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 just got a dyh an he was abused for 10 yrs he is 40 plus yrs old very mean we have made some ( a lot ) of improvements we eat together I let him out i know it's... (more)  Sherry Harrison

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
See All Data at Google Maps
Data provided by GBIF.org
  • 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

Subspecies:
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.

Distribution

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.

Status

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

Description

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.

Housing

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.

Maintenance

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.

Handling/Training

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

Activities

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.

Breeding/Reproduction

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.

Availability

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.

References

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


Sherry Harrison - 2014-10-04
I just got a dyh an he was abused for 10 yrs he is 40 plus yrs old very mean we have made some ( a lot ) of improvements we eat together I let him out i know it's gonna take time any suggests would be very appreciated thank u

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-10-09
    Sounds like you're on the right track... offering affection and having a lot of patience. These birds have a very good, and long, memory. It's awesome that it can be taken out, and it eats with you, that's a great start. It may or may not become any friendlier, only time will tell.
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Zah Hosein - 2013-12-09
At what age should a double yellow amazon be ok to mate? I have a 3 yr old and he is showing signs.

  • Clarice Brough - 2013-12-10
    Breeding age for Amazon parrots is approximately 3-5 years old.
  • fay lees - 2014-06-23
    we have 2 amazons one is 10 which dont talk and has got a bad habit of pulling her feathers out, my husband got her of a friend that couldnt look after her,we bought an other 1 which is a male who is 4, he talks alot(dont shut up).we been asking if the 10 yr old is to old to mate, some parrot experts says yes and others so no,has anyone ever mated theirs at 10 yrs old?
  • Clarice Brough - 2014-06-27
    Amazons reach sexual maturity at 4 - 5 years of age. Often around 5 - 6 years, it they don't have a mate, they will go through some teenage type behaviors for a year or more before settling down. They do best if they have a companion/friend in the same area, often with each in its own cage. They are not the easiest birds to breed, and  one of the biggest challenges in captivity is getting a mature pair to bond. Once they have bonded with a mate, they can breed from many years, (even beyond age 25), and healthy birds can live for up to about 50 years.
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Edwina - 2014-06-05
Hi, I have had my parrot for about 15 years and she is a wonderful pet. She has never bit me but others. Now she seems to want to squat and make little purring noises. Both inside her cage and out. We live alone. She has never been around other birds. She is very picky about her food too. Doesn't sing or talk like she used to. Please help?

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angiepoo - 2014-01-02
Hi..we have a double yellow headed Amazon that a friend have to me a few months ago. She's around 8 years old and has a very extraordinary vocabulary. We spend a lot of time with her. She comes in and out of her cage as she pleases except for at bedtime when we cover her cage. She has a very large cage and lots of toys. She is fed well with a top of the line parrott food. We've done all the things that is recommended for parrots however, she won't let us hold her. She will occasionally go into my living room or on my counter and that's the only time im able to pick her up when she knows im taking her to the top of her cage. Anytime I go to pick her up from the top of her cage, she snaps and just moves away from me. Can anyone give me some advice on how to get her to let us hold her? When my friend owned her, she use to let people hold her at one time but when my friend started work and no longer had time for her, she spent alot of time alone. That's why she have her to me. I really want to hold her but I don't want to traumatized her. Any advice?? Thanks in advance. ;-)

  • Clarice Brough - 2014-01-04
    What a great new pet you have and it's good that you know how old she is. She has set behaviors that, as you pointed out, developed because of her previous circumstances. To change these behaviors, work with her regularly. Be consistent and offer reassuring words and treats, and eventually she should come around. There's no guarantee, but time, love, and patience are your best tools for success
  • Kevin Krause - 2014-02-17
    I ended up taking in my Brother's bird who passed away 2 years ago. I can tell you this bird has so many mood swings it is not even funny. I have been bit 4 times, one almost needed stitches. I am trying to figure out what to do at this point. We have been so good to this bird...but I am at my end. It screams if you are not in the same room. It's not good for either of us. But not so easy to get rid of. But I will tell you, don't expect a big turn around anytime soon. All I have read about the double yellow amazon, it is not a great pet, unless you have 24 hours a day to spend with it. Very little reward.
  • Ken - 2014-05-04
    Hi there I have two African greys and just got my double yellow head back after 5yrs. And he was hand reared, he spent 4yrs in a big cupboard, more like small room, not much attention and has not been out his cage for 3yrs now. Cupboard doors wese off but still not good. When I had him he was just 16weeks old and just over 1 when I gave him away. So I asked for him back when I heard and went to see him so I know his background. He attacks anyone near his cage and bites very hard. People have tried to take care of him but just not got a clue really, but they did try, he's still alive so am glad of that. Now the way I am going to go about it is leave him to come to me, give him treats, give him loads of praise when good, never award bad behavior, always keep him to your height. As when up high a bird is in more control of you, when same height you have more control over him. Amazons are very strong minded and I think about 5 onwards can hit sexual maturity and are very aggresive at this time. I will use a training perch for him to work with in a quiet room away from other birds, no distractions for him.You will also have to learn to read to your bird when he's happy, when he wants to be alone they do some things the same way. If he's getting nut tail spread out, eye zooming then hess happy but no nut and showing these signs stay away lol. He will need time just like my DYH time and patience and patience and patience and more patience lol it's only way to be. It will work out in the end, there is loads more I could say but hands on and that's the way to learn after a few bites I think we would all learn that's not working. Try different ways. Anyway am going on here this is just the things I have learned over the years so it may be diffrent from many other peoples points of view, it's just the way I would work. It always uses things he likes, I use my mouth, organ turn my back on him if he wants my attention he has to let me know, it's all to do with bond. Hope it works out for you, just don't forget DYH are full of it and have loads of character and bold and loads of charisma and are a handful to work with. They like to be the boss, you have to let them know who is but do it so it thinks he is winning but you are really getting him round to your way of thinking lol, if you know what I mean. Good luck and hope you have fun teaching new things and you get to hold him all the time one day. Please excuse my spelling and I am just a 46yr old man from countryside that has learned almost everything for myself am no expert but I do my best. Thank you, have fun teaching it has to be fun for both not a exercise good luck. Ken.
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meg - 2011-10-23
Hi - writing from Lower Mainland B.C. Canada...does anyone have a big L shaped breeding/nesting box suitable for Amazon parrots or a pattern so I can make one...or know where I can buy at reasonable price....thanks so much. Meg

  • Charlie Roche - 2011-10-24
    China Prarie Farms Nest Boxes has really great nest boxes and easy to clean, view eggs etc. They just don't wear out.
  • Anonymous - 2012-01-22
    Doctor Foster and Smith 18008267206 they might have some for sale
Reply
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 -
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