Margarita is 9 years
old. She is a Green Cheeked Amazon also known as a Mexican Redhead
Amazon. She has been with us for 1 year now. She has a
vocabulary of about 20 words including "Hello, Hi, Tequila, Wasssup
and also speaks a little Spanish. She sings and whistles a lot and
blows kisses also.
Sunrise is now almost 10 years old and is a very loud
Blue and Gold Macaw. He has been with us for almost 10 years now
and is a big part of the family. The only words he knows is
"Hello, Hi, Rut Row, Sunrise and Tequila" and tries to be an opera
singer (MP3's will be here in the future).
Tequila is almost 10 years
old also. She is a Yellow Naped Amazon. She has been with us for
almost 10 years and never ceases to amaze us with her talking. She says
about 75 words including "Hello, I Love You, Rut Row, Oh
My Baby, Wasssup, and has also learned some Spanish words.
Tequila loves Sarah Brightman and aspires to be a soprano at times.
(Mexican Redhead Amazon)
SPECIES: AMAZONA VIRIDIGENALIS
Other Common Names: Amapola, Amazona Tamaulipeca, Amazone à joues vertes, Loro cabeza roja, Loro famaulipeco, Red-crowned Amazon, Red-crowned Parrot
The Green-cheeked Amazon is confined to tropical evergreen gallery forest, deciduous woodland on slopes and in canyons, partially cleared areas with woodlots, and dry open pine--oak ridges up to 1,200 m in north-east Mexico (Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz), where it has been vastly overexploited for trade and suffered from extensive habitat loss (both factors continuing), so that it has gone from being a common and widespread species a few decades ago to a generally rare bird today. The current wild population
was judged to be 3,000--6,500 birds in 1994. Numbers have diminished and
the Green Cheeked Amazon was added to the Endangered Species List (links at
bottom) in 1997 as illegal trade continues, with no adequate protection of its habitat.
The Mexican Red-headed or Green-cheeked Amazon has bright green cheeks and a red head. Other than that its' markings are typical of other Amazons, blue and red feathers under the wings, with occasional red and yellow markings on the tail, and a green body. At 13 to 15 inches long it falls in the middle of the Amazon size chart.
Mexican Redheads are not the best of talkers. The do pick up some words but show a preference for whistling. They also tend to show great affection for the people they like. It's these people that tend to be the target of the parrots vocalizations.
Most of you have heard about the extreme mood swings hormones cause in Amazons. Some of you may have even stayed away from them because of these stories. The Redhead seems to be the exception. While they do go through hormonal mood swings once they are sexually mature (4-5 years old) they tend to be less pronounced and don't last as long as in their cousins. Sort of like the difference in having a slight headache and a migraine. How do you know your bird is having a hormonal attack? As with its' cousins the Red head will display with pining eyes, flaring its' tail, extending the wings, and making some god awful noises. Otherwise they have an easy going temperament, which is most of the year. The hormonal stuff generally happens in the early spring.
There are some visual clues in determining the sex of your Redhead. The males will have much larger area of their heads covered with red feathers and the area of blue will be much more pronounced. They also have larger heads and beaks. The only way to be positive though is to have it sexed. The best method is DNA testing. It's quick, non invasive, highly accurate, and can be done on young birds. All
that's done to the bird is clip a nail short enough to draw some blood. Put it in a vile then send it off to the lab. In a couple of weeks you'll have an answer.
Amazons are not the most active of parrots. Obesity is a problem with these guys and if left alone can be the cause of many more problems. So you should be very careful with their diet. They should not be on a diet with seeds as the staple as they are very high in fat. The diet should have in it some of the following:
vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes (high in beta carotene), fruits such as
cantaloupe, various berries, banana etc., par-cooked beans (for protein), small amounts of cheese and every once and a while give them some meat. Adding this selection to a good pellet based mix will go a long way in keeping your bird from looking like a
miniature oven stuffer.
Caging requirements are simple. There must be enough space in the cage that when the bird stands in the middle of it, and spreads it's wings fully they do not touch the sides. Just add in some good sturdy toys and you'll have one happy camper.
These birds are long lived (40-60 years) if properly cared for. So get ready for a long fun filled relationship.
Appendix I 9/18/97
Blue and Gold Macaw
SPECIES: ARA ARARAUNA (Derived from the Brazilian Tupi Indian name)
Other Common Names: Blue and Yellow Macaw
Blue and Gold Macaw is a bird that
is native to the tropical rain forests of Central and South America.
The Blue and Gold Macaw has a green
crown with the nape and neck rich, medium blue. Their face is a white patch
of skin traversed with brown feathers; facial skin flushes easily to red when
excited. The upper and lower mandibles are black; tongue black Their
eyes are normally a pale yellow outer ring with a pale green inner ring.
Their body is a rich, medium blue; breast is commonly gold but in some birds is yellow; inferior surfaces of feathers yellow.
The tail is medium blue, inferior surface is yellow. They can live to be one hundred years old.
Immature: Nestlings commonly have metallic green tinted facial feathers traversing their facial patch. These become brown as they approach one year old; eyes black.
Blue and Gold macaws are possibly the most popular species of macaw. They
grow to a length of 33 Inches (Larger bird) with a wing span of 41 to 44
inches. Average weight of an adult is 900 to 1200g. Their coloration, personality and breeding potential make them very desirable. The bright plumage has made this wonderful bird a family favorite over many years. Clever and fun, this bird can be considered as a first-time macaw by almost anyone. Blue and Gold macaws (Ara ararauna) are commonly kept in captivity and are understandably popular. Blue & golds are playful, fun-loving birds. Their availability in captivity has erroneously lead to the belief that they are unremarkable. They are perhaps the most commonly available large macaw. Their personality is ideal, and they adapt easily to new surroundings. As with all the large macaws, they are highly sociable and quickly become members of the family.
Requires much attention and can be trained to talk - but not considered very good mimics. Requires large space due to large size. Are very demanding and have a tendency to become
aggressive or pluck. They can be very loud.
Sex is undeterminable by appearance
(DNA testing a must), though hens may have a slimmer head.
They reach reproductive maturity at about two and a half to three years old in captive bred
birds and they breed well in captivity.
The Macaw eats mainly fruits. Its beak is made in a hook shape to peel the shells off of the harder fruits that it eats. The beak is also helpful for holding fruits both soft and hard while flying. The beak is key to the Macaws survival.
Appendix II 6/6/81
Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot
SPECIES: OCHROCEPHALA AUROPALLIATA
Other Common Names: Yellow-Naped
The Yellow Naped Amazon comes from along Pacific slope of Central America from eastern Oaxaca, southern Mexico, south to north-western Costa
Rica and into Peru; also on Trinidad. These areas have Tropical deciduous forests, open woodland, forest edges.
The Yellow-Naped Amazon has a Forehead and crown
that is green; variable yellow band across lower nape and hindneck. Bill is dark gray, paler towards base of upper mandible.
They grow to Length: 35 cm (14 inches).
Fruits, seeds, nuts, berries, blossoms, and probably leaf buds.
Mating usually occurs from February to May. Nests are built in hollow trees about 2 - 3 feet off the ground. 3 eggs are laid and incubated by the female. The male usually stands guard outside the hollow but doesn't enter the nesting area again during incubation. Incubation usually lasts 28 - 30 days and the young leave the nest 2 months after hatching.
They lay 3 ovate, glossy eggs.
They are strong fliers and fly quite high when traveling long distances.
They usually gather in flocks ranging from a few to a hundred or more. They spend most of the time perched in the trees and in flight, searching for food.
Call is a reiterated screeching; also a variety of metallic shrieks and whistling notes.
The Yellow-Naped Amazon is thought to be a separate species of the Yellow-Crowned Amazon parrot which is a well known member of the genus. This parrot is very popular as a pet due to its prowess as a "talker". It's often taken as a nestling for the pet trade.
Loss of habitat through large-scale deforestation is the primary pressure adversely affecting these parrots. Generally abundant but in specific localities
over-hunted as pets.
Their diet consists of fruits, seeds, nuts, berries, blossoms and leaf buds.
Appendix II 6/6/81
on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)