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Yellow-naped Amazon Fact Sheet

Scientific name

Amazona auropalliata or Amazona ochrocephala auropalliata (depending on opinion)

Click here for everything Yellow-naped Amazons need.

Sub-species identification in adult birds

Auropalliata: 

Yellow patch on nape, reaching to mantle in fully mature birds; black cere, black beak and black tongue. Bend of wing green. Some individuals have a small patch of yellow on forehead.

Parvipes: 

There are some red feathers at the bend of the wing. Beak colour is variable but is usually patchy grey or paler than in auropalliata. In some birds the bill is a clear, pale colour like those of the sub-species caribaea which has a yellow area on the forehead and part of the crown.

The name parvipes means “small feet” — meaning small in relation to those of the nominate race. But is this really true? The problem of identification has been made more problematical by some breeders pairing together two different sub-species.

Immature birds

Lack the yellow feathers on the nape. The first yellow feathers appear at about 15 months of age although this can vary between five months and three years — possibly even longer.

Mutation

The blue mutation is available in the USA — at a very high price! This must surely be one of the most beautiful mutations of any Parrot — a soft powder blue with a large snowy-white patch on the nape. This mutation was bred from wild-caught birds from Nicaragua and Honduras.

Adult length: 

36cm (14in)

Adult weight: 

450-550g

Potential lifespan: 

40 to 50 years

Status

Endangered, CITES Appendix I (since November 2002)
Mexico – endangered; extinct in the state of Oaxaca
Guatemala: nearly extinct.
El Salvador: nearly extinct.
Honduras: nearly extinct on the Pacific slope, declining on the Caribbean side
Nicaragua: serious decline and gone from many sites on the Pacific slope.
Costa Rica: lost from several areas.

Reasons for endangerment

Illegal trade especially the poaching of chicks from the nest. Research at the beginning of this century indicated that in Guatemala 70% of all nests were poached (100% of unprotected nests). In Costa Rica up to one third of nests were poached, even inside reserves.  Habitat loss is also a problem. Between 1950 and 2000 the range of the Yellow-naped Amazon declined by 75% to 85%.

Origin

Mexico and Central America on the Pacific slope through Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua to north-western Costa Rica.

Personality

Loud, excitable, very attractive personality.

Suitability as a pet

This is a bird for the experienced Parrot owner, only. Due to the excitable temperament, which can change into aggression in a second, only those who can read Amazon behaviour should consider acquiring this species. As in Blue-fronted Amazons, mature males in breeding condition can pose a problem and a threat in the home, especially in inexperienced hands.

Mimicry

A brilliant mimic, seldom surpassed. These Amazons pick up words readily and can acquire a very large vocabulary. Some have even become talented singers, mimicking songs to perfection and eliciting a hilarious response from those witnessing such a performance. One Yellow-naped Amazon in California was such a star it even made a record of “I left my heart in San Francisco”. Currently San Diego Zoo has a wonderful mimic who performs in its bird show.

Availability

More readily available in the US than in the UK where this species commands a higher price than the more common Amazons.

Diet and health

This needs careful attention because Yellow-naped Amazons kept as companions readily become overweight if they do not have sufficient exercise. For this reason, these big, heavy Amazons should never be wing-clipped. They need stimulating surroundings that encourage them to fly and to exercise on ropes and swings.

Here are stimulating toys and high quality cages that these birds need.

A small outdoor aviary where they can be placed for two or three hours daily in good weather will help to achieve this aim. (Always use a carrying box to take them outside. Do not risk carrying them on your hand!)

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