Yellow-headed amazon

(Amazona oratrix)


Yellow-headed amazon IUCN ENDANGERED (EN)


Facts about this animal

This is a large amazon with a total lenght of 35-38 cm and a body-weight of up to 500g.

The plumage of the nominate subspecies is yellow on the entire head and throat, the upper parts are green, the under parts yellowish-green too, and the tighs yellow. The flight feathers are green becoming violet-blue towards the tips. The carpal edge is yellow, the bend of wing red with some yellow, and there is a red speculum. The tail is green with the lateral rectricess basally marked with red and outermost feathers edged with blue. The iris is orange, cere and base of bill grey, in particular in younger birds, or horn-coloured, tip of bill horn coloured, the bare eye-ring is whitish, and the legs and feet are pale grey.

Juveniles have yellow only on crown to lores. Their iris is brown.

Outside the breeding season, yellow-headed amazons have communal roosts and may congregate in large flocks, in which pairs are evident. During the day, they are seen in small parties of up to ten birds, foraging quietly in the crowns of trees.

Yellow-headed amazons begin exploring nest sites in March. Like all amazons, they are cavity nesters, and may start chewing out a hole in a tree trunk that had been previously nested by a woodpecker. The clutch of two to four eggs is incubated for 25–26 days by the female alone. The male remains near the nest entrance and feeds the sitting female.

Yellow-headed amazons feed regularly on the large green nut that is produced in abundance by the Ebano tree, and the small, not very sweet fruit of the Strangler Fig tree, as well as other nuts, seeds, fruits, buds and flowers. They are also fond of maize and cultivated fruit.

Did you know?
that, until a few years ago the yellow-headed amazon was considered to be a subspecies of the yellow-crowned amazon (Amazona ochrocephala) ? The species-complex "ochrocephala" was then split into several species, including oratrix comprising the subspecies oratrix, belizensis (with "guatemalensis") and tresmariae.


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Amazona oratrix
Name (English) Yellow-headed amazon
Name (French) Amazone à tête jaune
Name (German) Doppelgelbkopfamazone
Name (Spanish) Loro cabeciamarillo
Local names Mexico: Loro cabeza amarilla
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Not listed



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Toronja Azul



Range Central America: Belize, Guatemala, Mexixo
Habitat Various types of habitat, inclkuding dry forest, moist forest, mangroves, shrub, and arable land
Wild population This species has undergone a dramatic population decline, and was estimated at 7,000 birds in 1994. There are no current global data, however
Zoo population 196 reported to ISIS (2008), including tresmariae

In the Zoo

Yellow-headed amazon


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 11D of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


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Why do zoos keep this animal

Amazons are conspicuous and attractive birds, which are good ambassador species for the conservation of neotropical forests. They have an interesting anatomy and behaviour, are intelligent birds able to mimic human speech and even to associate words with their meanings, and are thus also of educational interest. Zoos may keep amazon parrots also for animal welfare reasons as they may have to take care of confiscated birds, or former pet birds.

Although the species is rated "Endangered" since 2004, there are no coordinated ex situ-breeding programmes yet.