The white-fronted Amazon parrot, although medium-sized for a parrot, is the smallest of the Amazon species. Despite its smaller size, this bird has an enormous, assertive personality. Even in the wild, it often approaches people. In captivity, this playful, friendly bird tends to form close bonds with a single person. This Amazon is favored by bird enthusiasts for its size, personality, colorful plumage, and great talking ability—along with its relative affordability.
Common Names: White-fronted Amazon parrot, white-browed Amazon parrot, spectacled amazon parrot
Scientific Name: Amazona albifrons subsp. albifrons; there are two other subspecies: the lesser white-fronted Amazon (Amazona alibrons subsp. nana), and the Sonora white-fronted Amazon parrot (Amazona albifrons subsp. saltuensis)
Adult Size: A smaller Amazon species, white-fronted Amazons typically reach only about 10 inches in length.
Life Expectancy: 50-plus years in captivity
Origin and History
White-fronted Amazon parrots' native range extends from Mexico to western Costa Rica, as well as Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico. Their preferred habitat is brushy grasslands and tropical deciduous forests. They may live in pairs or small flocks of 20 to 30 birds.
The bird was first described and categorized in 1788 by Swedish naturalist Anders Sparrman. Its numbers are prolific in the wild.
Beautiful and intelligent, a white-fronted Amazon parrot can be a delightful pet for the owner it bonds to. Although it may be shy around others, its love of interactive play with its owner can be a delight for others to witness.
White-fronted Amazons are not well suited as pets for families with children but may be great for a single owner. They bond strongly with their owners, but some tend to become "one-person birds." It is best to socialize them at a young age, or they may become reclusive and testy as they get older. They are a good choice for owners who have plenty of spare time to spend with their bird.
Like many Amazon species, some white-fronted Amazons some may go through a hormonal bluffing stage as they reach maturity. While hand-fed Amazon parrots typically make loving, affectionate pets, the bluffing stage may turn birds aggressive during adolescence (age 4 months to 1 year), and some owners can't handle it. While the phase does pass, it can sometimes last up to 2 years. For this reason, this bird is best suited for those who have experience keeping medium- to large-sized birds.
Speech and Vocalizations
In addition to being a great mimic and talker, the white-fronted Amazon parrot has a variety of vocalizations: squealing, barking sounds, loud, harsh trills and notes, and other short, sharp noises. Since it is a noisy bird, it is not suited for apartment or condominium living with close neighbors.
White-Fronted Amazon Parrot Colors and Markings
White-fronted Amazons are primarily green with patches of white and blue on their foreheads. They have bright red rings around their eyes, which has led many to call them "spectacled Amazons." They have sparse patches of light blue on their chests and bellies, and their wings have deep blue and red edges. There is a brilliant red blaze on the underside of the tail feathers, and they have beige-colored legs and light gray beaks.
The lesser white-fronted is slightly smaller and darker in color, while the Sonora white-fronted has more greenish-blue on top of the head.
Unlike most other Amazon parrots, you can visually distinguish between males and females of this species. The female lacks the red edge on its wings.
Caring for White-Fronted Amazon Parrots
Amazon parrots thrive on social interaction, and they need it to remain healthy and happy. Neglected birds often fall into destructive behavior patterns and depression, which can manifest itself in various physical and emotional problems.
Set aside time each day for one-on-one interaction with the bird, which will establish and maintain a healthy bond.
Potential owners should remember that if they adopt a white-fronted Amazon, they are making a long-term commitment. These birds can live more than 60 years if properly cared for, so caring for one is not a commitment to be taken lightly.
Make sure your white-fronted Amazon parrot has a roomy cage. Most experts recommend a cage with at least a 2-foot by 3-foot footprint and a height of 3 to 5 feet. The cage should have ample play equipment inside, including climbing apparatus like ropes and ladders; these are acrobatic birds.
This is a hardy bird that can do well in protected outdoor aviaries. White-fronted Amazons tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but make sure to keep your bird protected from drafts. Bathe your parrot regularly with warm water to keep their feathers moist and clean.
Common Health Problems
White-fronted Amazon parrots can be prone to intestinal infections while they are acclimating to a new environment but are quite hardy after that. Some common illnesses they are susceptible to include:
Diet and Nutrition
In the wild, white-fronted parrots eat mostly fruits, berries, plants, seeds and nuts, corn, and some protein.
Like all Amazon parrots, white-fronted Amazons kept as pets do best on a high-quality pelleted diet, supplemented with seed mix and daily servings of fresh bird-safe fruits and vegetables. Feed approximately 1/3 to 1/2 cup of pelleted food and 1/3 to 1/2 cup of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. A raw and varied diet will help ensure that your bird maintains top nutrition.
As with all parrots, avocado, chocolate, rhubarb, coffee beans, and alcohol are toxic to this bird.
Amazon parrots are prone to excessive weight gain, so they must be allowed room to exercise every day. If you want a white-fronted Amazon, you should be able to give it a minimum of 3 to 4 hours outside of its cage per day. This activity will allow the bird to burn off excess calories and stretch its wings and muscles, as well as to provide it with essential mental stimulation.
These birds are also intense chewers and will need plenty of toys to chew on and play with. Even providing the bird with branches and twigs may help channel the chewing instinct and save your furniture from damage.
Social, affectionate, loyal
Intelligent, a great mimic and talker
Smallest Amazon, requires slightly smaller cage than larger Amazons
Can get loud when it wants to; not recommended for apartment living
May have biting, aggressive period during its adolescence; not recommended for families with young children
Where to Adopt or Buy a White-Fronted Amazon Parrot
Before purchasing a white-fronted Amazon from a bird store or breeders, check animal shelters and rescue organizations. They can cost from $1,000 to $3,000 from a breeder. Online resources can point you in the right direction of breeders or rescues:
If buying through a breeder, make sure you interview them, look at the general health of their birds, check out their living conditions, and talk to past customers. Signs you should avoid the breeder include cramped living conditions, inactive birds, and breeders who avoid your questions or do not seem to have much information on their birds.
More Pet Bird Species and Further Research
If the white-fronted Amazon parrot interests you, you might want to check out these other related species:
Otherwise, check out all of our other Amazon parrot species profiles.