Mealy Amazon

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Is the Mealy Amazon right for you?

Species group:

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 basics:
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.)

Average size:
38 centimeters (15 in.)

50+ years

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


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heavier bird, intellectually stimulating toys, wolf whistle, perch potatoes

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