Blue-fronted Amazon parrots are among the most common birds kept as pets. They have brilliant colorings and each bird has its own distinct feather patterns to go along with their extroverted personalities.
Known as comedians and feathered show-offs, they're an entertaining bird that really enjoys spending time with their human flock, which is why they make excellent pets. You'll also find them to be proficient talkers. They are a larger parrot, so you will need to provide lots of room and time to give one a happy and healthy life.
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 very broad range, with 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 is likely the result of pet parrots escaping and forming a flock 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 takes care of most of the incubation duties and caring for the young.
Though it's unclear how many blue-fronted Amazons live in the wild, they are considered endangered. Their status on the ICUN Red List categorizes them as "least concern." Despite a perceived decline in numbers, the justification for this not-yet-vulnerable status is that their range is so vast that dangers like habitat loss and hunting for the pet trade may not affect them much. However, it's also noted that this is likely to change in the future.
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 good with other birds, some individuals have been known to protect their keepers when they perceive danger. Dive-bombing the aggressor is a common behavior in these times. Additionally, the males may become slightly territorial when breeding or molting.
Prolific talkers and singers, they vocalize often and can be very loud when they want to be. While blue-fronted Amazons are good talkers, they are even better screamers. You can expect a morning wake up call and one again at sunset, carryovers from their natural instincts, though they generally last for just 10 minutes. For people who live in close quarters like apartment buildings, these birds may be a little too loud and annoy your neighbors.
Overall, owners tend to describe this species as very social, independent, and easy-going. They tend to be calmer than other Amazons and can keep themselves occupied for quite some time. That doesn't mean they require less attention. Really, the blue-fronted just wants to be part of the action and he'll let you know when he feels left out.
Colors and Markings
The primary color of this parrot is beautiful lime green. Their common name 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. This makes 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 normally 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 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 sexing or during surgery.
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.
In fact, 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 can become its home away from home and it will reward you with his acrobatic antics wherever you go.
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 very large cage, try to compensate by allowing him extra out-of-cage time each day.
While you can usually find them at 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 important 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.
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.
A healthy diet should consist of high-quality pellets, a quality seed mix, and daily servings of fresh, bird-safe fruits and vegetables. Essentially, many people foods that are considered healthy are okay to feed these parrots in moderation and owners say they're particularly fond of chicken. Do not feed avocados and chocolate as they are toxic to birds.
All Amazons are active parrots and the blue-fronted should be allowed a minimum of three to four hours per day outside the cage, especially if their cage is small. This allows him to play and stretch his wings and to be part of the family.
These birds love to climb and chew, so it's recommended that Amazon parrot owners 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 and your bird will not run out of playthings to entertain himself with when you're not around.
Bath time is a special joy of the blue-fronted Amazon. Provide a water bowl just for this and it will splash 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.
More Pet Bird Species and Further Research
If you’re interested in similar species, check out:
Otherwise, check out all of our other Amazon parrot species profiles.
International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. Amazona aestiva. 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22686332A93107322.en