Animal-World > Birds > Amazon Parrots > Double Yellow-Headed Amazon

Double Yellow-headed Amazon

Yellow-headed Amazon, Yellow-headed Parrot

Family: Psittacidae Double Yellow-headed Amazon Amazona oratrix, also called Yellow-headed Amazon or Yellow-headed ParrotAmazona oratrixPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Greg Rothschild
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I've had my double yellow headed Amazon since she was a baby, she is 20 now. I relocated for work to another house and have been away from her for the past 5 years... (more)  Lynn

Double Yellow-Headed Amazons are excellent talkers and frequently sing very well too!

The Double Yellow-headed Amazon Amazona oratrix, is an extremely intelligent, attractive and entertaining parrot. Also known as the Yellow-headed Amazon and Yellow-headed Parrot, this is a prize bird that is particularly handsome with a high aptitude for speaking. While young these mostly green birds have only a yellow forehead and maybe a dappling of yellow across the rest of the head. The completely yellow head of mature birds takes place through molting over a period of about 4 years. The adult is a lively, spectacular colored pet bird.

The Yellow-headed Amazon has been popular as a pet for several 100 years. These birds are very inquisitive. They are definitely not a timid or shy bird and are known to be drama queens/kings. The Double Yellow Headed Amazon will usually attach itself to one member of the family as a mate but will tolerate the other members of the family as part of the flock.

Similar to other Amazons they are very sociable and active, but with them it's to an unusual degree. Depending on the individual bird, Double Yellow-headed Amazons can have an incredible vocabulary. They are considered the best talkers of all the Amazon birds, and second only to the African Grey Parrots. These parrots also strongly desire the attention of their owners, and will perform all sorts of amusing antics to gain and keep it. Such things as fanning out their tails, quick wild head movements, turning their head upside down, and rapid in-out dilations of their pupils.

This particular amazon can be feisty. Early socialization and training will help alleviate that to a great degree. The Yellow-headed Amazon is very social on the one hand, enjoying its human companion and their company. Yet on the other hand it can be quite independent, needing and wanting alone time and its own territory. A human needs to understand their birds' body language. If they are not in the mood for company or interaction, they will let you know. . Learn when its head is down and its beak and wings are in position, that it means "NO", and if you are persistent you might get nipped. The Yellow-headed Amazon is also prone to a hormonal stage as it matures, which is why they are recommended for an experienced bird owner.

With the Double Yellow Head you get the best of both worlds. A parrot that will enjoy the interaction with its human, eating and playing or even watching television. Yet it can also entertain itself without being demanding, content just playing with its toys, for hours at a time.

For more information about Amazon Birds see:
Amazon Parrot: Information and Care

Geographic Distribution
Amazona oratrix
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  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Psittacidae
  • Genus: Amazona
  • Species: oratrix
Double Yellow-headed Amazon

Report Broken Video
Double Yellow-headed Amazon Parrot Singing

Double Yellow-headed Amazon Parrot singing Yo Ho - A Pirate's Life

Scientific name

Amazona oratrix oratrix
Previously: Amazona ochrocephala oratrix

Amazona oratrix oratrix (Ridgway, 1887)
Amazona oratrix tresmariae (Nelson, 1900)

More recently the birds in the ochrocephala group have been under review, with some classification adjustments being made. In in 1991, a recommendation to reclassify this group was made by the Committee on Classification and Nomenclature of the American Ornithologists' Union. This has resulted in the Amazona ochrocephela now being identified as the Yellow-crowned Amazon only. The Yellow-naped Amazon is now described as Amazona auropalliata, and the Yellow-headed Amazon is now Amazona Oratrix.


The Double Yellow-headed Amazon Amazona oratrix was first described by Ridgway in 1887. It is also known as the Yellow-headed Amazon and Yellow-headed Parrot. It is native to central and northwestern areas of Central America, the coastal regions of Mexico. In the wild they live in pairs or flocks, and are sometimes seen singly. They inhabit forests, savannahs along the forest edge, and wooded areas where they feed on fruits, seeds, nuts, berries, and the blossoms and leafy buds of foliage.

The Amazona oratrix has three recognized subspecies, and a couple others that are not:

  • Tres Marias Amazon - Tres Marie Yellow-headed Amazon A. oratrix tresmariae
    This subspecies from the Islas Marías is more colorful. Its color shows a brilliant yellow which extends onto its chest and intermittently down to the start of the tail. It has a vivid red on the bend of the wing and is also missing the black barring on the shoulders.
  • Belize Yellow-headed Amazon A. oratrix belizensis
    This subspecies is found widespread in coastal Belize. This Yellow-headed Amazon, is yellow only on the upper head to a line from lores to earspot, including the upper cheeks.
  • Honduras Yellow-headed Amazon A. oratrix hondurensis
    This subspecies is found in the Sula Valley, Honduras. Its yellow coloration is only on the fore head and the nape.
  • Greater Yellow Headed Amazon - Magna Amazon A. oratrix Magna
    Another race, the Magna Yellow-headed Amazon A. oratrix Magna, is from the Gulf slope of Mexico. It is not a recognized subspecies. Say it is smaller and the variations in color are a result of location. It looks identical to the nominate species as a juvenile, and does have the black barring on the shoulders as an adult.
  • Yellow-headed Parrot A. oratrix guatemalensis
    The guatemalensis s found in north-western Honduras and adjacent eastern Guatemala It is also not a recognized subspecies, but resembles the Belize Amazon A. oratrix belizensi so is commonly included in the subspecies. It may be an undescribed subspecies.


The Amazona oratrix is on the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species as Endangered (EN).


The Double Yellow-headed Amazon is generally green with paler, more yellowish on the under parts. The entire head and throat are yellow and the bend of the wing is red with some yellow mixed in. The carpal edge and thighs are yellow. The ring around the eye is unfeathered and white. The iris of the eye is orange and the beak is horned colored turning gray towards the base on the upper mandible.

Yellow-headed Amazons are surprisingly heavy bodied. Mature birds are a bit larger than other Yellow-crowned Amazons , these Amazons reach 15 -17 inches (38- 43 cm) long from the head to the tip of the tail. Maturity is considered in the 4 - 5 year range and the life span for these creatures is 60 - 80 years.

Lutino and blue variations of the Yellow-headed Amazon have been produced in aviculture as well as a myriad of other combinations. This species will hybridize with other yellow Amazons in nature. So the exact feathering and color in the wild as well as in captivity can be quite different in each bird.

The immature bird has only a patch of yellow on the forehead with maybe a dappling of yellow across the rest of the head, and less red at the bend of the wing. The completely yellow head of mature birds takes place through molting over a period of about 4 years.

Care and feeding

In the wild, the diet of the Double Yellow-headed Amazon consists of fruits, plants, seeds and nuts and probably some protein. A pet bird will enjoy a varied diet, including a quality seed mix or a pelleted diet, and many fresh fruits and vegetables. Pellets will work if started at an early age.

Louis is a juvenile Yellow-headed Amazon, Amazona oratrixYellow-headed Amazon (juvenile) Photo © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough

"Louis" is a juvenile Double Yellow-headed Amazon
about four and a half months old. When he (or she)
gets older the entire head and throat will be yellow.
Lou is headed to being a great talker since he is
very vocal and already seems to be forming words!

Plenty of human food that is nutritious can be offered, and they like chicken. They like to eat at the table and enjoy eating with their family. Avocado and chocolate are toxic to any parrot. They will let you know when it's dinner time.


A roomy cage is required for the Double Yellow-headed Amazons. Amazon parrot cages must not be too confining, so get one that your pet will be able to feel comfortable in. It is their territory and their safe place.This parrot likes to climb and play, and enjoys expanding its wings. It is recommended that a cage be 2 x 3 feet wide and 2 1/2 to 5 feet high, and with a play pen top. A great thing is to have a hanging perch above that for climbing.

Yellow-headed Parrots can tolerate varying temperatures, but they need to be kept away from any drafts. They love to be out of their cage on a playpen, and will enjoy interacting with their human as well as playing with toys. A variety of perches should be used of varying size and texture. A rougher textured perch instead of the smooth, doll-rod types, makes it easier for them to perch and is better for their feet and legs. A concrete perch can be placed as the highest perch in the cage and next to a toy. At times during the day they will perch there and it will save them (and you) from the ordeal of having their nails filed.

Learn to have fun during bath time. Whether you spritz your amazon with water or an aloe spritz, or just put him in the kitchen sink, make it fun. Your amazon will teach you how he likes to be bathed.


The basic cage care includes daily cleaning of the water and food dishes. Weekly you should wash all the perches and dirty toys, and the floor should be washed about every other week. A total hosing down and disinfecting of an aviary should be done yearly, replacing anything that needs to be freshened, such as old dishes, toys and perches.

Social Behaviors

The Yellow Headed Amazon enjoys human interaction as well as interaction with other birds. In the wild they are very social birds living in groups with the available food supply determining the size of the group. Many times there are several hundred seen in a group. They also form permanent pairs when they are sexually mature. However, they are also seen singly in the wild, which may be the reason for their more independent nature.

If you are looking for a quiet, shy, timid bird, this amazon is not for you. It is a highly social bird who loves to be the center of attention. They will learn tricks, and learn to play tricks on you. They look forward to interaction and games and will provide you with many fun moments and a lot of laughter.


The Double Yellow Headed Amazon quickly becomes accustomed to a new environment and its keeper, and is then ready to start bird training. Generally though, you should give a new arrival a few days to get use to you, your voice and its cage before trying to handle it. A hand fed baby will not need much taming and can often be handled right away, as it is use to human attention.

"They love to learn and find their humans to be quite entertaining at times. I would say to my Double Yellow Head "I'm a bird, I can fly. I'm a bat I lay down'. While saying this I would hold her high in the air and let her flap her wings and then I would lay her gently down in the palm of my hand and let her rest there. This taught her to land on my hand in the air and to lie down on her back. She enjoyed the game and she learned"... Cheryl Galloway

For information about training your Yellow-headed Amazon see: Amazon Parrot Care: Handling and Training


The Yellow-headed Parrot is an active bird and needs plenty of toys, and a hanging perch would be great. A moveable perch that can follow you around the house is almost a requirement. It likes to play, will make its own music and dance, and is quite an acrobat. They entertain themselves quite well and you will enjoy it.

Sexing - Sexual Differences

Double Yellow Headed Amazons are not sexually dimorphic, females look like males. If gender identification is important (for example for breeding birds) DNA / Feather or surgical sexing is recommended.


These Amazons are commonly bred in captivity. They must be mature, 4 - 5 years of age. The sexes must be confirmed and the pair must be harmonious, bonded with each other. They will need a nest box that is 31"-39" (80-100 cm) high with an inside diameter of 12"-14" (30-35 cm) and an opening of 4"-5" (10-12 cm). Provide some soft bedding material inside on the bottom of the box.

At the onset of warm weather (April to early May) courtship will begin. The hen will then lay two to five eggs which incubate for about 28 days. The young will leave the nest at 8-9 weeks old. As with many parrots, the male will eat for both himself and the female while she incubates the eggs and feeds the young. The male regurgitates the food for the female to eat. He gets a lot less picky about what he eats at these times.

Potential Problems

In the wild, amazons will call out to each other first thing in the morning and then again as the sun is setting. So early in the morning your Double Yellow Headed Amazon will be calling for you and he will warn you when the sun sets that it's bed time. These two periods of the day, which usually last about 10 minutes, can be a little noisy with an Amazon. These parrots when well cared for will seldom become ill. Though it is often difficult to determine illness, some visible signs of illness to be aware of are:

  • ruffled plumage
  • listlessness
  • drooping wings
  • sagging body
  • extreme mood changes
  • having no appetite
  • bulges in feathering
  • partially closed or watery eyes
  • swelling of the eyelids
  • rasping
  • difficulty breathing
  • excessive saliva
  • dirty vent
  • any change in the feces not apparently diet related.

Some of the more common illnesses are:

  • Psittacosis (chlamydiosis or parrot fever)
  • bacterial, viral, or fungal infections
  • feather picking (results of boredom, poor diet, sexual frustration, lack of bathing)
  • allergies
  • chewing flight and tail feathers by juveniles
  • beak malformations in chicks
  • Papillomas
  • kidney disease (gout)
  • toxicity
  • heavy metal poisoning
  • lipomas in older birds.

If you notice any of these bird illnesses in your Yellow Headed Amazon, immediately provide a warm, draft free, secure environment kept at about 86°F (30°C). Place food and water close to the perch where it is easily accessible. An ailing parrot should be taken to a avian veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.


The Double Yellow Headed Amazon is readily available and it should be easy to find one in a pet store or from breeders in your area. They can be rather expensive.


Author: Clarice Brough CAS, Cheryl Galloway
Lastest Animal Stories on Double Yellow-Headed Amazon

Lynn - 2016-10-12
I've had my double yellow headed Amazon since she was a baby, she is 20 now. I relocated for work to another house and have been away from her for the past 5 years only getting to see her 5 times a year. I just relocated her to be with me from east to west coast. She flew on the plane with me in the cabin. She has a new cage almost double the size now. However, it's been 4 days and she won't eat or drink. She is used to a Lixit water bottle and I arranged it in her new cage the same way as the old was set up. I also put a bowl of water. After 2 days I took her to the vet to be checked, they ran every test, bloodwork, etc. the only thing they thought she could possibly have a small bacterial infection fro her fecal test bust really weren't positive of this so gave an antibiotic twice a day. They also gave her IV fluids. I've been trying to force several 1cc water from a syringe to her but it is a fight. I've tried feeding her everything imaginable, she just drops everything I hand her. She's never been sick a day in her life and always been a great eater. She won't even go near her water. Do you think this is due to the move and new environment? If so how long could this last? I've spent the last 4 days solely devoted and doting over her with no progress. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I can try or what the issue could be?

betty moody - 2016-06-26
wanting to buy a baby double yellow head parrot

Janet - 2015-01-18
I have owned my double yellowhead for about 35 years now. He/she was 6 when I got him. He was spoon fed and even to this day he melts in my hands when I hold him. My husband on the otherhand has been bit many times. I have noticed gradually for the past 8 years his tail feathers turning yellow. He has a great appitite and I give him lots of fruits and vegetables along with the best dry parrot food I can find. Lately he has been making a clucking sound when I enter the room. Perhaps Spring is in the air but I dont remember him/her doing that in the past. My question is does anyone know why his tail is turning yellow? Also is there a way I can tell what sex my bird is without having him surgically screened? He/she does stick his rump up when Im around. I love my bird.. birds need a lot of patience and attention which I have. I dont recommend them if you don't.

  • Clarice Brough - 2015-01-22
    Sounds like a great bird! The feathers changing color can be caused by diet, or a disruption in the diet when the feathers are forming. With the right foods, they should molt back to their normal coloration. Formulated diets (pellets or crumbles) should make up about 75% of its food for a more complete, balanced nutrition. Dark leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits can make up about 20-25% of the diet. Treats should be limited to about 5%. There's a slight chance that it could be a liver disease, so it doesn't hurt to have a veterinarian check up. An avian vet can also DNA sex your bird with a blood sample. That's less invasive for the bird and very accurate.
  • Leslie - 2016-09-21
    He is either molting or he is wanting to reproduce. Most likely he's at sexual maturity.
carolyn - 2016-02-01
I just got an Amazon double headed yellow he is about 20 years old he seems a little scared is there anything I can do to make him feel better prior owners said he dosnt talk much can a bird his age learn

  • Leslie - 2016-09-21
    Give him wood to chew on. Give him nutri- berries from pet smart. Get a carrier to take him or her with you on car rides. They love to know that you are a life long friend. And at 20 they are looking to really bond. Just pet on them as mush as possible. And give them shreddable toys and good nutrition. My boy REALLY LOVES CHICKEN AND SHRIMP AND Tea. Oh and fish sticks. He also loves a shower and being on my shoulder while I do EVERYTHING. I've had him since he was old enough to sell. Oh, play songs. They will pick a song they like and mimic it. Mine sings and calls the dogs. Believe me it's never too old to learn. They are so intelligent.
betty moody - 2016-06-26
wanting to buy a baby double yellow head parrot

Marco - 2016-02-11
I wanna but a baby amazon yellowhead...l love birds. I have a cocktail and another green bird with size of the a cage about 5×2×3 and l want a yellowhead

  • Shawn Morris - 2016-04-17
    Double yellow heads will start breeding in May. take a look at our website
Natali - 2011-09-24
I have a male double yellow headed amazon parrot that I would like to sell as my husband and I work all the time and just don't have enough time to spend with him.

  • Charlie Roche - 2011-09-24
    Hi, how about you give people some additional information. Sex, age, speaks, friendly, feisty - they usually are -
  • Ruben M Romero - 2016-01-27
    Looking to buy your parrot,
jorge - 2015-07-05
Parrots & Eggs For Sale We are offering freshly laid and fertile parrot egg species from weaned Aviary at affordable prices. 100% candle tested fertility for hatching gorgeous & healthy chicks. We are selling to persons interested in breeding and hand rearing up their own birds from egg stage. We assist clients with successfully articles & techniques. Available egg species are as follows: Hyacinth Macaw, Sollomons Island Eclectus, Congo African Grey, Timneh Grey, Umbrella Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Goffin Cockatoo, Gallah Cockatoo, Blue and Gold Macaw, Scarlet Macaw, Greenwing Macaw, Dyh Amazon, Toco Toucan, Cockatiel, and Conures eggs. Affiliated to the above eggs are chicks and few parrots for sale too. Email( ). We incubate eggs during shipment at standard temperatures, will replace eggs in case of any adverse situations during delivery.

  • mohammed - 2015-08-20
    good day I need to buy Double Yellow-Headed Amazons ( baby or eggs ) im located in United Arab Emirates Dubai contact no 00971506550900 email
  • harmeet - 2016-01-11
    Hi I wana how much is the parrot egg and where u guys live ??
  • Laura - 2016-01-12
    Hi Jorge I am interested fertile Eclectus egg. Can you please send me price list from parrot eggs. Thanks Laura