Species group: Amazon Parrots
Other common names: Plain-colored Amazon (A. f. inornata); Blue-crowned Amazon; Guatemalan (A. f. guatemalae); Green-headed Amazon; Costa Rica Amazon (A. f. virenticeps)
Scientific name: Amazona farinosa
The Mealy Amazon is a huge, hefty Amazon often admired because it's easier to handle and more gentle to others than many other Amazons. The feathers look “mealy,” as if they've been rolled in flour, but the Mealy is not a powder down bird, and it does not cause any more dust than any other Amazon. They vary a lot in talking ability, so it is worth providing your pet with talking lessons to see what it can pick up.
Despite the Mealy Amazon's excellent reputation for gentleness, an abused or neglected bird can be loud or dangerous. They do have Amazon instincts, and it is incumbent upon you to learn how to handle your pet to keep it sweet and tame.
The Mealy is a widespread and diverse species, probably represented by five subspecies ranging from Mexico through Central America and down into South America as far as northern Bolivia and central-eastern Brazil. They seem to enjoy a wide range of moist and humid habitats from lowland rainforests to mountainous areas as high as 1,100 meters. They can wander during the day in pairs or in smallish flocks of up to 20 individuals, but they can also gather in large mixed flocks, including other parrot species such as Yellow-crowned Amazons and Blue-headed Pionus. There is always the risk of illegal trapping with a visible, intelligent Amazon species, and they have also been hunted for food in part of their range, but they seem to be a tough, resourceful parrot that remains common and sometimes even abundant in some areas.
A substantial green Amazon parrot that looks as if it were rolled in flour.
705 - 766 grams (25 - 27 oz.)
38 centimeters (15 in.)
Behavior / temperament:
The Mealy Amazon is singled out as one of the few Amazon parrots frequently described as gentle. However, the bird's naturally sweet personality can be spoiled if it is not handled properly. Work with your Mealy Amazon from the very beginning, to teach it at least a few words to channel its loud vocal cords, and also to learn its body language and warning signs. Bring all of your best parrot management skills. Be aware that this social species does need regular play time and training time to make the most of your relationship. Many people now advise that no Amazon be allowed to ride on your shoulder. Instead, train your bird to ride your arm or a hand-held perch, so that you can always keep an aware eye on your pet and read its body language.
A good way to bond with your Mealy Amazon is to teach and practice tricks, allowing the bird a great way to channel its energies. This bird would never be alone in the wild, so do not be fooled by its resourceful, independent nature. Your Mealy Amazon looks forward to interacting with you every day and should never be neglected. If you have any doubts or fears about handling this large Amazon, consult with a bird trainer or behaviorist at the earliest opportunity. The right touch with this bird can truly enrich your relationship.
The Mealy Amazon, like any large Amazon, 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.
Have a playpen in all the areas where you spend a lot of time. Train the Mealy Amazon to step up on a hand-held 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 Mealy 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 Mealy 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
gentle giants, pet quality amazon, calm amazon, human speech, trainable
scream, self destructive behavior, adolescence, aggression
heavier bird, intellectually stimulating toys, wolf whistle, perch potatoes
Why is he called Sideways?
I had graduated college, moved across country and was on my own. I took some time off from a schedule of too many credits crammed into too short of a time period. I took a job as a waitress to support myself. It wound up paying pretty well.
I had a day off and I passed a pet shop. I don’t know why, but I wandered in. They had a bird with a big beak. This was in the days before importation of wild birds was banned. Most birds sold were wild caught birds. So was he. He was a Mealy Amazon Parrot. I had the money, so I bought him, cage and all and transported him home, cage and all. I set him up in my living room, sat down and we stared at each other.
For the next two weeks, I passed by his cage regularly and talked to him. One day, I got up the courage to open his cage door and invite him out. He bit me and scrambled up on top of his cage. The pet shop owner had only clipped one of his wings, so as he stood there on top of his cage, trying to make himself look bigger and tougher, he tipped sideways. Now he had a name and I had an angry, wild bird loose inside my house. Eventually, he got hungry and went inside his cage and I hurriedly shut the door. This process went on for another two weeks until he discovered that he liked having me scratch him on top of his head. He began to step up on my finger and take food from my hand. Now, he was a “hand tamed bird”.
At one point, my mother stayed with me for a while. Sideways adored her. She taught him to make kissing noises and lightly touch her lips with his beak. She also gave him her pizza crust. He got to the point that when he saw a box of pizza come in the house, he perked up and said “Pizza!” She taught him that, too.
I moved to South Florida and started bartending at a place on the beach. I spent a lot of my time off at the beach and often took Sideways with me. We often wound up at a bar in the marina with my friend Gretchen. We were there one day and I got up to go to the bathroom. “Are you okay with Sideways, Gretch?” “Sure, no problem.” There was a tree growing in the middle of the bar area behind the bar. When I returned, Sideways was half way up the tree. It took a lot of coaxing and a Virgin Rum Runner to get him down.
Sideways is still my companion and he’s still pretty tame. These days, hand-fed birds are sold. I have had them, I have some now. It is much easier to deal with a hand-fed baby bird. There are many great breeders out there and some beautiful birds being bred. I’m sorry that Sideways was stolen from the wild. He still cocks his head and looks up when he hears an airplane, even when he’s inside. Somewhere in him, there is still a wild animal..
From Huskies_1 Jun 1 2015 9:35AM
The Mealy Amazon - A Challenge for Me!
I got Lourito from a friend. At that time he was sick and very poorly treated. A visit to the vet quickly became the welcoming of a new member into my family.
I'd never had any contact with parrots before, or with any other birds. I had never felt curious or drawn to them, and it was only out of pity that I decided to keep Lourito.
Coincidence or instinct, he loved me from the minute he saw me, and that is one of the main reasons I fell in love with him: he was very playful, gentle, funny and caring from the first minute I saw him.
Lourito is a great companion. He is very active and joyful, he is always singing or making sounds, imitates us all the time and does some goofy moves around the house. (He has a big cage but the cage is very often open and he is free to walk / move / fly around to where he wants. He is currently living at my parents' house to keep him safe from my cats). With him around we never feel lonely or sad.
But having a parrot is more difficult than I thought. Firstly he is very noisy, which means that if I have a headache (I suffer from migraines), if I'm feeling tired, moody or if I feel like having a moment to myself... that's quite impossible. Another negative aspect about him is that he is very needy: he wants company all the time, and even if we go to the bathroom and leave him in the kitchen he starts complaining. His cage is also a bit difficult to clean and it takes me some time to do this task daily. Another difficult aspect about Lourito is that, apart from me and my parents, he is very afraid of people in general and very often attacks those who come near him.
Probably some of these downsides come from his previous owner who maybe could have done things differently, but that I will never know.
What I know is that a parrot is an awesome companion for anyone who loves company and/or feels lonely, he/she can be very friendly and, as far as Lourito is concerned, very easy to keep happy and healthy. But having a parrot is similar to having a child in your house: forget the quiet times and get ready for some very loud demands!.
From dianaparracho Apr 17 2014 4:53PM
Although my two experiences the Mealy Amazon were highly negative, I would like to make clear that this was most likely completely due to the fact that my family acquired both birds from extremely abusive homes.
Both birds were older in age, and had suffered physical and psychological abuse and neglect for several years.
Because of this, both birds exhibited extremely aggressive behavior, to the point where it was almost impossible for anyone except my father to interact with them.
The female Amazon, Polly, actually eventually formed a very strong, but highly neurotic attachment to my mother, and would become violent and terrifyingly aggressive towards the other members of my family when one of us tried to go near her when she was with Polly.
The boy, Arturo, was very articulate and actually spoke in both English and Spanish, and had a very impressive vocabulary. He too was very aggressive, however, and attacked my father on several occasions resulting in minor but painful cuts and bites that broke his skin.
These birds are highly intelligent and have a very complex emotional capacity, which manifests in strong attachments to certain owners, as well as intense psychological distress if mistreated.
I would NOT recommend this bird for those with small children, or those who are not prepared to take on the responsibility of care, attention, and affection that this very loving but very needy bird requires.
In addition to this, both birds were very destructive in terms of toys and anything else they could get their claws on, and required more feed and habitat maintenance than other parrots I owned.
If treated properly, and given correct training, this bird can be an exceptional and impressively engaging pet to have..
From MelissaJuliette Nov 9 2014 9:14PM