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The Amazon Parrot Handbook

Colorful, lovable Amazon parrots brighten homes around the world. These winged natives of the New World are known for their big personalities. You can find Amazons flying over canopied forests throughout parts of South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Most Amazons have green bodies speckled with brushstrokes of color. Splashes of beautiful blue, red, lilac, yellow and white create unique patterns on individual birds. You are truly getting a one-of-a-kind creature when you bring an Amazon parrot into your world! It is important to address the fact that there is some ambiguity when it comes to calling a bird an Amazon parrot. The term is used to cover roughly 30 different species within the parrot family. Here's a rundown of some of the common Amazon varieties people enjoy as pets:
  •  The blue-fronted Amazon is known for its extreme vocalizing. Blue-fronted Amazons enjoy singing and talking constantly. This variety isn't always ideal for apartments or cramped spaces.
  • The orange-winged Amazon will go through a hormonal stage called bluffing as it reaches sexual maturity. This stage can be a challenge because Amazons will often become aggressive. You will have to determine if you can handle this challenge.
  • The double yellow-headed Amazon is affectionate and intelligent. You will be impressed by the speech abilities of your yellow-headed Amazon.
  • The yellow-naped Amazon is sharp and witty. This bird is known to bond quickly with a new owner. You should be aware that this type of Amazon thrives in an active environment.
  • The red-lored Amazon is a screamer! Keep that in mind if noise is a concern for you. This type of Amazon tends to form a strong one-on-one bond with a person.
  • The white-fronted Amazon is known for the brilliant rings of red around its eyes. This type of Amazon is highly intelligent. You will need to provide this bird with lots of mental stimulation.
  • The lilac-crowned Amazon thrives on social interaction. This bird also needs lots of mental stimulation.

You can study a full list of the different types of Amazon parrots here. Anyone who owns an Amazon will tell you that this type of bird is truly the life of the party. The Amazon parrot is one of the easiest birds to train. Did you know that Amazon parrots are also very chatty? You may need to learn how to watch what you say if you're planning to welcome an Amazon parrot into your home. Amazons can acquire a very large vocabulary relatively quickly.

What can you expect once you bring your new parrot home?

The good news is that Amazon parrots are famous for being adaptable. However, an easy transition will take some work on your part. The importance of exposing your bird to household activities as early as possible cannot be understated. It is also important to make sure that your home has been checked for any items that could hurt your bird. Birds can easily fly into glass objects or get their claws stuck on fabrics. Besides, they could potentially ingest any toxic items or materials that are out in the open. Look at your home with fresh eyes to see where dangers may lurk for a curious bird! Keep reading to learn more about creating the right environment for a healthy, happy Amazon parrot.

What things should I consider before buying an Amazon parrot?

It can be easy to feel like you're getting to know a new friend when getting acquainted with your Amazon parrot. However, it is so important to remember that your new parrot is a creature that you have agreed to be responsible for. Your first duty is to make sure your parrot has a safe, comfortable cage to live in. Amazon parrots are known for being pretty boisterous. Amazon prefers a large cage that has plenty of room for playing and swinging. Do your best to provide your bird with the largest enclosure possible. Your Amazon should be able to fully extend its wings without touching the sides of its enclosure. You will also be tasked with the very important responsibility of creating a healthy Amazon parrot diet. A little-known fact about Amazon parrots is that they are prone to obesity. As a result, you will have to play the role of a dietitian for your bird in some ways. The good news is that it is fairly easy to find good food for birds that also happens to be irresistible to Amazon parrots. We'll discuss more the ways you can use a healthy parrot diet and appropriate amounts of physical activity to tackle obesity issues in just a bit!

What else do I need when considering to buy an Amazon parrot?

An Amazon parrot typically grows to a length of somewhere between 11 inches and 13 inches in size. Larger varieties can reach 18 or 20 inches. While they aren't as large as some other birds in the parrot family, Amazon parrots can still be extremely noisy and destructive when bored. Parrot owners must provide toys and food items that encourage and satisfy a bird's natural foraging instincts. Foraging will help to keep your bird active, occupied and healthy. One last thing to remember is that welcoming a parrot into your family is a long-term commitment. The typical Amazon parrot will live to be 50 or 60 years old.

Should I be concerned about what my Amazon parrot eats?

The truth is that there isn't much room for error when it comes to an Amazon parrot's diet. We've already discussed obesity risks in Amazon parrots. Besides, Amazons are susceptible to all of the other health and behavioral issues that can come from a poor diet. It will be important to closely monitor what your parrot eats while you're becoming familiar with your new pet to ensure that a proper balance is achieved. Undoing bad habits that are formed early on in your relationship with this type of bird can be very difficult. The typical Amazon parrot loves to eat! Parrot owners can get into real trouble because the friendly, persuasive nature of this type of bird creates a big temptation to share food. Amazon parrots are famous for begging! The begging nature of your pet parrot will make having a formulated diet in place even more important. Some first-time bird owners fall into the seed trap. This can be dangerous for several reasons. Research released in 2018 shows that malnutrition is a primary cause of feather-damaging behaviors among parrots. Research shows that diets rich in seeds and table food often create nutritional deficiencies. You can take a look at a summary of the findings here. There was a time when the seed diet was the go-to diet for parrots. However, now many health issues that were thought to be medical or related to genetics have been linked to being caused by seed-rich diets. Birds that are given seeds and table food as primary food sources frequently experience abnormal skin and feather development. Diet will play a big role in keeping your parrot fit and healthy. You can also tip the scales in your parrot's favor by providing a spacious cage, fun ladders, and a sturdy climbing rope. An active Amazon is a happy Amazon!

What exactly does my Amazon parrot naturally eat?

It's easy to let your mind wander to thoughts of what your gorgeous parrot would be nibbling on while soaring in its natural habitat somewhere in the tropics. The typical diet of an Amazon parrot in the wild consists of seeds, berries, nuts

, fruits, and vegetation. These parrots are often spotted in the wild hopping from branch to branch in search of nature's treats. Providing your Amazon with some ladders and faux branches to jump on inside its cage can help to promote that branch-to-branch activity that would occur in the wild. However, it's important to
understand that your bird will never get the full range of activity that a wild bird would get. That's precisely why you should focus on finding pet bird food that is formulated to complement the lifestyle of a non-wild bird.

What should I feed my Amazon parrot?

Providing a good diet isn't just a suggestion when it comes to your Amazon parrot. This bird's inclination toward obesity means that feeding your parrot properly is a duty. What do Amazon parrots eat as part of a balanced diet? An Amazon parrot should provide a high-quality bird mix that designs for parrot-sized birds. Besides, fresh foods should use to supplement a parrot's diet. Fruits and leafy greens serve as perfect treats for Amazon parrots.

The problem with all-seed diets

Your Amazon parrot would probably be very happy at first when presented with an all-seed diet. However, it wouldn't take long before the negative health consequences of an all-seed diet would create a very unhappy bird. Upper respiratory disease, fatty liver disease, and atherosclerosis in birds have all been linked with seed consumption. The big issue with an all-seed diet is fat. Most seed mixes contain nuts. Even mixes that don't contain a high nut ratio will still contain some seed varieties that are high in fat. Your parrot will begin to pick out the tastiest seeds within the mix. Unfortunately, the tastiest seeds tend to have the highest amounts of fat. A seed diet simply doesn't provide the variety an Amazon parrot needs to maintain a proper weight. You also need to be careful about how you source mixes that contain seeds. Many mainstream seed mixes that are sold today contain genetically modified seeds that were grown to be used in cooking oils. Unhealthy seeds can cause a nightmare when it comes to exacerbating obesity issues and health problems in birds. Do you know that our pet bird food is made using organic ingredients? You can have peace of mind when feeding your bird when you pour our yummy mixes.

Nuts, legumes, amino acids (proteins) and essential fatty acids (fats)

Your Amazon parrot needs protein and good fats. Amazons that get enough protein to enjoy proper feather growth. What do Amazon parrots eat for protein? Your bird would probably be going after things like nuts, legumes, and insects to get protein in the wild. However, you must remember that your bird would be working for those high-fat foods in the wild. It is so important to monitor fat consumption when looking out for your parrot's health. You can give your Amazon a measured, controlled serving of protein with Cinnaspice Delight blend. This mix offers a nutty twist that helps to prevent issues like gout and vitamin toxicity in birds.

Carbohydrates for Amazon Parrots

It's important to look at carbohydrates when selecting good food for birds. Amazons should not be getting their carbohydrates from people's food. The fruits and vegetables that you provide for your Amazon parrot regularly will deliver some of the carbohydrates that are needed. Whole grains can also provide some healthy carbohydrates. Be sure to wash any whole grains carefully before giving them to your bird to ensure that your bird won't be ingesting pesticides and other contaminants. You should also do your best to only source organic whole grains for your bird. Did you know that we use a whole-grain base for our mixes? Our tasty mixes contain ingredients like organic quinoa, organic cracked wheat, organic couscous, and organic hulled millet.

The problem with an all-pellet diet

Veterinarians truly tried their best when they began recommending the all-pellet diet for parrots a few years back. Unfortunately, new findings have revealed that an all-pellet diet is very far from ideal. A one-size-fits-all pellet simply doesn't deliver what an Amazon parrot needs. It is so important to discuss the foraging instinct of Amazon parrots in greater detail for a moment. One thing you will need to learn very early on about your new feathered friend is that stimulation is a big need. The foraging instinct plays a big role in keeping a parrot stimulated and satisfied. Birds flourish when they are allowed to pick through a variety of ingredients to explore what's inside husks and wrappings. Readily available pellets prevent foraging because birds are a force to eat the same pellets at every meal. The dullness and lack of variety that go along with this diet go against everything that an Amazon parrot would experience in its natural environment. Being unable to forage and play can result in some very serious behavioral problems. These problems will potentially test your sanity as you deal with an unruly, unsatisfied bird. This is precisely why an Amazon parrot diet that consists mostly of pellets is not recommended.

So why have pellets been recommended so often?

Pamela Clark, CPBC, CVT explains:

“Many avian veterinarians believe that parrot owners should be encouraged to feed a 100% manufactured diet to their birds because the majority of owners are not capable of providing a good diet otherwise. I never fail to feed saddened when I encounter this ideology, for it essentially removes the benefit and privilege of choice from the parrot owner. In other words, the owner is encouraged to feed a pelleted diet, not because of strong conviction that the diet is optimal, but because it is perceived as the lesser of two evils [pellets vs. seeds]” Pamela Clark, CPBC, CVT.

Amazon parrot food FAQ:

Can Amazon parrots eat bananas?

Tasty bananas are okay for Amazon parrots to eat.

Can Amazon parrots eat strawberries?

Strawberries are acceptable for Amazon parrots.

Can Amazon parrots eat peanut butter?

High levels of salt, fat, and sugar make peanut butter an undesirable choice when feeding your Amazon parrot.

Can Amazon parrots eat watermelon?

Amazon parrots enjoy juicy watermelon chunks and seeds.

Can Amazon parrots eat crackers?

It's wise to skip crackers when trying to help your parrot avoid obesity issues. You can always speak with your avian veterinarian regarding specific cracker options.


What to feed Amazon parrots

It's so important to focus on providing a full-spectrum diet when feeding your Amazon parrot. You have to look at carbohydrates, proteins, fats, spices, and other nutrients in terms of the big picture. A balanced diet for an Amazon parrot should offer a nutritional variety that takes into account the fact that your bird isn't flying in the wild the way its ancestors did. The fact that your bird isn't out in the wild doesn't mean that its foraging instincts have vanished. That's why it's important to pick a mix that satisfies your bird on both a nutritional and experiential level.

Can Amazon parrots eat in the wild?

A pet parrot should be getting all of its food and nutrients from its owner. Unfortunately, a pet parrot that enters the wild again may not recognize local food sources like food.

What do I do if my Amazon parrot flies away?

It's best to stay in the area if your Amazon parrot manages to fly away. There is a chance that your parrot will return on its own. Leaving a cage out in the open for your parrot to see could encourage the bird to return to the comfort and familiarity of its home. It is also wise to make noises or call sounds that your bird will recognize.

List of fruits for Amazon parrots

Many of the tasty fruits that you like to enjoy can also be enjoyed by your Amazon parrot. Fresh fruit should be cut into chunks or slices to make feeding time easier for your bird. Here's a list of popular parrot-approved fruits:
  • Bananas
  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Raisins
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Currants
  • Strawberries
  • Apricots
  • Fresh pineapple
  • Blackberries
  • Mulberries
  • Loganberries
  • Lemons
  • Dates
  • Raspberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Juniper berries
  • Cranberries
  • Cherries
  • Blueberries
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Gooseberries
  • Rowan berries
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Melon
  • Peaches
  • Rosehips
  • Hawthorn berries
  • Wild elderberries
  • Figs
  • Melon
  • Papaya

Amazon parrots can generally eat all of the same fruits as other parrots. Don't forget to remove the seeds or pits from any apples, apricots, pears, peaches or cherries that you give to your parrot to prevent accidental cyanide poisoning. You should also remember to wash all fruit skins before serving fruit to your bird. It's important to know that food won't be healthy for your Amazon just because it is fresh. Some fruits and vegetables that are perfectly healthy for humans can be toxic for parrots. What about when you want to give your parrot something yummy that reminds it of the wild? You can whip up a meal of our Tropical Feast on the Fly to tempt your bird with organic whole grains, sweet mango, sun-ripened pineapple and more.

What should I not feed my Amazon parrot?

Some foods are widely known to be dangerous or toxic for birds and other animals. The list of foods to avoid includes chocolate, tea, and coffee. Anything that contains caffeine is bad for birds. Besides, parrots should not be allowed to consume foods that contain a potent toxin called solanine. The list of foods that may contain levels of solanine that are toxic for your bird includes garlic, eggplant, potatoes, and tomato leaves. You can take a look at a good resource that lists foods that are potentially toxic for Amazon parrots right here. Even foods that aren’t necessarily dangerous for your bird can still be very bad. Anything that contains high amounts of fat, sugar or salt should be avoided. Things like chips, candy and ice cream can all cause your bird to become ill. The general rule is to skip the junk food. Luckily, your bird will be quite happy to receive the fresh fruits and vegetables that are on the approved list!

What about vegetables for Amazon parrots?

Many tasty vegetables are appropriate for Amazons. The list of yummy veggies for Amazons includes zucchini, kale, broccoli, and cabbage.

What about people's food?

It's best to keep all processed foods that humans eat out of your parrot's diet. Of course, fresh and unprocessed fruits and vegetables offer great options if you want to share some table food with your bird. You can ask your avian vet if you have any questions about specific foods that fit in with the parrot diet.

Does my bird need extra vitamins, minerals or amino acids?

Amazon parrots are vulnerable to calcium and vitamin A deficiencies. This is something you'll need to speak with your vet about. A deficiency in vitamin A is very serious for a parrot because it can lead to nourishment issues. A malnourished bird is extremely vulnerable to fungal, viral and bacterial infections that are potentially fatal. The problem of being deficient in vitamin A can be exacerbated by an all-seed diet. The good news is that it is fairly easy to give your bird the proper amount of vitamin A when you provide a parrot-appropriate mix that is supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables. You can learn more about the impact of vitamin A on birds by reading this article. A calcium deficiency can lead to something called acute hypocalcemia in a parrot. Signs of this condition include tremors, shaking and weakness. A calcium supplement can be added to a parrot's diet if this condition is suspected. Besides, daily exposure to sunlight can help to promote calcium absorption. It is generally recommending that you add a high-quality cuttlebone to your bird's cage.

What pointers should I remember about feeding my Amazon parrot?

Food shouldn't be left to linger in your bird's cage. Any fresh foods or mashes that you place in your Amazon's cage should be taken away when feeding time is over. A clean cage will contribute to your bird's overall health. Leaving food to linger can create issues with bugs and mold. Of course, food is only half the story when it comes to your Amazon's daily needs. Freshwater is essential! Make sure your bird is getting fresh water daily.

Can I just put food in a food dispenser when I’m away?

It is never appropriate to leave an Amazon parrot unsupervised when traveling. A parrot requires fresh food and water daily then leaving food out is an invitation for mold and pests. What's more, your parrot could become injured while using toys inside its cage while you're gone. Please make proper arrangements for the care of your bird if you need to be away from home for any reason.

Is there anything else that will be needed for my Amazon parrot besides Bird Street Bistro?

You can speak with your avian veterinarian regarding specific foods and supplements that are ideal for your bird. Cuttlebones and mineral blocks are recommended to ensure that birds are getting the trace minerals they need at various points of development. The list of essentials that can help an Amazon to thrive in an enclosure includes a good food mix, fresh foods, water, and engaging toys.

How can I get my Amazon parrot to eat healthily?

It can be very frustrating to see your Amazon reject food that you have carefully prepared. However, a little patience is often needed when getting a bird acquainted with healthy foods. Routine is a big factor when it comes to getting an Amazon to eat healthy foods. Try to offer the same portions at the same time each day. Besides, placing fresh foods in separate dishes will help to prevent spoilage or mold. Why not try our variety pack to discover which flavor your bird fancies? There's a very good chance that your parrot may fall in love with a specific food. There's no need to panic if this happens. Of course, you will need to be firm when enforcing a diet. That means you may need to temporarily restrict or avoid specific food while new foods are introducing. You may need to get sneaky with how you present food if you have a very stubborn bird on your hands. One smart tactic is to simply blend in some of the new food you're trying to introduce with the food that your bird is already crazy about. Take a look at a detailed article about how to introduce new healthy foods into your parrot's diet.

In Conclusion

Owning a beautiful Amazon parrot is a rewarding experience that allows you to hear the flutter of exotic wings right in your own home. Many people love the bragging rights that go along with owning a bird that is so capable of learning new words and tricks. Of course, all of this fun does require responsibility on your part. The big thing to remember when considering an Amazon as a pet is that the right diet can make all the difference. Do your best to avoid feeding your Amazon all-seed mixes or pellets therefore these options could deprive your bird of important nutrients and foraging opportunities. The good news is that you have some great options when it comes to providing your bird with fresh, delicious foods. Besides, you can get back to basics with Bird Street Bistro’s parrot-appropriate mixes that provide the nutrients Amazons need to thrive. We take pride in providing all-natural food options that birds love. Please keep in mind that you should always consult with your avian veterinarian to determine the specific dietary needs of your bird when choosing Amazon parrot food. Do you have any thoughts or questions regarding the interesting diets of Amazon parrots? Leave us a comment below to share your thoughts. We always love hearing from our flock of bird lovers! Have a wonderful day!