|Common Name||Blue-fronted Amazon|
|Scientific Name||Amazona aestiva|
|Lifespan||50 – 60 Years|
|Size||35-37 cm (13.6 – 14.4 inches)|
|Body Mass||13 – 17oz. (375 – 500 grams)|
|Habitat||Palm groves, woodland, savanna|
|Range||North-eastern Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay|
Northern Argentina, South-western Mato Grosso
Information & Physical Appearance
The Blue-fronted Amazon (Amazona aestiva), also known as Yellow-winged Parrot and Turquoise-fronted Amazon, is classified in the order Psittaciformes, the family Psittacidae, the genus Amazona.
Two races are recognized up-to-date (with the nominate race included), namely A.a. aestiva and A.a. xanthopteryx.
1. A.a. aestiva – Turquoise-fronted Amazon (nominate race).
The blue-fronted amazon is described by mainly green plumage. The feathers are edged in soft black tones.
On the forehead zone, just above the beak, there are blue feathers. On the face, as well as on the crown, the feathers are yellow.Ultimately, the distribution of both yellow and blue greatly varies among different individuals.
Also, there may or may not be white coloration on the forecrown, apart from the yellow.
The throat area, the forecheeks, as well as the area from the ear coverts to around the eyes and behind the crown display yellow coloration, too.
On the bend of the wing, red coloration is noticeable. The secondary feathers have 1-5 bases red, while the remainder is green.
Unlike the case with most other Amazon parrot species, the beak of the blue-fronted amazon is mostly black in color. The feet are grey.
Being a monomorphic species, adult males and females look alike, and the only way for owners to identify the sex of the birds is either during surgery or through DNA sexing.
The bill is slate gray. The eyes are usually orange, yet in some individuals, they may sometimes be red in color. The narrow-shaped eye-ring is white.
The tail is colored in green and is red at the very base.
Adult females have less yellow on the face than adult males.
The nominate race is a bit smaller than the xanthopetryx race, with mature birds weighing between 13 – 15.75 oz. (respectively, 375 – 450grams).
2. A.a. xanthopteryx – Yellow-winger Parrot
Both male and female adults pretty much resemble adults in the aestiva race. However, in the xanthopteryx race, there is a yellow bend of the wing instead of red, as seen in aestiva.
Also, yellow-winger parrots are characterized by lesser wing coverts. In addition to that, there is more yellow on the head.
Yellow wingers attain a slightly bigger weight than the nominate race, reaching between 14 – 17.5oz. (respectively, 400 – 500 grams).
Immature blue-fronted amazons of both races are similar in appearance to adults. However, in juveniles, the head coloration is less extensive, and in fact, some individuals may have entirely green heads.
Overall, the coloration of juveniles of parrots is duller, and their irises are dark. Also, there is less red on the wing.
The successfully captive breeding of blue-fronted amazons has brought a few color mutations to life, for instance, the cinnamon blue-fronted amazons, which are characterized by having brownish-yellow body feathers, instead of green.
The lutino blue-fronted amazon variation is described as having white feathers on parts of the body where yellow feathers would normally occur.
The blue color mutation has given way to blue-fronted amazons that are entirely blue in color, with patches of vivid yellow.
Turquoise-fronted amazons can easily live up to 50 – 60 years of age with proper care.
There are recorded cases of captive blue-fronted amazons living up to 80 years of age. However, it is most commonly the case that blue-fronted amazons kept as pet lives for roughly 35 years.
In the wild, the average life span of blue-fronted parrots is estimated at 27 years.
Ecosystem & Habitat
A.a. aestiva is found in the inland parts of eastern Brazil, from southern Para and Pernambuco to southern Mato Gross and western Sao Paulo.
A.a.xanthopteryx is native to southern Mato Grosso, eastern and northern Bolivia, northern Argentina, and Paraguay.
In northwestern Paraguay, northeastern Argentina and southern Mato Gross xanthopteryx race intergrade with the aestiva race.
The preferred type of habitat includes savanna, palm groves, and woodland. These birds are known to avoid extensive humid forests, e.g., the Amazons) in favor of open country with trees and wooded habitats in general.
Blue-fronted amazons can be found at elevations of up to 5248ft. (1600 meters) in eastern Bolivia.
Interestingly, in the greener regions of Stuttgart, Germany, a small feral breeding population is present.
Even though blue-fronted amazons have been observed in the wild in Puerto Rico, too, no breeding populations have been recorded, and the observed birds are most probably the result of escaped pets.
Food & Diet
Like other Amazon parrots, blue-fronted amazons’ diet in the wild includes a wide variety of nuts, fruits, seeds, berries, leaf buds, blossoms, and other vegetation. Also, it is believed that they take some amount of proteins.
Blue-fronted amazons are foragers that are known to feed while clambering from one branch to another. The fruits of the native African palm oil tree are especially favored.
Blue-fronted Amazons are monogamous birds. Also, they are exceptionally social and are known to stick close to their flock all year-round.
Even though these parrots are non-migratory, they do occasionally engage in local migrations in search of more abundant food resources.
Sometimes, it is possible to see blue-fronted amazons quite close to human habitation in their native range.
Blue-fronted amazons use a total of six calls when it comes to various situations, such as distress, flying, feeding, and contact.
The call is described as a wide repertoire of shrieks, whistles, yapping help notes, such as “Waahh,” “Gu-gugu,” “Ka-kaka,” and “Grr-uip.”
In captivity, these birds are cherished for their excellent abilities in mimicking human speech and other sounds.
The breeding season starts in October and continues throughout March. The turquoise-fronted amazon is to lay from 3 and up to 5 ovate eggs per clutch, measuring 1.5 x 1.2 inches (38 x 30mm).
These birds nest in tree cavities.
The incubation of the eggs is performed by the female and takes approximately 27 days. The young chicks are to leave the nest in about 2 months (60 days) after hatching.
Survival Threats & Conservation
Sadly, blue-fronted amazons keep being recklessly trapped in large numbers for the exotic wild bird trade. Illegal trapping is one of the major survival threats to these birds in the wild.
Habitat loss is also greatly contributing to the decreasing population trend.
According to BirdLife International, this parrot species is evaluated as Least Concern. It is evaluated as Least Concern by the IUCN, too.
Even though blue-fronted amazons remain common throughout much of their natural range, there is troubling evidence of a population decline. This is a serious concern, especially when taking into account that this species keeps being heavily traded.
The turquoise-fronted parrot was listed on CITES Appendix II ever since 1981. Unfortunately, a total of 413 505 wild-caught individuals have been recorded as part of the illegal international trade by January 2005.
In parts of its native range, this parrot species is regarded as a crop pest.
Illegal trade is believed to have possibly contributed to the expansion of this parrot’s range, which is quite paradoxical. Blue-fronted amazons are progressively becoming common in Rio de Janeiro, which is not a part of these birds’ natural range, historically speaking, but instead, it is associated with escaped cage birds that have managed to adapt in the wild outside their native range.
Availability – Where to Get a Blue-fronted Amazon
The blue-fronted amazon is fairly commonly seen as a pet in many different countries all over the globe.
Usually, it is easy to come across blue-fronted amazons available for sale at pet stores. However, going through a reputable bird breeder is strongly recommended.
By acquiring a blue-fronted parrot from a trust-worthy breeder, potential caregivers will be able to receive a verification of the bird’s origins and health status.
Also, it may be possible to contact local breeders and ask them to pay them a visit in order to spend some time with their birds.
As a rule of thumb, the more one can visit a blue-fronted amazon prior to finally bringing the bird home, the better, since this is the best way to gain tons of valuable insights into what it feels like to live with one of these amazing feathery fellows.
1. A large international team of researchers has recently analyzed the genome of the Amazon parrot, as well as 26 other bird species, revealing that blue-fronted parrots, among other amazons and different other long-lived bird species, do share a big number of similar gene mutations that are associated with longevity.
Furthermore, the groundbreaking analysis further revealed that blue-fronted amazons and other long-lived bird species do go through certain changes that are quite similar to the changes occurring in human genes associated with more advanced cognitive abilities and larger brains.
2. Even though the taxon xanthopteryx is treated as a separate species, the two subspecies (the taxon xanthopteryx and the nominate race) are known to interbreed freely whenever they come in contact in certain parts of their range in the wild.
3. In one extreme, blue-fronted amazon individuals possessing essentially no yellow on the head zone, while also being entirely green on the “shoulders,” were found in north-western Argentina.
4. It was in 2004 when the psittaculturist Howard Voren succeeded in achieving an extremely red color mutation of the species, known as chocolate raspberry.
In the chocolate raspberry mutation, the yellow plumage was replaced with red/pink tones. The greens were replaced with chocolate-brown hues. The depth, as well as the intensity of the unusual color, varied by location on the body.
5. Even though there is no visible sexual dimorphism to the naked human eye, analysis of the feathers of the blue-fronted amazon using spectrometry, which allows for the plumage to be seen as a parrot will see it using its tetrachromatic vision, revealed clear differences between the plumage of adult males and females.
5. It is suggested that the blue-fronted amazons’ plumage reflectance of UV light may actually aid in mate selection, sexual communication, and, nonetheless, in courting displays.
How to Care for the Blue-fronted Amazon
Being an especially active bird, the minimum recommended cage size for a blue-fronted amazon is a 3-foot cube, at least 9.84ft. in length.
However, mind that providing a larger cage is always better.
For owners who cannot get a fairly large cage, make sure to compensate this by allowing your parrot to spend extra time out of the cage on a daily basis.
Both suspended cages and aviaries will work great.
2. Cage Enrichment & Accessories
Provide a variety of toys, including destructible, non-toxic, bird-safe toys, as well as destructible non-toxic toys.
Food-finder toys and preening toys are especially favored.
Equip the cage/aviary with a variety of hanging perch toys of different sizes and texture. Fir branches also work great.
Push-and-pull toys are highly recommended, too, and so are vegetable-tanned leather toys.
Make sure to include bathing accessories.
Provide a suitable nest box, which should be a vertical box measuring 12″ x 12″ x 24″.
Expect 3 and up to 4 eggs to be laid by the female. It will take about a month for the eggs to be incubated (around 28 days).
4. Diet & Feeding
At least 40% of the blue-fronted parrots’ diet should be compromised of fruits, cooked, as well as soaked peas and beans, and vegetables. These should be served daily in moderate amounts.
60% of the diet should consist of high-quality seed mixtures. Pick seed mixtures with a limited amount of sunflower. Also, it is best to remove peanuts.
Opt for pellets that are free of any artificial colors or flavoring.
As a rule of thumb, food items that are high in Vitamin A are highly favored, including par-boiled carrots, raw or cooked red bell peppers, cooked sweet potato, and broccoli.
From spring to autumn, offer whole young plants of sow thistle and dandelion, as these are especially valuable.
During the summer and early autumn, seeding dock makes an excellent food item.
For extra Calcium, provide some cheese and bones occasionally.
Cooked chicken is a suitable source of protein.
Provided the blue-fronted amazon pet is well-socialized, this bird is known to enjoy the company of the entire family, instead of possibly turning into a one-person pet. However, these birds do tend to choose a favorite member of the family with whom they are capable of establishing an especially strong bond.
Turquoise-fronted amazons are regarded as comical, active birds to keep as pets, and they are natural performers who adore spending time around their owners. They do require plenty of attention, though.
In general, blue-fronted amazons are not aggressive to humans or other birds. However, some individuals may exhibit aggressive behavior, which is believed to occur as an attempt to protect their owners from perceived danger. One of the most common aggressive behaviors on that note is none other but dive-bombing.
Also, breeding/molting males tend to become slightly territorial, and hence, more aggressive.
Ultimately, these parrots are known to vocalize quite often, being the prolific singers and talkers that they are, so they can become very loud when they wish to. Some claim that these parrots are even better screamers than talkers!
Morning wakes up calls that usually last for as little as 10 minutes are quite common.
Overall, this species is very independent, easy-going, and social. As compared with other amazons, blue fronts tend to be calmer, and they are capable of keeping themselves entertained on their own for some time.
All in all, the blue-fronted amazon prefers to be part of the fun and action, whether it comes to keeping you company while you are cleaning up, watching TV, or simply eating your dinner. It requires regular human interaction, so potential owners need to make sure that they will be able to spend plenty of time with their feathery friends.
Having a portable play stand that can be moved from room to room is highly recommended. The reward? Having tons of fun watching the blue-fronted pet’s acrobatic antics wherever you go!
To stay healthy and live up to its fullest potential, a blue-fronted amazon needs to spend at least 3 – 4 hours per day outside the cage. That’s especially important if the cage is small-sized.
Regular activities outside the cage allow the parrot to play freely while also stretching the wings to maintain proper function.
Also, note that these parrots love to chew and climb. It is good to keep extra chew toys handy so that the bird will never run out of entertainment when you are not around to interact with your pet.
As a rule of thumb, bath time is an especially joyful moment of time for the blue-fronted amazon pet. Offer a suitably-sized water bowl and watch your feathery fellow splash around happily.
Also, you can spritz your parrot with water, but do mind that some individuals prefer being bathed in the sink instead.
7. Speech & Sounds
Blue-fronted parrots are known as excellent talkers, and in fact, their talking ability is nearly as great as that of the members of the yellow-headed amazon group. Also, blue-fronted parrots have a proclivity for singing.
When trained properly, and provided with plenty of love and attention, they will not become excessively noisy and/or loud.
What Do Blue-fronted Amazon Parrots Eat?
In the wild, blue–fronted amazons eat fruits, berries, blossoms, leaf buds, seeds, and nuts. In captivity, they thrive on a varied, balanced diet that mimics their natural food, more specifically, pelleted seeds, as well as fruits and veggies.
Where Do Blue-fronted Amazons Live?
Blue-fronted Amazon parrots live in South America, and they originate in Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. These birds are also commonly kept as pets, living happily in humans’ homes in different countries worldwide.
How Long Do Blue-fronted Amazons Live?
In captivity, blue-fronted amazons are known to live for about 30 years on average. However, with proper care, they can easily live up to 60, or even up to 80 years of age. In the wild, these birds live for roughly 27 years.
Are Blue-fronted Amazons Good Talkers?
Yes, Blue-fronted Amazons are known as prolific talkers, as well as singers. These creatures are rather vocal and can be quite loud.
How Big Do Blue-fronted Amazon Parrots Get?
Blue-fronted amazons are considered medium-sized birds. They get as big as about 15 inches in total length and weigh about 14 ounces.
How Much Do Blue-fronted Amazons Cost?
Blue-Fronted Amazons typically cost less than other varieties of amazon parrots. Depending on the breeder, the price of blue-fronted amazons ranges between $500 and $1000 on average.
What Age Do Blue-fronted Amazons Breed?
Blue–fronted Amazons are ready to breed once they reach sexual maturity at around 2 – 3 years of age.
Are Blue-fronted Amazon Parrots Good Pets?
Blue-fronted Amazon parrots can make lovely pets for the right owners, as these birds are highly intelligent and affectionate, although they must be trained properly, or else, they can be very temperamental. Blue-fronted parrots are considered among the best talkers in the Amazon family, yet they can be rather vocal and noisy, and therefore, not well-suited to apartment dwellers.
Are Blue-fronted Amazons Loud?
In general, blue-fronted Amazons are quite vocal and can become especially loud and noisy in the lack of proper training, which must start at an early age. Being active and comical, these birds are regarded as natural performers that love to spend time around their owners and will not hesitate to ham it up in order to receive extra attention.
At What Age Do Blue-fronted Amazons Start Talking?
The age at which blue-fronted amazons will start talking varies from one individual to another and is also heavily dependent on the amount of time and attention provided by the owner. Usually, most amazon parrots will start talking when they are around 3 and up to 12 months of age.
Are Blue-fronted Amazons Aggressive?
Blue-fronted amazons are not aggressive in general, yet adult males tend to exhibit aggressive behavior during the breeding season. Also, even though these parrots are known to get along with other family pets, it is best to always supervise them when they are outside the cage since it is possible that they become more aggressive toward other animals in the home at times.