Amazona leucocephala – Cuban Amazon

Cuban Amazon – Amazona leucocephala (Linnaeus, 1758) – was previously rare in captivity but now more captive birds are successfully breeding. It is a medium sized green parrot

With proper care they can live for 50-60 years.

They are social birds and are generally found in small groups when foraging; where the food is abundant they will gather in even larger groups. They roost communally. During breeding time they are seen in pairs.

The Cuban Amazon is Near Threatened according to the IUCN Red List and it is included on CITES Appendix I and EU Annex A! Not only are they threatened by being trapped for cage bird trade but the trees used for breeding are often destroyed by the trappers in order to excavate the chicks from the nests, which make it impossible to use these trees for future nesting. Hurricanes have also destroyed parts of their habitat.


Both adults have an overall green body with black scalloping. The forecrown, forehead and area around the eyes are white. Dull black ear coverts. Pink lores, cheeks and throat. The tail is green with red at base. Maroon colored belly. The eyes are olive-green with white eye ring. The beak is horn colored.

The juveniles have similar colors but with less black scalloping and less maroon on belly; the white forecrown is washed with yellow.

Size: 32 cm
Weight: 240-262 g


Amazona leucocephala leucocephala (Linnaeus, 1758) :

  • Native to Cuba and Isle of Pines.
  • Colors as described above.

Amazona leucocephala bahamensis (Bryant, H, 1867) – Bahama Amazon :

  • Endemic to Bahamas.
  • Colors similar to nominate subspecies but the maroon patch on the belly is smaller or entirely missing; the white crown extends longer back; less red at base of tail; also larger in size.

Amazona leucocephala caymanensis (Cory, 1886) – Cayman Amazon :

  • Endemic to Grand Cayman Island
  • Body color is more yellow/green and has less evident scalloping; the white area on the head is smaller and limited to the forehead only; the maroon patch is less extensive; the breast and rump are tinged with blue. Also larger in size.

Amazona leucocephala hesterna (Bangs, 1916) :

  • Endemic to Cayman Brac Island.
  • The body color is more yellow/green; the maroon patch is more evident; deeper red cheeks and throat. Also smaller in size than nominate subspecies.


Breeding range includes Cuba, Bahamas and Cayman Islands.

The different subspecies are geographically separated and inhabits different habitats: In Cuba they prefer dense woodland; in the Bahamas they inhabit broadleaf and pine woodlands; in the Cayman Islands they inhabit dry forest and nearby agricultural land.

While most parrots nests in hollow trees the population on Abaco nests underground in limestone holes, which offer protection against forest fires.


Wild birds feed on leaf buds, fruit, seeds, cones and tender shoots. Sometimes they will also feed on cultivated crops.


Breeding time is from March to September. Breeding is more difficult than most other Amazon species and the male often becomes aggressive towards their mate and chicks.

The aviary should be at least 3 m long. Use a vertical box about 30 x 30 x 60 cm for nest box.

The clutch usually contains 3 – 5 eggs, that are incubated by the female for 27-28 days. The chicks reach fledging age 8 weeks after hatching.



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


  • Danish: Cubaamazone, Cuba-amazone
  • English: Cuban Amazon, Cuban Parrot, Caribbean Amazon, Caribbean Parrot, White-headed Amazon, White-headed Parrot, Rose-throated Parrot, Bahama Amazon, Bahaman Parrot, Cayman Amazon
  • French: Amazone à face rouge, Amazone à tête blanche, Amazone de Cuba
  • German: Kubaamazone
  • Portuguese: Papagaio-de-cuba
  • Spanish: Amazona Cubana, Cotorra, Cotorra de Cuba
  • Scientific: Amazona leucocephala

IUCN Red List

BirdLife International 2020. Amazona leucocephala. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T22686201A179212864.
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