Red-Lored Amazon Parrot

A Popular Pet Bird That Is Very Loyal

Red Lored Amazon Parrot
Tom Brakefield/Getty Images

Red-lored Amazon parrots are impressive and charming birds that are prized for their beauty and intelligence the world over. One of the most popular pet parrots, they have comical personalities and most have an amazing talking ability, which adds to their appeal. And yet, this species is known for being rather naughty if not properly trained, so be prepared for some birdy discipline.

Breed Overview

Common Names: Red-lored Amazon, yellow-cheeked Amazon, red-lored parrot, primrose-cheeked Amazon

Scientific Name: Amazona autumnalis

Adult Size: 12 and 14 inches long, wingspan about 15 to 17 inches, weighing around 1 pound

Life Expectancy: Can live about 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 also a few subspecies of the red-lored Amazon parrot:

  • Diademed Amazon parrot: Amazona autumnalis diadema
  • Lilacine (or Ecuadorian red-lored) Amazon parrot: Amazona autumnalis lilacina
  • Salvin's Amazon parrot: Amazona autumnalis salvini


Red-lored Amazons are charismatic birds that like to be with their owners as well as other birds. They bond quickly to human family members and some have a tendency to pick their favorite people and become one-person birds. In fact, loyal is a word that is often used to describe them as pets.

These birds are very talented talkers and singers. Amazons, in general, are rather vocal birds who will enjoy interacting with you verbally. Potential owners should also be aware that all Amazons can scream and most do rather often. If you adopt one, expect a 10-minute call at sunrise and sunset every day.

Like many parrots, some of these birds can be aggressive and bite if not properly trained. Owners even comment on the naughty side of otherwise perfect parrots. Sometimes they use their beaks to "discipline" their keepers. They've also been known to chew up electrical wires (a serious hazard) and other things around the house.

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.

This is a monomorphic species, so the males and females look alike. If you get close enough to their eyes, the male should have a golden iris while a female's iris is brown. Even then, it's very difficult to tell the two sexes apart without a DNA sexing test.

Red-lored Amazon Parrot
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Caring for Red-Lored Amazons

At a minimum, a cage for a red-lored Amazon should be 3-foot square. Of course, bigger is always better. Provide the largest cage you possibly can for your parrot, and you'll be rewarded with a healthy and happy bird.

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 he can be away from his cage and remain safely perched on a place he knows is his own. 

Red-lored Amazons have a reputation for being rather 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, Amazon owners are guaranteed to deal with their share of screaming.

If you think you want 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. By doing plenty of homework, you'll be able to tell if this is the right bird for you.

Feeding Red-Lored Amazons

Like all parrots, a balanced diet is crucial to their quality of life and longevity. They need a varied diet consisting of high-quality pellets and the occasional healthy seed such as flaxseed, milk thistle seed, or hemp hearts. Leafy greens, root vegetables, and the occasional meal of grains, along with a nut treat now and then, will do your red-lored Amazon good. 

Learning how to make "chop" might work best with if you have a hectic schedule. This homemade, prepared bird food ensures that your Amazon gets a healthy percentage of each food that they need. It also saves you time and money.


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 as well. It is recommended that Amazon parrot owners provide their pets with plenty of toys, including ladders to climb and ropes and swings to swing on.

Keep in mind that they require sturdy toys to beat on and chew. Parrots need to exercise their jaws as well as wear down and groom those powerful beaks.

Chewing on wooden and leather toys is an outlet for the natural 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 also curb a lot of unwanted and potentially destructive behavior around your home.