Blue-fronted Amazon parrots are among the best-talking birds kept as pets. They have brilliant colorings, and each bird has distinct feather patterns to go along with its extroverted personality. Known as comedians and feathered show-offs, they are an entertaining bird. They really enjoy spending time with their human flock, which is why they make excellent pets. This bird is a larger parrot, so you will need to provide it with lots of room and your dedicated time.
Common Names: Blue-fronted Amazon parrot, turquoise-fronted Amazon parrot
Scientific Name: Amazona aestiva
Adult Size: 15 and 17 inches long, weighing between 14 and 15 ounces
Life Expectancy: Can live to 80 or 100 years; most commonly will live 40 or so years
Origin and History
Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus was the first to record the blue-fronted Amazon parrot in zoological records in 1758. The species has a broad habitat range. Wild populations can be found in Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and northern Argentina, extending south to Buenos Aires.
At least one feral population is known to be near Stuttgart, Germany. This flock is likely the result of pet parrots escaping and forming a group that grew over time.
The blue-fronted Amazon typically inhabits woodlands and forests. They live in large flocks and tend to form a strong bond with their mate. Like most parrots, they nest in tree cavities where the female performs the incubation duties and caring for the young.
Active and comical, blue-fronted Amazons are natural performers. They love to be around their owners and will ham it up for extra attention. When well-socialized, these parrots will enjoy the company of the entire family, though they tend to choose a favorite.
While generally non-aggressive and friendly with other birds, some individuals will try to protect their keepers when they perceive danger. This species may "dive-bomb" a perceived threat by swooping down on it. During breeding or molting periods, males may become territorial.
Overall, owners tend to describe this species as very social, independent, and easy-going. This bird tends to be calmer than other Amazons and can keep themselves occupied for quite some time. That doesn't mean it requires less attention. The blue-fronted Amazon wants to be part of the action; it will loudly let you know when it feels left out. Prolific talkers and singers, they vocalize often and can be very loud when they want to be.
Speech and Vocalizations
While blue-fronted Amazons are excellent talkers, they are even better screamers. You can expect a morning wake up call and one again at sunset. This 10-minute, twice-daily call is a carryover from their instinct to mark the time of day for their flockmates. For people who live in close quarters like apartment buildings, these birds can be a little too loud and annoy neighbors.
Blue-Fronted Amazon Colors and Markings
The primary color of this parrot is beautiful lime green. Their "blue-fronted" description comes from a blotch of blue or turquoise found just above the beak. Though this is the species' trademark, breeding has created a wide range of markings on the birds' heads. These markings make it easier to distinguish an individual parrot from the flock.
Some birds have no blue on the head while others have a head that is almost entirely turquoise. Yellow typically surrounds the blue and stretches over and under the head before giving way to the body's bright green feathers. You might even find birds with white patches.
Generally, the blue-fronted has touches of bright red on the shoulders and flight feathers, which may also have a violet tint when in flight. This also varies by individual, and some have only green shoulders, particularly wild parrots found in northwestern Argentina.
In captivity, there are a few color mutations such as cinnamon blue-fronted Amazons, which have brownish-yellow body feathers rather than green. The lutino variation typically has white feathers where you would generally expect yellow. There is also a blue mutation that has produced an entirely blue bird with patches of yellow.
Typically, the beaks are black, and the feet are grey. It's a monomorphic species, so the males and females look alike. The only way to know the sex of your bird is through DNA or surgical sexing.
Caring for a Blue-Fronted Amazon
These birds are highly intelligent and social, and they need regular human interaction. Don't adopt an Amazon parrot if you don't have plenty of time to spend with it.
The more activities around the house you can include your parrot in, the happier it will be. Whether you're watching TV, cleaning up, or eating dinner, the blue-fronted will want to be part of the action. A portable play stand that you can move from room to room makes a good exercise area. Your bird will amuse you with his acrobatic antics.
The minimum recommended cage size for an active bird like a blue-fronted Amazon is a 3-foot cube, though larger is better. If you can't get a sizeable cage, try to compensate by allowing it extra out-of-cage time each day.
Common Health Problems
Some bacterial infections can cause respiratory problems for Amazons, as well as a fatal fungal disease (aspergillosis) and nutritional deficiencies.
The main bacteria that are problematic for Amazons include E. coli, Citrobacter, Staph, and Strep. The bacteria can spread through water, seeds, old food, humid areas, wet cages, or dusty spots.
Blue-fronted Amazons are prone to obesity and hypothyroidism. An active lifestyle with a regular exercise regimen can help reduce the risk of getting those conditions.
Diet and Nutrition
In the wild, blue-fronted Amazons forage on fruits and berries, leaf buds, and blossoms, as well as seeds and nuts. It's also believed that they eat some proteins. Like all parrots, blue-fronted Amazons need a varied diet that mimics their natural foods.
Do not feed your Amazon avocados and chocolate as they are toxic to birds
Specially formulated pellets are an ideal food and should ideally represent approximately 75 to 80 percent of the bird’s diet. Fruits, vegetables, and greens should account for about 20 to 25 percent of the daily diet. Seeds and nuts are high-fat foods that you can offer as occasional treats. Start by giving your bird 1 cup of pellet-based parrot mix and a 1/2 cup of fruits and vegetables daily, then adjust according to their appetite.
Essentially, many people foods that are considered healthy are okay to feed these parrots in moderation, including chicken.
All Amazons are active parrots and the blue-fronted should be allowed a minimum of 3 to 4 hours per day outside the cage. This activity allows it to play and stretch his wings and to be part of the family.
These birds love to climb and chew, so Amazon parrot owners should provide their pets with plenty of toys, including ladders and ropes to swing on. Keep a few extra chew toys ready to replace any that become too worn. Do not let your bird run out of playthings to entertain itself, especially if you are not around.
Bath time is a special joy of the blue-fronted Amazon. Provide a water bowl for splashing around to its heart's content. Some birds like to be spritzed with water while others may beg for a bath in the sink. Follow your bird's lead and use it as another bonding opportunity beyond speech and trick training.
Social and friendly
Intelligent, can learn to talk and do tricks
Can be loud, not well-suited for apartments
Requires at least 3 to 4 hours of supervised out-of-cage time
Where to Adopt or Buy a Blue-Fronted Amazon
While you can usually find Amazons at exotic pet stores, it's best to go through a bird breeder. They will be able to verify your new pet's origins and his health, which is essential for any exotic bird. Contact local bird breeders in your area and ask if you can visit them and spend time with their birds. Seeing a blue-fronted Amazon parrot in its home environment will give you quite a bit of insight into what it's like to live with one. The more you can visit with it before bringing it home, the better.
Some online resources where you can find blue-fronted Amazons include:
Pricing ranges from $500 to $3,000, depending on its age, hand-tameness, and breeder reputation.
More Pet Bird Species and Further Research
If a blue-fronted Amazon sounds like a good fit, you may be interested in similar species, check out:
- Red-Lored Amazon Species Profile
- White-Fronted Amazon Species Profile
- Yellow-Naped Amazon Species Profile
Otherwise, take a look at all of our other large parrot species profiles.
Huang, J. and J. Mayer. Avian Aspergillosis: What Every Veterinarian Needs to Know. Today's Veterinary Practice
Hoppes, S. Bacterial Diseases of Pet Birds. Merck Manual Veterinary Manual
van Zeeland, Y. Diagnosing Endocrine Disease in Parrots. Vet Times
Potentially Dangerous Items for Your Pet. US Food & Drug Administration