Ask The Experts
Questions will be reviewed by our experts and may be used in
the Amazona Quarterly publication.
Professor and TAS member Henry F. Beechhold asks the $64,000.00 question:
don't know how the long life of parrots compares with the life
Having said that, I think that the longevity of parrots must have to do with the importance of learning in their lives. They learn from older parrots in order to find a wide range of foods in the right seasons.
Going beyond this, the work of Schindler on Amazon vocalizations suggests that Amazons form separate cultural groups. The existence of older parrots in the group may provide a reservoir of information that would be necessary for survival during times of rarely occurring danger or scarcity. The older birds may know of distant food sources that the younger birds have never visited. Amazon survival may be much more complex than we know.
from what I have read, Amazon reproduction in the wild is not
that easy because they depend on the existence of appropriate
tree holes. Breeding is limited by how many holes there are,
so reproduction may be slow.
it ok to pull eggs from my Blue-Front pairs for artificial incubation
to try to get them to double or triple clutch? If so, when should
the eggs be pulled?
Q: How can I tell the sex of my Amazon?
A: All Amazon species are monomorphic (i.e. no visual differences between the) sexes) with two exceptions: In the Spectacled Amazon (A. albifrons), the male has red markings on the small upper wing coverts and the edge of the carpus; the female is usually green in this area but may have a limited amount of red. The female Yellow-Lored Amazon (A. xantholora) lacks the white on the head and the red markings of the male. It is also generally more drab appearing than the male.
All other Amazon species can be reliably sexed by two commonly available methods:
A non invasive dna sample can be taken either by collecting a few drops of blood from a clipped toe nail or by plucking a few feathers. The dna analysis method is highly accurate but errors can occur as a result of human error in taking the samples. Your Veterinarian should be consulted for further details.
Many breeders rely on the surgical sexing method to not only determine the sex of their Amazons but also to confirm the health status of the bird's internal reproductive organs. This minimally invasive procedure involves making a small incision in the birds abdomen under anesthetic, and using an endoscope to view the reproductive organs.
Q: I have a double yellow-headed amazon given to me by someone else. I think he was abused and does not want to be touched but will follow me around (on the floor). A lot of the time he sits in his cage and seems to be unhappy. I was wondering if I got him a female, would he be more content? All I can find is an orange wing female. Do these species breed with each other? If not, would he still be content with the company?
A: You didn't say how long you have had your new bird. He may need time to get used to his new home. He also may not have been taught any manners. If he follows you around he is making an attempt to be with you. You do not need to get him a mate. Any female amazon would be considered a mate to him. Our wonderful amazons especially the double yellow-heads thrive on human companionship. Remember that these birds can live up to one hundred years. Does he have toys and other stimuli? Sometimes when birds have been abused or neglected they get "stupid" from lack of stimulation. My amazons love to watch television especially cartoons. They also love music and conversation. I think the common thread here is its going to take time to bring him around. Has he had a good vet check to make sure he is healthy? You could offer him food treats to bring him out of his shell. My guys love most types of people food especially chicken and pasta. Your bird is worth the effort and with a little patience on your part he should become a wonderful pet.
behavior and training is a complex issue that space limitations
prevent us from discussing in detail in this forum. As a new
Amazon owner you should consider getting a subscription to the
Pet Bird Report (see our links page).
A: Baby Amazons being plucked by their parents is a very rare situation and there is no definitive answer why it happened with the baby you purchased. In fact, none of the experienced breeders we consulted have personally experienced it in their Amazon flocks. Feather cysts in Amazons also occur very rarely. However, plucking of babies in the nest is fairly common in Cockatiels and Love Birds. It can be attributed to a very strong desire to breed again and the babies in the nest become a detriment to the breeding pair.
following quotes were taken from the book Clinical Avian Medicine
and Surgery by Harrison and Harrison: