Taxonomy

  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Psittacidae
  • Genus: Amazona

The Yellow-headed Amazon – Amazona oratrix (Ridgway, 1887) – is a large green parrot with a characteristic yellow head. Compared to the Yellow-crowned Amazon and Yellow-naped Amazon the yellow color on the Yellow-headed Amazon covers a much larger area of the head.

According to IUCN the Yellow-headed Amazon is endangered due to habitat loss and trapping for illegal ; about 80% of their natural habitat has been lost due to agriculture and settlements. It is listed on CITES Appendix I but still many birds are being exported illegally from Mexico each year.

Description

Mostly green plumage with yellow head and neck – sometimes with scattered green feathers in the neck. Orange/red bend of wing and lesser wing coverts. The short broad tail is green, often with a lighter yellow/green near the tip, and red at the base. The bill is pale horn colored. The eyes are orange with a white eye ring.

On juveniles the yellow area covers only the lores and crown. The bill is grey at the base and the eyes are brown.

Size:  36-38 cm
Weight: ~500g

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Habitat

The natural habitat includes southern Mexico, Belize and northern Honduras.

The Yellow-headed Amazon inhabits humid riverine woodland, tall deciduous forest, dense thorn-forest and savanna. In the northern Atlantic lowlands they are usually found in semi-arid regions but further south they prefer more humid savannas. 

The Amazona oratrix belizensis sub-species inhabits pine savannas and evergreen forest patches in Belize.

Subspecies

  • Amazona oratrix oratrix (Ridgway, 1887) : southwest and southern Mexico. Colors as described above.
  • Amazona oratrix belizensis (Monroe & Howell, TR, 1966) : Belize. The yellow area is restricted to the forehead, crown, lores and around eyes,  ear coverts and upper cheek. The eye ring is grey/white.
  • Amazona oratrix hondurensis (Lousada & Howell, SNG, 1997) : northern Honduras. The yellow area is restricted to only the crown and forehead.

Diet

Wild birds feed on buds, fruits, seeds and flowers.

Aviculture

The Yellow-headed Amazon is common in captivity. With proper care they may reach 50-60 years.

The aviary should be at least 3m long and they should not be exposed to temperatures below 10°C/50F

A vertical box about 30x30x60cm is used as nest box.

The clutch usually contains 2-4 eggs, which are incubated for 26 days. The chicks reach fledging age after 9 weeks. 

Synonyms

  • Danish: Gulhovedet Amazone
  • English: Yellow-headed Amazon, Yellow-headed Parrot
  • Frensh: Amazone à tête jaune
  • German: Gelbkopfamazone
  • Portuguese: Papagaio-de-cabeça-amarela
  • Spanish: Amazona cabecigualda, Loro Cabeza Amarilla

IUCN Red List

BirdLife International. 2020. Amazona oratrix. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T22686337A179331301. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-3.RLTS.T22686337A179331301.en. Downloaded on 29 December 2020.

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