Species group: Amazon Parrots
Other common names: BFA; Turquoise-fronted Amazon; Yellow-winged Amazon (A. a. xanthopteryx); Blue-fronted Parrot
Scientific name: Amazona aestiva
The Blue-fronted Amazon is one of the most popular talking parrots, admired for its ability to learn many words and phrases, and to use them in a witty or charming way to gain attention. Some individuals may even learn to sing. They are brash, intelligent, and fearless, and in some ways they seem easier to manage than the sensitive Greys or the clinging Cockatoos. However, they can develop hormonal or seasonal aggression in their maturity, so be prepared to bring all your best parrot management skills to keep them sweet.
Some mature males at the peak of their hormonal crisis can be challenging or even impossible for the easily intimidated person to handle. Learn your Blue-fronted Amazon's body language, so that you can quickly respond to moods and head off any potential problems.
This species is a bold and widespread parrot found in central South America in a variety of environments, including areas that can get extremely cold and extremely hot. In eastern Bolivia, they can be found at elevations above 5000 feet. The wild birds are gregarious and curious by nature, sometimes surprising you with how close they'll let you approach on a reserve. They can often be seen in pairs or small flocks, but large groups may gather at night for the safety of a communal roost.
Because they are admired for their spirit and gift for mimicry, they are trapped as pets not just to sell but also for local pets too. The tough and adaptable Blue-fronted Amazon is still common but there are some reports that the species has been extirpated in some local areas. Know your source, and don't tolerate smugglers or thieves.
A stocky mid-sized, mostly-green parrot with an attractive blue forehead.
450 - 500 grams (16 - 17.6 oz.)
37 centimeters (14.6 in.)
Behavior / temperament:
The Blue-fronted Amazon may not have the press or the scientific studies enjoyed by the African Grey, but make no mistake about it. These birds are intelligent. They are reading your body language and it behooves you to educate yourself so that you can read theirs. They are not prone to phobia or bad nerves. If they take over the household, it's because they see a vacancy at the top. These birds are capable of incredible acts of affection, trust, and sweetness. They can also attempt to control. If you have any doubt about your ability to handle or understand your pet, consult with a parrot trainer or behaviorist.
That said, a Blue-fronted Amazon male at the peak of his hormonal powers may be a dangerous bird. They are super-charged with testosterone, and they may be determined to get their way. Many people no longer recommend that you ever allow any Amazon to ride on your shoulder, because you need to be able to keep your eye on the bird to read its moods, or you might risk serious injury. Blue-fronted Amazons, like the other Amazons, will give you signals that they're becoming overloaded.
When you first acquire your new Blue-fronted Amazon, train the bird to automatically step onto a hand-held perch on command, so that you can easily remove the bird to a neutral location, like a playpen, or return it to its cage if it's too excited to continue playing. Pinned eyes? Threatening lunges? Your pet will warn you that it's in danger of biting hard, so take its warnings seriously.
The Blue-fronted Amazon is a wonderful pet for the person looking for a talented talker and gifted trickster who doesn't need constant coddling. However, you do need to be aware of the dark side and to consider whether you are willing to invest in the training and the work required to keep the bird sweet. Although the bird can be great for people who work full-time, because they like their afternoon nap, the Blue-fronted Amazon does expect to spend some quality time playing with you every day.
A Blue-fronted Amazon may sit for hours on the top of a small cage, barely moving a muscle, as it supervises the Bolivian village that it happens to “own.” Despite dogs, farmers, and chickens bustling around, these village pets seem content to watch and throw out comments in the local language. No doubt about it: In captivity, even on its home ground, the Blue-fronted Amazon can be lazy. For the sake of their health, you must offer housing and supplies that encourage them to get off their duff and move.
Offer at least a 36”w x 24”d x 36”h with no more than 1” bar spacing. Make that a powder-coated metal cage, with manzanita perches in all the places where you don't want to change perches frequently, because these birds have a powerful beak and they will chew. If you feel that your bird requires a smaller cage to feel secure, then please have a smaller sleep cage, but they still need a larger area where they have to climb around to get to all their toys, treats, and hiding places when you're not home.
It is crucial that you have a playpen in all the areas where you spend a lot of time. Train the Blue-fronted Amazon to step on a handheld stick on command so that you can easily move your parrot out of the cage area, which is sacred territory, and onto neutral ground, where you can play safely together without accidentally stimulating the bird into territorial biting. Provide lots of puzzle toys, foraging toys, and birdsafe wooden items to chew up, not just in the cage but also on the playgym and various perches around the house.
The Blue-fronted Amazon demands a varied, nutrient-rich diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables, and protein sources. Some, but not all, individuals have a distressing propensity to gain a lot of weight, to become obese, and to die of fatty liver syndrome. There are several diets that work for this species, but you always want to err on the side of offering low-fat choices. And please consult immediately with an experienced avian vet if you suspect that your bird is either over or under weight.
Many people find that a good pellet-based diet, formulated especially for the Amazons, with lots of chopped vegetables and fruits on the side, can be a good daily diet, but take care that this intelligent bird does not get bored with the pellets. Soak-and-cook, either from a vet or a commercial supplier, can be the answer, although it's more work than pellets. Many people like to create their own grain and legume based diet, which generally includes a mix of well-cooked beans and grains, including brown rice. As a practical matter, you will probably want to prepare the cooked diet in large batches, freezing what you're not using in a couple of days, and then defrosting it as you need it.
Small, high carbohydrate seeds like millet can be included in the mix, but higher fat options like sunflower and peanut are usually held back and only offered when trick training. A well-socialized Blue-fronted Amazon will want to help you eat your dinner, which is fine if you eat a healthy diet that's rich in vegetables and whole grain, but never allow any parrot to sample avocado, chocolate, or undercooked meat or poultry.
Written by Elaine Radford
sociable, cuddly, absolute favorite birds, mimicry, best friend, gregarious
seasonal hormonal aggression, nonfavourite family members, aggressive, screaming, huge commitment
respiratory infection, mineral oil daily, house temperature, complex creature, diminutive size
Oscar - The Napoleon of Birds
Oscar the Blue-Fronted Amazon is a complex creature. He loves my father, likes my mother, and only likes to attempt to bite me and copy my voice. I guess he could be considered a "one person" pet.
To my father, Oscar is a lamb. My father can pick him up, snuggle with him, and get "kisses" on his nose. Oscar loves to watch football and baseball with my father.
My mother can have Oscar perch on her fingers and receive kisses from him. He never threatens to bite her.
I must be Oscar's muse. I can talk or sing to him, and he copies me. On more than one occasion, I have been out of the house and my father will think I am home because Oscar uses my voice. Oscar will even answer my father in my voice.
Oscar runs our house. Despite his diminutive size, EVERY animal in our house respects and fears him. I call him "Napoleon."
That little bird is also very hearty. About 25 years ago, Oscar caught a flu. We found him upside down in his cage one night and thought we were going to lose him. Fortunately, my aunt was a vet tech for a bird specialist and we took Oscar to her office. The vet said that if it wasn't for Oscar's feisty and ornery temperament, he would have surely died.
Note: Birds are sensitive to environment. My family uses all-natural cleaning agents in the house and keeps the house temperature comfortable for the bird. Before getting a bird, please prepare your house so that you can enjoy many years together..
From Baroness Feb 10 2014 11:28AM
Blue-Fronted Amazon Parrot
I've lived with this bird literally my entire life (I'm 24) and there's already plans for which of my siblings will inherit the bird when my parents pass because we're fully prepared for him to outlive us all.
My parents got Tyler several years before I was born. He has since been extremely jealous and aggressive towards me and my siblings. He's territorial of my mom yet very cuddly towards her. He's snippy sometimes with my dad but he's never bitten him. He has bitten me and my siblings (sometimes more than once) and it hurts. A lot. His beak is incredibly strong and can pierce all the way to the bone.
Not all parrots might not like children but it's definitely worth checking out first before the hospital bills roll in for stitching up bleeding (or missing!) fingers.
Diet is not that special. There's a parrot mix my mom gets at Wal*Mart with various seeds, nuts and bits of peppers. He especially likes sour and hot foods and foods he can tear apart: chicken bones (he likes the marrow), peanuts, grapes, peppers, etc.
He also likes baths and regularly bathes in his water dish which makes a mess in and around his cage.
Highly intelligent and mischievous. Tyler figured out quickly how to lift the latch on his cage and get out. It's rather a terrifying experience as a young child to walk into the kitchen and see this bird who is aggressive towards you free from his cage. So he has a specialized lock on his cage now that he can't open.
He did the same with this food bowls. They're attached to his cage and he figured out how to unlatch them so they fell off.
Some mimicry that he picked up on his own. When my siblings and I were babies, we would cry and Tyler would pick it up and even after 20+ years of no babies in the house anymore, he still cries. The police were actually called to our house once because the neighbors thought us kids had been left on the porch to cry but it was just the bird.
- Insanely long life expectancy. Something like sixty years I think? If well cared for, possibly longer.
- Will eat pretty much anything.
- Pretty coloring to the feathers, greens, yellows and a sky blue on the front.
- Affectionate to the owner, but not at all those who he/she doesn't like.
- Fairly easy to clean cage. It's just some newspapers on the bottom of his cage (that he also likes to tear up) which get replaced every few weeks.
- When/if he/she bites, the beak is strong enough to sever fingertips.
- Can have aggressive tendencies.
- Occasionally loud. For Tyler, there's no set pattern to his noises. He squawks when someone's eating toast and he wants some. He screams when other people are loud in the house. He's quiet at night though and doesn't constantly make noise.
- This is a tropical bird, not a cold weather bird. I live in Indiana so we do have cold weather but Tyler is an indoor bird. If your house is drafty, cover his/her cage with a cloth and try to keep away from major drafts.
- Destructive. Likes to chew and tear things apart. If you do cover with a cloth, make sure it's something that can get ruined, chewed on, become holey because it will..
From aubreyc Dec 30 2014 2:51PM
Bird was loyal to one person only, unfriendly to everyone else.
We are not sure of the sex of this animal as we never had him tested. This was actually my ex-husband's bird when I first started living with him and we had him for 7 years before he flew away. He was extremely loyal to my (at the time) husband. He was able to hold him, eat out of his hand, put faces together, etc. If my husband put him on my shoulder, he would stay there and not try anything but I was extremely terrified of the bird. When I first met him, I went and stroked the cage but he snapped at me like he was going to bite me, I was never scared of birds in my life until I met Ponch (nickname). He never bit me because I was careful and kept my distance and kept the cage closed when he wasn't home. Also, when we had the sheet over his cage, he was always quiet and if we didn't have the sheet over it, he would squawk all day long (probably because he wanted out) so when my husband wasn't at home, I put the sheet over his cage just to keep him quiet. If he was nicer and more friendly, I would have let him out, but this wasn't the case with Ponch and I wouldn't recommend this bird to anyone with children. He would sit on the kid's shoulder and be fine if my husband put him there but if we tried to pick him up ourselves, he would snap at us. He has bit many of our friends, he has bit my husband's sister, and his beak is very sharp so it is a very painful and deep bite, he has even bit my husband (the only one he was loyal to) a few times over the years when he was in a bad mood and he bit someone so hard once on the finger, you could see their bone. I don't know if this is the case with all birds or not, I've never owned a bird before but because of this experience, I don't think I will ever own a bird again. I tuly believe he belonged in the wild and would be happier there, he was not born in captivity, he was born in the wild, as my husband was told when him and his mother bought him. He did say hello and my husband bought a cd that's supposed to teach birds to talk, where they repeat words over and over again which we would play for him whenever we left, so he did occasionally say some words and occasionally sing. I also caught him mimicking the cat's meow once but as soon as he saw me peaking at him, he stopped, lol. It was pretty funny. I apologize but this is all I can say about this bird..
From DogLover80 Dec 27 2014 5:13PM