Species group: Amazon Parrots
Other common names: Honduras Yellow-naped Amazon (A. a. parvipes)
Scientific name: Amazona auropalliata
The Yellow-naped Amazon is one of the most desired of the talking, singing Amazon parrots. Many talented Yellow-napes speak or sing with intelligence and wit, without the sensitive nerves of the African Grey. These birds are rowdy, self-confident, and, yes, hard to handle if you don't bring all your parrot behavior skills to the forefront. Because of their great confidence, these birds will take control if you don't.
They can be the world's best companion or the world's worst nightmare. And, like virtually all vocal birds capable of impressive feats of speech, they can be loud. But, if you're willing to do the work and educate yourself in the proper training of your Yellow-naped Amazon, you may be amazed at the wit and charm of this loyal companion. They can also be unusually long-lived. Bird Talk reporter Joanie Doss once met and described a 106-year-old Yellow-nape.
The three subspecies of Yellow-naped Amazons originate from Central America in a variety of forest habitats, which has caused them to suffer somewhat from deforestation as well as illegal collecting for the pet market. Know your breeder if you are obtaining a baby, or know the family and how long they have held the bird, if you are choosing an older Yellow-nape in need of rehoming. The older bird should already be tame and talking. Interesting note: There is actually a Bay Island subspecies of Yellow-naped, A. o. caribaea, which feeds on the pine cones found on the trees of these islands.
A well-named bird, the Yellow-naped Amazon is a sturdy-looking mid-sized green parrot with a yellow patch on the nape of its neck.
500 - 650 grams (18 - 21 oz.)
35 - 38 centimeters (14 - 15 in.)
Behavior / temperament:
The Yellow-naped 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 Yellow-naped Amazon male at the peak of his hormonal surge may be a dangerous bird. They are super-charged with testosterone, and they may be determined to get their way. Before you ever get involved with these birds, learn to observe them. You may smell a faint scent of lilacs or musk around the bird during prime breeding season, and you may also notice that your pet is louder and more unpredictable. Many people advise that no Yellow-naped Amazon should be a shoulder bird because you need to keep your pet where you can easily read its moods, but this rule is triply true when you're dealing with an adult male.
If you pay attention, they will warn you before they attack. Eyes pinned? Agitated? A fake lunge or two? Take the hint, and remove the overloaded Yellow-naped Amazon to a safe location where he can calm down. Don't try to reason with a hormonal surge. It's so important to train your Yellow-naped Amazon to automatically step up on command onto a secure hand-held stick to ride in style to neutral territory for playtime. A poorly trained Amazon who intimidates its owner could be cage-bound for the duration of the hormonal surge, which could last for more than a year, and which could even be prolonged by the fact that the bird feels in control of the cage territory. You need to notice where your bird is in his cycle, and you need to have the proper training to handle the bird safely.
The Yellow-naped Amazon can be a wonderful pet for the person looking for a talented talker and gifted trickster who doesn't need constant coddling. This bird sells itself, by talking to you in a sweet insinuating voice and maybe rubbing that soft head so sweetly over your hand. Some of them will even sing opera or other tunes to win your heart. But you do need to be aware of the dark side and to consider whether you're willing to invest in the training required to keep the bird sweet. Are you ready to meet the challenge?
Yellow-naped Amazons can be downright lazy birds who are happy to claim a too-small cage for their personal territory. For a bird that can be seen flying for miles in the wild, they are amazingly quick to pretend that they can't fly anywhere except straight down. They will be happy in a smaller cage, and they may complain about the larger one, but for the sake of their health, you must ignore their advice and 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 Yellow-naped Amazon to step on 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. Yellow-naped Amazons can be indolent, and they like to think they can get what they want with a sweet-voiced, “Pretty bird,” but you must insist that they exercise to keep their muscles strong.
Yellow-naped Amazons demand 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. Other individuals seem to stay slim no matter how much they eat. 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 overweight.
That said, there are several diets that can work for the Yellow-naped Amazon. Many people find that a good pellet-based diet, 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 Yellow-naped 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
SMART, loving bird, best talkers, lovely vocal skills, Natural clowns, unique personality
bite, hormonal season, lead poisoning, territoriality, lovehate
activity tree, active bird, chatterboxes, distinctive yellow nape, educational program
So we got Amigo as a hatchling from a breeder in Laguna Beach, California. He was hand-fed and we participated in every aspect of his care with the breeder prior to his arrival in our home. What a character! From the moment he met our dog, Leonard, it was his mission to tease and annoy him! When he started talking we were so surprised that is was TO the dog! He literally jingled the bell at the top of his cage and called the dog!! "Leonard, come on, come on, let's go for a ride!" And that silly dog fell for it time and time again...partly because he either didn't realize it was the bird or because he figured the bell sounded just the like keys my sister jingled to call the dog for his favorite trip in the car! He would come tearing down the stairs and skid to a halt, sliding the floor mat up against the front door and then look at us, wagging, as if to say, "Ok! Here I am. Ready for adventure." The few times he realized we were going nowhere, he would look up at the cage in disgust, almost perceptibly muttering, "stupid bird" under his breath! We had so much fun with Amigo for the 18 years he lived. He would hang upside down from the perch and squawk loudly and ask, "How do I look? How do I look?" Hilarious. My sister taught him to sing a little Sesame Street song: "It ain't easy bein' green." But then he would add weird stuff on his own like, " A bow bow....oh, Frankie!!!" We never knew where he picked up half of his vocabulary but he put it all together and would talk for hours. For many years after he passed we would watch the videos we made of him and his numerous antics...he is forever missed. .
From petlover2 Jun 6 2018 10:12PM
An Everpresent Companion
I've had my parrot my life; she's as old as I am. As such she has been an omnipresent companion to me. She has always been exceptionally healthy. I have heard of Amazons suffering problems into their twenties, but mine (now over 26) is still the same bird she was when I was a kid. I think the key has been the right diet--one high in protein and fresh fruits and vegetables. She has always been extremely loving towards me, but she can be quite aggressive towards those she does not know well. Frankly speaking, I find that to be part of her charm, but if other Amazons are anything like her, I'd recommend getting to know them well before sticking your hands anywhere near their beaks. They can bite hard! The only other issue some may have is with noise. She likes to squawk, and her voice carries surprisingly well. Usually, this just means she wants attention, but I can imagine some may find that off-putting. That said, she is a fantastic pet and supremely loyal. Moreover, she consistently displays a level of intelligence and, dare I say, intellect that is shocking to those not familiar with her kind..
From DerekRPorter Sep 8 2015 11:15PM
Soothing voice, mirror and music
We had several behavioral issues with our young yellow nape amazon parrot when we moved from a house to a condo. He was agitated by his new environment and new sounds in the evenings that summer. I started playing soothing music every evening and hung a large mirror very near his cage and he started standing on top of the cage and dancing and chirping to his reflection...after awhile he would literally self soothe this way. In the beginning it took much soothing talk to go with the background music but consistent calming in this manner really paid off in the long run. .
From petlover2 162 days ago