Red-lored Amazon parrots are impressive and charming birds prized for their beauty and intelligence. One of the most popular pet parrots, they have comical personalities, and most have an incredible talking ability, which adds to their appeal. This species is known for having a naughty streak if not trained well, so plan on being a disciplinarian with this bird.
Common Names: Scarlet-lored Amazon, Red-fronted Amazon, Golden-cheeked Amazon
Scientific Name: Amazona autumnalis with three subspecies: Salvini Amazon (A.a. salvini), diademed Amazon (Amazona autumnalis diadema), lilacine or Ecuadorian red-lored (A.a. lilacina)
Adult Size: 13 to 14 inches
Life Expectancy: Up to 80 years
Origin and History
The red-lored Amazon parrot is native to Mexico, Central America, and South America. Their primary range is from eastern Mexico to Ecuador, though there are a few flocks in central Brazil.
They enjoy nesting in tree cavities of the tropical forests and tend to live in small flocks. In some areas, human development and trapping for the pet trade have endangered these Amazons.
This species was first noted in 1758 by Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus, creator of the modern taxonomy system. There are a few subspecies of the red-lored Amazon parrot, which look the same with differences in size.
How to Select the Right Pet Bird for You
Red-lored Amazons are intelligent, charismatic birds that like to be with their owners as well as other birds. They bond quickly to human family members, and some tend to pick their favorite people and become loyal, one-person birds.
These birds are very talented talkers and singers. Amazons, in general, are rather vocal birds that enjoy interacting with you verbally. Potential owners should also be aware that all Amazons can scream and most often do. If you adopt one, expect a 10-minute wake-up call at sunrise and sunset every day.
Like many parrots, these birds can be aggressive and bite if not properly trained. They are known for having a naughty streak and may use their beaks to "discipline" their keepers. Protect against them chewing up electrical wires (a serious hazard) and other things around the house.
Speech and Vocalizations
Like most Amazon parrots, red-lored Amazons have a renowned ability to mimic human speech. They pretend like they are talking or that they are a part of your conversation. It may sound like silly mumbling, but it is fun to listen to. They may develop a small vocabulary of words. These select words may be distinct and clear. They can imitate laughing, beeps, and alarms, which are usually the first things they learn and repeat.
Red-Lored Amazon Colors and Markings
The red-lored Amazon has primarily vivid green feathers. It boasts bright patches of red on its forehead, which is where it gets its name. There are also touches of red on the wings, and some birds have yellow or orange on their cheeks. They have horn-colored beaks with black tips and flesh-colored feet and legs.
Red-lored Amazons are a monomorphic species, a fancy way of saying that the males and females look alike. If you look closely at their eyes, males have golden irises, and females have brown ones. Even then, it is difficult to tell the two sexes apart without a DNA sexing test.
Caring for the Red-Lored Amazon
At a minimum, a cage for a red-lored Amazon should be three-foot square. Of course, bigger is always better. Provide the largest cage you possibly can for your parrot. To keep these birds from getting restless and into trouble, time out of their cage is a must. Play gyms can provide an oasis for your Amazon where it can be away from its cage and viewed as a safe perch.
Red-lored Amazons have a reputation for being noisy. Potential owners should keep this in mind if they are sensitive to loud noises or have close neighbors. While training can help curb undesirable vocalizations, you can expect to deal with some screaming.
Common Health Problems
Amazons are prone to bacterial, viral, and fungal infections like psittacosis and aspergillosis. Birds that do not receive ample mental stimulation and exercise are susceptible to the self-mutilating behavior of feather plucking. If not fed a well-balanced diet, red-lored Amazons have a history of developing fatty liver disease. Signs of this disease include a distended breast or stomach, lethargy, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, and diarrhea.
Diet and Nutrition
In the wild, red-lored Amazons eat seeds, fruit, berries, nuts, greens, blossoms and buds. An Amazon's diet should consist primarily of high-quality pellets and the occasional healthy seed such as flaxseed, milk thistle seed, or hemp hearts.
A supplement of leafy greens, root vegetables, occasional grains, and nut treats will round out a balanced diet for an Amazon. To quicken your food preparation time and save some money, prepare a large batch of a supplemental mixture of vegetables and grains or "chop."
Offer chop or fresh fruits and vegetables daily. It should comprise at least 20 percent of the bird's diet. 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.
Amazons are active parrots. They should be allowed a minimum of three to four hours per day outside their cage to play and stretch their wings. These birds love to climb and chew. Provide Amazon parrots plenty of toys, including ladders to climb, ropes, and swings to perch on.
These birds require sturdy toys to clutch and chew. Chewing helps them exercise their jaws and assists with the grinding down and grooming of their powerful beaks. Chewing on wooden and leather toys is an outlet for their instinct of digging for grubs in rotting wood as well as pulling on bark strips to eat or expanding a nest hole. Providing plenty of appropriately-sized toys will likely curb a lot of unwanted, potentially destructive behavior around your home.
Social and friendly
Likes to talk and mimic human sounds
Tendency for loud squawks and screams
Requires at three to four hours of exercise, mental stimulation
Where to Adopt or Buy a Red-Lored Amazon
Contact a parrot adoption and education agency and ask if you can visit their birds. Seeing one of these parrots in its home environment will give you quite a bit of insight into what it's like to live with one. Breeders sell red-lored Amazons in the range of $1,000 to $3,000. Rescues, adoption organizations, and breeders where you can find red-lored Amazon parrots include:
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.