mexican red-headed and lilac-crowned Amazons. The word “lore” refers to the area of the bird’s face between his eyes and the base of his bill, which, in these birds is red as is the forehead. The crown is violet-blue; cheeks are bright green in some subspecies and yellow in others. The upper beak is partially horn-colored and the lower beak is black. Nape feathers are tipped in black, and there is a prominent red patch on the wings. Flight feathers are green with blue tips. Tail feathers have yellow-green tips.
Red-lored Amazons should always be provided with toys, blocks of wood or branches they can chew on. Young Amazons should be socialized to many people and exposed to a variety of situations to avoid fear of novel situations. They need to have some space for exercise.
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 they can be 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. Red-lored Amazons are heavy bodied and care must be taken not to cut too many feathers. Excessive wing clipping can result in injuries from falling.
Amazons should be fed a high protein pelleted diet. The basic diet should be supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables daily to add variety. Feed approximately 1/4 to 1/3 cup of pelleted diet and 1/4 to 1/3 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, red-lored Amazons should be fed no sunflower or safflower seeds (seeds should only be given as treats). Vitamin supplements are not needed for birds that are eating a pelleted diet.
Birds that are fed only seeds need vitamin and mineral supplementation to prevent deficiency diseases. Add vitamins to soft food; do not put them into the bird’s water, as this dilutes the vitamins; water-soluble vitamins break down rapidly, and water with sweetened vitamins is a good growth medium for bacteria. Vitamins added to the outside of seeds are usually lost when the bird shells the seeds.
Red-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, but locks or escape-proof latches may be necessary. If possible, the bird should also have an outdoor cage to allow playtime in the fresh-air and sunlight.
Breeding age is approximately 3 to 5 years. Red-lored Amazons are relatively difficult to breed in captivity. They are shy by nature and need privacy. In North America, they breed predominantly in the spring and have a limited breeding season that typically lasts from February or March to June or July. Clutch size is usually three to four eggs. One-inch by 1-inch by 14-gauge welded wire is a good choice for cage construction. A suggested size is 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet long suspended 4 feet above the ground or floor. Wooden boxes can be used for nesting. Size should be approximately 12 inches by 12 inches by 24 inches.
Incubation period is approximately 24 to 26 days. Chicks will usually fledge at approximately 10 to 12 weeks of age. Red-lored Amazons are relatively easy to hand rear. Most hand-rearing formulas can be used successfully.
Red-lores can be noisy when in breeding condition. When breeding Amazons, noise and proximity to neighbors must be considered.
Common Diseases and Disorders
Amazons are relatively healthy birds but are susceptible to the following: