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Yellow-naped Amazon

Golden Yellow-naped Amazon

Family: Psittacidae Picture of "Mia", a Yellow-naped Amazon, or a Golden Yellow-naped AmazonAmazona auropalliataPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy: Lisa
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I adopted. A yellow nape. He is great with me and my daughter. He seems to hate my wife though. He bit her the very first day we got him. She feeds him,gives him... (more)  Anonymous

   The Yellow-naped Amazon has just about the best reputation a pet bird can have!

   The Yellow-naped Amazon Amazona auropalliata, is also known as the Golden Yellow-naped Amazon. This Amazon parrot has been kept as a pet for over 100 years. As early as 1842 they were reported as being kept by the Central American Indians because of their pleasing personalities. They are the ultimate in affection, clever and obedient, and gentle. They actually think of themselves as "little people"!

   This Amazon is mostly a green birds, but gets its name from a bright yellow patch that develops on the nape of the neck. The Golden Yellow-naped Amazon is very similar to several other Amazon species that also develop yellow markings. One of these very popular Amazons is the Double Yellow-headed Amazon Amazona oratrix. Its entire head rather than just the nape becomes yellow. Another is the the Yellow-crowned Amazon Amazona ochrocepha that develops a patch of yellow the crown.

   When they are young it is difficult to tell any of these yellow marked Amazons apart. The yellow markings develop as they age over a period of about four years. Besides color there are some other differences between these parrots. They differ from each other in things like body size, temperament, and talking ability. It's important to know which Amazon you are getting so you know what to expect.

   The Yellow-naped Amazon is considered to be an excellent all around bird. It is very popular as a great pet and can be one of the better talkers. Besides being quite intelligent, which makes them easy to tame and train, they are very fun and affectionate. This pet parrot is very social and enjoys the company of people as well as other birds. They will form very strong bonds with their owner, becoming fast friends and exhibit total confidence. They are also a hardy robust bird and can do well in either a cage or an aviary.

   "Mia (seen above) is quite a singer! She uses sentences appropriately such as "What's up?" when you come in to greet her. She is an absolute joy, and she will let anyone take her OUT of her cage. On top of all this, she is drop dead gorgeous, and she knows it"... Lisa. To learn more about Mia, visit: "Mia, The Yellow-naped Amazon"

For more information about the care of Amazon parrots see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Amazon Parrot.

Geographic Distribution
Amazona auropalliata
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Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Psittacidae
  • Genus: Amazona
  • Species: auropalliata
Nando sings Oklahoma

Report Broken Video
A Yellow-naped Amazon Parrot sings 'Oklahoma!"

Nando is a special Yellow-naped Amazon Parrot. He sings 'Oklahoma!" all the way through complete with applause!

Scientific name   Amazona auropalliata
(Previously: Amazona ochrocephala auropalliata)

  • Subspecies:
  • Amazona auropalliata
  • Amazona auropalliata parvipes

   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 Yellow-naped Amazon Amazona auropalliata was first described by Lesson in 1842. They are also known as the Golden Yellow-naped Amazon. They are found in the Honduras, Guatamala, El Salvador, and Mexico. In the wild they live in pairs or flocks, from small groups to groups of several hundred birds. They live in tropical zones and inhabit woodlands, forests, where they feed on fruits, seeds, nuts, berries, and the blossoms and leafy buds of foliage.

Status   The Amazona auropalliata is on the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species as Least Concern (LC).

Description   The Yellow-naped Amazon or Golden Yellow-naped Amazon is green from head to tail, with the underparts a bit lighter green, and the tip of the tail being a light yellowish-green. They get their name from having a bright yellow patch about the size of a quarter on the nape of their neck. Some will also have a small yellow spot on their forehead. There are some black hairs in the cere. The beak is mixture of black and horn color. The eye is orange and the feet are gray with black nails.

   Juveniles lack the yellow marking on the nape of the neck. Their yellow patch doesn't actually begin to develop until they are about a year old, and then it takes up to about four years of molting to be fully colored. Mutations can occur naturally with this Amazon. A blue mutation Yellow-Naped Amazon is one of the most extraordinary mutations, and though rare, are occasionally see in the pet market.

   Yellow-naped Amazons are rather heavy bodied though a bit smaller than the Double Yellow-headed Amazons. Mature birds are about about 14 inches (35 cm) long from the head to the tip of the tail. They reach maturity at about the 4 - 5 year range with a lifespan of 60 - 80 years.

Picture of Miss Evan, Yellow-naped Amazon"Miss Evan" Yellow-naped Amazon Photo courtesy: Jack & George Johnson

"Her favorite breakfast food is peanuts.
Vocal talents are not something Miss Evan
has spent much time developing, though
she says hello and does a great wolf-whistle
when wanting attention. She also gets
attention by ruffling her feathers,
and proclaiming, Whooooooo!"... Jack

Care and feeding    In the wild, the diet of the Golden Yellow-naped 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.

   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 Yellow-naped Amazon. Amazon cages must not be too confining, so get one that your pet will be able to feel comfortable in, preferable one with a playpen on top. There cage is their territory and 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.

   Amazon 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   This Amazon enjoys human interaction as well as interaction with other birds. In the wild they are very social birds living in groups. They are seen either in pairs or flocks, from small groups to groups of several hundred birds. They also form permanent pairs when they are sexually mature.

   If you are looking for a quiet bird, an amazon is not for you. It is a highly social bird who loves human companionship and loves to play. They will learn tricks and look forward to interaction and games. The Yellow-naped Amazon will provide you with many fun moments and a lot of laughter.

Handling/Training   The Yellow-naped Amazon will adapt rapidly, quickly becoming accustomed to a new environment and its keeper. It 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.

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

Activities   The Golden Yellow-naped Amazon loves to climb and play. Provide lots of toys. It also needs room to stretch its wings, and climbing is one of its favorite activities. A hanging perch is great, as well as a moveable perch that can follow you around the house. This parrot is an active bird and needs plenty of toys. This Amazon likes to play, loves to wrangle with toys, and is quite an acrobat. They entertain themselves quite well and you will enjoy it.

Sexing - Sexual Differences   Yellow-naped 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 three to four eggs which incubate for about 26 - 28 days. The young will leave the nest at 8-12 weeks. 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 Golden Yellow-naped 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-naped 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 Yellow-naped Amazon is readily available and it should be easy to find one in a pet store or from breeders in your area.


Author: Clarice Brough CAS
Lastest Animal Stories on Yellow-naped Amazon

Anonymous - 2014-08-12
I adopted. A yellow nape. He is great with me and my daughter. He seems to hate my wife though. He bit her the very first day we got him. She feeds him,gives him treats,talks to him.after a year he still won't. Except her. Any help at all would be appreciated

  • cynthia - 2014-09-11
    My parrot is the same with my mom. We've had him for 15 years and she is his main caretaker(cage cleaner) and he would slit her throat if he could. Hes hated her since the first day he saw her and fell in love with me. He still loves me and we play and I even shower with him. If she even passes by the cage he throws himself at her and slams into the cage sometimes. He doesn't really care if it hurts. It sucks but we've tried everything and i have to make sure to feed him in the morning because he rather starve than eat food she gave him. He'll spill it all over the floor and then laugh at her.
Constance - 2009-11-14
I have had my Yellow Nape for 24 years and of course my husband and I are part of the flock. However, she loves all strangers unless she senses they do not like her. Yellow Napes are very intelligent and very high social as most birds because they are flock animals.

No one should have a Yellow Nape unless they understand all the needs of this very beautiful and special bird. Yellow Napes love to be held and allowed to have 4-5 hours of play time daily if not more. With a good diet, clean and I mean clean cage, and lots of social time with the family the Yellow Nape is a joy to have as a family member. Yes, they need to be a member of the family for ever. They do not adjust being moved around with different people like a cat of dog. Especially, Yellow Napes they are very smart, loving and bond for life. They can die of a broken heart.

Usually, if a Yellow Nape is biting and displays behavior problems the bird has been mis-treated or simply handled wrong.

Parrots do not bite unless scared and they just want to be loved and handled correctly. There are many rules to follow when handling a parrot.

I must say our bird has been so loved and is so happy in captivity she really is so sweet.

I have been working with birds for thirty years and they are very special animals that are misunderstood many times.

For anyone who needs to find a good safe place for their bird you can contact:
Phoenix Landing in Asheville, North Carolina, they are a parrot care foundation and they will adopt and educate others before allowing a bird to go to a home. Their phone number is 828 251 1333.

If this number does not work you can look them up on the internet and with a bit of time contact these people.

Thank you

  • Mariette Coetzee - 2013-09-12
    I have a question.  I have a Yellow Nape Amazon came to us about 2 years ago. Do not know his background only know we are the third family in his life time and we think he is about 10.  Sad I know but he found a home for live. In the beginning we could handle him with no problem and then he started having behavior problems like biting us and shows aggression towards me when i move around his cage.  He will sometimes come down from his cage to the floor and if he sees me will come towards me with aggression. Now somebody told me he is sexualy frustrated.  Is that the case and what can I do to help him.  I would be greatful for any help.
  • Clarice Brough - 2013-09-12
    It does sound like your Yellow Nape Amazon seems to be distressed, which is a common occurence with these birds as they get older. Many times they really do best with a mate after a few years, it is actually suggested that people plan on getting a companion eventually. These birds are known to get really frustrated over time if kept by themselves, especially those who aren't closely bonded to a human that can spend exorbitant amounts of time with them.
Jane - 2010-03-13
Hi all. I ran across this interchange & I agree entirely with so many of you. I don't have a yellow nape, but have a blue and gold macaw named Sebastian. He's 12 years old. He is the love of our lives, but my husband and I realize that bringing him into our lives was actually making the decision to be a parent to a smart, cute, active, funny, but very DEMANDING two year old for the rest of our lives. He loves us all, but I think the nature of their usually bonding with one mate for life also makes them prone to have one person that they favor of the others. I'm SO glad that we have that little boy. He is a center of our world, but we were also lucky that my husband and I were in the perfect position to spend all of the time and attention with him that he needs. Our daughter was 18 when we got him and was another caretaker and buddy for him until she went off to college. Recently, my husband and I retired.

People really need to know what they are getting into when they purchase or adopt one because they do require much more love and attention than your average dog or cat, IMHO, and many times - as is the case with Sebastian - they have a long life span & may outlive you. Also, if you are absolutely sure you want one, it really is an excellent idea to adopt one before you consider buying. I've seen many who need a good home and I think that unless they have just gone crazy with grief from lack of attention (which happens to some, by the way & extreme feather picking is a symptom), you can usually make them very happy again very quickly with just telling them how great they are & encouraging them - just as we do with our kids. :)

GEORGE READ - 2007-08-28
This goes back to the days of sailing ships... In 1919 my grandfather got a yellow-naped from a Boston friend who in turn got it in South America. He saw them himself when he was in SA himself. They have no idea how old he was, but he was a talker even then. He had his likes and dislikes. He kept in good health, until he died at the same time my grandmother passed away in 1974. I know that this was a long time ago, but I thought it might be of some interest...

Rick Sizemore - 2009-07-11
We have a Yellow Nape and we named it

Richie - 2009-12-26
I have been reading all of the entries here about yellow naped Amazon parrots and find them very interesting. I, too, have had a nape for more than 20 years. His name is Emma, his original owners thought he was a girl, and he is quite a bright and interesting bird. Emma likes to have things his own way; he can be a very sweet and engaging pet and there are times that he can be formidable. He prefers women but I am his care giver and he likes me well enough. I agree that parrots are not like dogs or cats, they have their own ideas about how to live with other life forms and those ideas must be respected or you will be unhappy and have a very unhappy animal companion. The happiest pet parrots, yellow napes or others, that I have seen are those individual birds that are the center of their human's life. Those birds seem truly happy and excited to be alive. Anyone who keeps a pet parrot in a cage all the time should not be permitted to have one. Of course, there are no laws that enforce that, but you really ought to know what you are doing to an animal. My Emma is a wonderful bird. I imagine that Emma and any other parrot would be happier living with a flock of parrots in the wild, but that cannot be, so I will do the best I can to provide the best life for him.

  • Christine Bell - 2010-12-09
    I always wanted an amazon parrot as my grandfather had one for many years. My grandfather was his second owner. After grandfather died the son of the first owner asked for the parrot back - i think this parrot was over 50 years old! Anyway i now have five amazon parrots. 2 orange wing, 1 lilac crown, 1 blue front and olivia my yellow nape. Olivia is the only amazon i have that talks up a storm. I never intended to buy her but as a baby in the pet store she hollered " hellllloooo, well heelllloooo there. " and that was it i couldn't resist her. She has been talking ever since. The strange thing is that as soon as she sees the people she knows she starts talking but when i bring relatives or friends over - not a word. Funny bird. I keep all my birds in a heated aviary that is pretty big. I'm lucky to live in the country where i could build such a place. My husband is allergic to birds so i can't bring them in the house. All my birds are flighted and i hang many toys and swings from the ceiling which is a grid. So far all my birds get along well. I have three girls and two boys. They are all fairly young ( around seven years old) except for my blue front who is about 13. I keep hearing about hormones making the birds more aggressive but so far i see no sign of this. They are all so full of personality. Also despite they have each other and are out all the time ( no cages) they still flock to me when i arrive and enter the aviary. They never lost any of their bond to me. (all were hand fed as babies). I wonder what to expect as they get older. However my 13 year old blue front, zoie is also quite friendly and mild.

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