Species group: Amazon Parrots
Other common names: Ecuadorian Red-lored Amazon
Scientific name: Amazona lilacina
Already known to serious Amazon breeders, the Lilacine Amazon was accepted as a new species in 2014. In the past, it was carelessly lumped in as a subspecies of the wide-ranging Red-lored Amazon, which allowed people to overlook how dire the situation was becoming for this vanishing species. Like its cousin, the Lilacine is admired as an intelligent, affectionate pet that can learn to talk, sing, and do tricks, with a sweeter personality than some of more popular Amazons. However, its brains and beauty have worked against this Ecuador endemic, causing it to be over-collected for the pet trade. One report suggested that as few as 600 individuals remain in the wild. Therefore, this species can only be recommended to expert breeders who can comply with all regulations for keeping and breeding an endangered species.
Sometimes called the Ecuadorian Red-lored Amazon, this mid-sized green Amazon with the red forehead looks much like a Red-Lored except for its all-dark bill.
350 grams (12.5 oz.)
34 centimeters (13 in.)
Behavior / temperament:
Lilacine Amazons tend to be smaller and calmer than some of the rowdier Amazons. But their intelligence and willingness to learn means that you shouldn't skimp on time spent talking to and training these social birds.
The Lilacine Amazon, like all Amazons, can be lazy and prone to weight gain, so you must make choices that will stimulate your pet to move and to play instead of just to talk. 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 Lilacine to step on a handheld perch 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 chew items, not just in the cage but also on the playgym and various perches around the house.
The Lilacine 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 sunflower and peanut are usually held back and only offered when trick training. A well-socialized Lilacine 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