Species group: Amazon Parrots
Other common names: Orange-winged Parrot; Loro Guaro
Scientific name: Amazona amazonica
The Orange-winged Amazon is an under-rated parrot that sometimes seems to have passed from fashion since its heyday in the 1980s, when large numbers could still be legally imported from Bolivia. At that time, they were admired for being relatively gentle and easy to tame, not so temperamental as some of the other gifted talkers like the Double Yellow-headed Amazon. Of course, they are true Amazons, and it is your responsibility to learn their body language and how to read the warning signs of when the bird is feeling hormonal or overloaded. But, all in all, the Orange-winged Amazon can be a calm pet much less inclined to indulge in territorial or cage aggression than some of its rivals. Don't automatically pass them by just because of their quiet plumage.
The Orange-wing is a wide-ranging parrot throughout northern and central South America down through Brazil and Bolivia, able to adapt to a wide range of lowland habitats from river basins to elevations up to 600 meters and even, occasionally, 1,200 meters. In many areas, this adaptable bird is the most common large parrot, and they can gather in huge numbers at communal night roosts. Although trapping and habitat loss are a concern with any Amazon, this species may actually benefit from some land clearing, since they enjoy using a mosaic landscape and thus take advantage of human disturbances.
A large green Amazon with attractive yellow cheeks.
298 - 470 grams (10.5 - 16.5 oz.)
31 centimeters (12 in.)
Behavior / temperament:
The Orange-winged Amazon has a reputation for being a steady bird with a good voice. Intelligent and social, they can become outstanding pets when they are handled by someone with awareness and ability to lavish some time on their pet. Be aware that this social species does need regular playtime and training time to make the most of your relationship. Learn the bird's body language, so that you can detect when the bird is becoming overloaded and at risk for biting someone.
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 Orange-winged Amazon is to teach and practice tricks, allowing the bird a great way to earn treats and attention. For the best chance of teaching this talented mimic to talk, start the training early.
The Orange-winged 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 Orange-winged Amazon to step onto a hand-held perch 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 Orange-winged 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 Orange-winged 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
AWESOME Amazons, great speaking voice, Real Sweetie, huge talkers, great personalities, tricks
breeding season, children, hormones, high pitched voice, oneperson bird
smaller sized parrot, mimic
Laughter, The Best Medicine
Chuckles is a very affectionate and lovable pet. We renamed him to Chuckles when we discovered his particular talent—making us laugh. One day my mother was watching a comedy and she started laughing, and Chuckles started laughing just like her. This made me burst into laughter, and Chuckles mimicked my laugh, setting off my mother again, who Chuckles mimicked. A friend of mine walked in on all of us laughing like fools, and he burst into laughter when Chuckles mimicked me, and of course the bird mimicked him, and soon the four of us were locked in a round-robin of laughter that probably had the neighbors thinking we'd all gone mad. I love the Orange-wing. Great bird, good around family, friends, kids, and pets (with supervision if the kids or other pets might harm the bird). The birds do require a lot of attention; they get very attached to their owners and can become depressed if expected to live a cage life. Chuckles spent most of his time outside the cage, cuddling with us, prancing around, playing hide and seek with our toy poodle, etc. We basically only asked him to stay in his cage at night, or if we were away. I tamed (or rather re-tamed) him for a pet shop, and our family fell in love with the bird; if he hadn't been sold before I started working with him, I would bought him myself. As it was, the new owners had me keep working with the bird, so our family had many visits with Chuckles, who was always glad to see us. Highly recommend this species IF you're in for the long haul. Disowning one of these birds is like disowning your own kids. I wish Chuckles had become a permanent part of our family; he's still happy and healthy today, all these years later..
From BobHaynes Dec 3 2014 11:02AM
Very Sweet. Very Needy.
Sam is the sweetest little bird in the world. He loved to sit on my shoulder and just look around. We would walk around the house away from other pets and he would be extremely comfortable with me. Any other pets around would make him a little nervous though, so I only had him out when it was just the two of us. Sam kept himself clean often but he loved soft spray bottle showers from time to time. His cage had to be cleaned out daily due to the very strong smell, but newspapers in the bottom usually made it a quick cleanup each day for me.
Although Sam is very sweet, he gets very attached is needs a lot of attention and emotional connection. If I would be on a phone call with someone and he heard me talking, he would squawk and squawk until I stopped talking. Sammy is a one-person bird. He has pecked at and injured others if he was out of the cage when I had someone over. Unfortunately Sammy bird was just too much for me to handle once I was married and had a little one on the way, so he has been moved to my parents' house to live with them. I still get to see him regularly and he also loves my dad so he is now getting the attention and love he deserves!
My favorite thing about Sam is his dancing! Justin Beiber sang his favorite song, and I'm sorry to say he has better moves than I do! For this type of bird, he needs someone who has a lot of time for play, talking, and training..
From Roseanna83 Sep 24 2014 8:54PM
Parrots aren't for everyone!
The first thing that must be mentioned is the fact that Roman is no longer in my care. Due to a change of circumstances, my family was forced to give him a new home, regardless of the pain it caused us.
With this said, Roman was very easy to handle as a juvenile. Although he initially lacked training and manners, he was quick to learn, and grew up to be an active, happy parrot.
These parrots are incredibly smart, and are able to learn a range of words and phrases. Roman would often have conversations with us - yes, conversations - while my family and I ate at the dinner table! The things he would say when we had spaghetti... He definitely had us laughing until our sides hurt.
He wasn't only intelligent, though. Through kisses and cuddling, he showed us just how sweet he was.
As time went by, however, we began to see how overwhelmed and unprepared we were. Within the past two years, he became incredibly aggressive and lonely, and nothing we did helped. He was depressed, and this killed us.
One reason for this change of behaviour was due to a lack of attention. Life-changing events took place, and we weren't able to spend the necessary amount of time with him. This quickly escalated, and he became increasingly territorial with my mother (his prime 'person'). This turned into aggression, which caused him to severely bite my mom on numerous occasions. In fact, due to his unexpected aggression, we didn't dare open his cage door to interact with him, and he received next to no physical contact.
This was essentially neglect, and we couldn't live with that. As such, we did an incredibly difficult decision and rehomed him with a perfect family.
If you're considering an Orange-winged Amazon parrot, keep in mind that the 'perfect family' consisted of a stay-at-home woman who had years of experience with parrots, who actually had three other parrots in her care. Her husband and their child were also trained in the proper care of a parrot.
With that said, a parrot of any kind is a large responsibility and require a lifetime commitment. They can live for decades, and require an incredible amount of care and attention throughout their lives. Anything less would be selfishness and neglect on your part.
I understand the excitement and joy brought on by having a parrot. They're incredible animals! However, they're not meant for everyone, and you must first and foremost consider their needs above your own.
Edit: Three days after I posted this, my Roman died. He suffered from a stroke, and passed shortly after. He is dearly, painfully, lovingly missed..
From Shurtubise Dec 31 2014 10:53PM