Yellow-crowned Amazon Care Sheet

Scientific Facts

Common NameYellow-crowned Amazon
Scientific NameAmazona ochrocephala
Lifespan50 – 60 Years
Size31 – 38cm (12.1 – 14.8 inches)
Mass80 – 500g (13.3 – 17.5 oz)
HabitatWoodland, savanna, mangroves, dry and humid tropical forests, cultivated land
DistributionAmazon basin and Guianas, northwestern South America, Panama

Information & Physical Appearance

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The Yellow-crowned Amazon (Amazona ochrocephala) belongs to the order Psittaciformes, the family Psittacidae, and the genus Amazona.

Other common names include Yellow-fronted Amazon, Yellow-fronted Parrot, Yellow-crowned Parrot, Panama Amazon, Panama Parrot, Panama Yellow-fronted Amazon, Natterer’s Amazon, and Marajo Yellow-crowned Amazon.
There are four races in the nominate group (including the nominate species), namely ochrocephala, panamensis, nattereri, and xantholaema.

The nominate group consists of “true” yellow-crowned amazons, while the auropalliata group consists of three subspecies of yellow-naped amazons, and the oratrix group consists of four subspecies of yellow-headed amazons.

What is common for all the subspecies in the nominate group is that they typically attain a total body length of 13 – 15 inches. The tail is short and squarish. The plumage is primarily green.

1. A.o. ochrocephala – Yellow-crowned Amazon (nominate race)

In both sexes, adults are predominantly colored in green. Starting from the nape feathers and reaching the back feathers, dusky black coloration can be noticed on the edges.

The forehead, as well as the forecrown, is yellow. Meanwhile, the lores are marked in bright green.

The thighs display green coloration washed with yellow. The carpal edge is green/yellow.

There is a red base on the outer tail feathers, which is hard to see under normal viewing conditions in the wild.

Additionally, these feathery creatures possess dark blue and red sections that are also difficult to see when the birds are perched. Ultimately, the feather bases of secondaries, ranging from 1 and up to 5, is colored in red, while the remainder is green.

The tail is also green in color, with red at the very base. The bill’s sides of the upper mandible are orange, and the rest of the bill itself is dark grey.

The eyes are orange, too, and there is a white eye-ring.

2. A.o. xantholaema – Marajo Yellow-crowned Amazon 

In both sexes, adults are generally green, with yellow reaching the upper cheeks, ear coverts, and nonetheless, the nape.

There is a green frontal band. Unlike the case with A.o. ochrocephala species, the thighs of A.o. xantholaema species are yellow in color. Also, Marajo yellow-crowned amazons are larger in size as compared with the nominate species.

3. A.o. nattereri – Natterer’s Amazon 

In both sexes, the mature individuals are quite similar in appearance to the nominate species. However, Natterer’s Amazons tend to be darker green in color.
Furthermore, the cheeks are green, and so are the ear coverts. The throat is washed with tints of blue. Although occasionally, a tint of blue may be also noticed on the underparts.

4. A.o. panamensis – Panama Amazon

Both adult females and adult males are characterized by yellow coloration on the lores, forecrown, and forehead.Starting from the hindcrown and reaching up to the area above the eyes, panamensis species display blue/green coloration.
On the bend of the wing, there is only minimal red color. Usually, the thighs are green, yet sometimes, they may be washed with yellow.

Panama Amazons are generally smaller in size than the nominate race species.

When it comes to juvenile yellow-crowned amazons, they are duller colored, as compared with adults.

Immatures display yellow coloration only on the forehead. Also, red coloration is significantly less visible on the bend of the wing. Juveniles have brown eyes, instead of orange, as seen in adults, and the bill is dark grey/brown.

Short Summary

It is the subspecies xantholaema that is known to have most of the head colored in yellow.

Meanwhile, the amount of yellow coloration on the head of the other races varies and is restricted to the crown region of the body. Only occasionally, there may be a few random yellow feathers around the eyes, too.

Moreover, panamensis differs by having a horn-colored beak. The other races have a dark-colored bill with a large gray horn or reddish spot located on the upper mandible.

What is common for all of the four races is that they have a white eye-ring.


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The yellow-crowned amazon is known to live for about 50 – 60 years on average. However, there are also recorded cases of this bird species being capable of reaching between 80 and up to 100 years of age.

The generation length is estimated at 12.3 years

Ecosystem & Habitat

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While additional populations of this bird species are found in northwestern South America, as well as in Panama, the primary native range includes the Guianas and the Amazon basin.

Furthermore, the yellow-crowned amazon has been successfully introduced to Grand Cayman, with breeding populations reported in Puerto Rico.

A.o. ochrocephala – Yellow-crowned Amazon (nominate race)

Native to northeastern Brazil and the Guianas, eastern Colombia, and Venezuela. It is believed to be introduced into Trinidad, too.

A.o. xantholaema – Marajo Yellow-crowned Amazon

It is found at the mouth of the Amazon River, Ilha do Marahjo, as well as in northeastern Brazil.

A.o.nattereri – Nattereri’s Amazon

It occurs in eastern Brazil to northwestern Mato Grosso, southern Colombia, and further south through eastern Ecuador and eastern Peru, all the way to Santa Cruz.

A.o. panamensis – Panama Amazon

Native to northwestern Colombia and Panama. 

Yellow-crowned amazons inhabit savanna woodland, open deciduous areas, humid and dry tropical forests alike, forest clearings or margins, as well as tall, secondary-growth forests.

Even though less commonly, they can be found in suburban areas, urban gardens, and parks, mangroves, and, nonetheless, on cultivated land.

The yellow-crowned amazons is mainly a lowland species; however, it can sometimes be found at elevations of up to 750 – 800 meters (2600ft.) on the Andes’ eastern slopes.

Food & Diet

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In the wild, yellow-crowned amazons consume various wild and cultivated ripe fruits, such as Pereskia guamacho, Curatella Americana, and other cacti, among others. In addition to that, they feed on maize.

Being herbivore, frugivore, and granivore animals, they also feed on a wide range of seeds, berries, leaf buds, blossoms, as well as nuts.


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Yellow-crowned amazons’ calls consist of a wide variety of whistles and shrieks, including boisterous screams. In captivity, these birds are capable of mimicking human speech excellently.

Amazona ochrocephala species are known for their exceptionally social behavior, as they enjoy interacting with other birds in the wild, just as much as they adore interacting with humans in captive settings.

They are usually found in flocks or pairs at feed areas and at communal roosts. While flocks are typically made up of about 30 birds in number, it is possible for larger groups to form at clay deposits.

Even though simple, their courtship display is also attractive. It consists of wing-dropping, bowing, foot-raising, wing-flicking, and tail-wagging performances used for attracting a mate.

Also, the pairs remain very close to each other when roosting.


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Depending on location, the breeding season for yellow-crowned amazons varies. More specifically, the breeding season begins in February and lasts throughout May in Venezuela. In Colombia, the breeding season starts in December and continues throughout January.

The nest is formed in a suitable hollow, usually a hollow in a palm, other trees, or termitarium.

One brood is produced per year, with the clutch consisting of between 2 and up to 4 eggs. The ovate eggs measure 1.4 x 1.2 inches (respectively, 37 x 30 mm).

Incubation takes approximately 26 days. The young chicks are ready to leave the nest within about 60 days from hatching.

Survival Threats & Conservation

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According to BirdLife International, the yellow-crowned amazon is regarded as a species of least concern. Despite the recent decline in populations, yellow-crowned amazons have not yet approached the specific threshold in order to be rated as near threatened species.

Also, Amazona ochrocephala is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Unfortunately, the population trend is decreasing, even though it is not severely fragmented.

Up-to-date, there is no systematic monitoring scheme for this species, and there is no action recovery plan. However, conservation sites are identified over the entire range, and the species is known to occur in at least one protected area.

Some of the major survival threats include trapping for the international pet trade, driven by the great interest of these birds as exotic companions and display animals. Also, they are locally and nationally consumed as food by humans.
Similarly to the case with most parrots, yellow-crowned amazons are listed in appendix II of CITES.

Availability – Where to Get a Yellow-crowned Amazon

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Yellow-crowned amazons tend to be common in captivity, particularly when it comes to the nominate race. The panamensis race is uncommon in captivity.

One can find a yellow-crowned amazon for sale both online and offline from a number of vendors, including pet stores, exotic birds expos, and nonetheless, breeders. It is possible to adopt a yellow-crowned amazon from a bird rescue, too.

When choosing a yellow-crowned amazon, make sure to opt for a captive-bred individual, as not to stimulate the illegal pet trade. Also, captive-reared birds are known to have much more social, playful, well-behaving personalities.

Reliable vendors will be able to give you a full guarantee of the bird’s origin, health status, as well as a refund option.

Interesting Facts

  1. Yellow-crowned amazons are strictly monogamous. Once a mating pair is formed, it stays together for life.
  2. Amazon parrots, including but not limited to yellow-crowned amazons, are strong fliers. They can fly high on flights covering significantly long distances, using shallow wing beats with very little to no gliding. Yellow-crowned amazons will often gather at clay-licks, where they also associate with other species of parrots.
  3. Amazon parrots require a healthy dose of beauty sleep, as they need a minimum of 10 hours of sleep at night.Because of this, their cage should be kept in a room where they will not get to hear a lot of disturbing noises since when faced with a lack of sleep, they can get very cranky, and even violent at times.
  4. Wittily referred to as “Feathered Einsteins,” amazon parrots do not just mimic words, but instead, they can learn to name objects, as well as to count them. Also, they can identify different colors, and in fact, they can even make comparisons!
  5. Yellow-crowned Amazon parrots are known for having a nervous disposition. Because of this, they may develop habits, such as tail chewing or feather plucking. Fortunately, such habits can be corrected with gentle handling in a comfortable environment, where there is plenty of room to exercise and fly, as well as with tons of patience.

How to Care for the Yellow-crowned Amazon

1. Housing

Considering the size of yellow-crowned amazons, as well as their social nature, these birds require a spacious cage to live up to their fullest potential.

Make sure to provide them with a suspended cage that measures at least 9.8ft. in length. Ideally, make use of a suitably-sized aviary.

2. Diet & Feeding

30% of yellow-crowned amazons’ captive diet should consist of fresh fruits and vegetables, such as pears, oranges, apples, cactus fruits, bananas, and pomegranates, carrots, green peas, fresh corn, green leaves, and celery, among others.

Also, provide cooked pulses or beans, and alternate these with sprouted pulses and beans.

The major part of a healthy diet should include a mix of small seeds, spray millet, and a limited amount of sunflower seeds. Provide complete kibble.

Do never feed avocado fruit, as it is toxic to birds.

3. Cage Enrichment & Accessories

Being the intelligent, social, and playful living creatures that they are, yellow-crowned amazon pets will require a variety of foot toys, as well as destructible, bird-safe, non-toxic leather toys and/or woodblock toys and non-destructible, bird-safe plastic toys.

They adore preening toys, food-finder toys, and, nonetheless, hanging perch toys of various textures and sizes.

The cage should also include suitable branches, such as pine, fir, elder, or willow, and the push-and-pull type of toys (the sliding up and down type).

Not the least, shallow water bowls should be available for bathing. Overhead misters will also do a great job for bathing purposes.

4. Health and Common Conditions

Yellow-crowned amazons, similarly to other amazon parrots, are known for their high adaptability and hardiness.

With proper care, love, and attention, these feathery companions should do great with minimum health issues, and ultimately, thrive easily for years to come.

However, it is important to remember that yellow crowns are large pet parrots that require plenty of room in order to fly and exercise, as well as plenty of attention to keep their curious, intelligent minds entertained.

Also, keeping a yellow crown as a pet is a lifelong commitment. Therefore, potential caregivers should better have a plan for the lifetime care for these amazing creatures, considering the high chance for the feathery fellow to outlive his/her owners.

5. Speech and Sounds

Yellow crowns are extremely smart and can become excellent talkers. To help them socialize properly, vocal and social behaviors are strongly recommended for owners.

Yellow-crowned amazons are capable of developing a quite hefty vocabulary. In addition to that, they can repeat complex sentences in a rather loud and clear voice.

However, apart from their amazing speech and sounds, they can also become noisy at particular times of the day, and/or whenever they are to become boredor to be neglected. This should be especially well-considered by apartment dwellers, as these birds may not be the best choice due to their loud, often piercing natural calls that can become bothersome in certain settings.

6. Personality & Behavior

Yellow Crowned Amazons have a solid reputation as wonderful pets, thanks to their easy-going, temperate personality. Also, they are known to possess an incredible mix of highly desirable traits for a pet parrot.

With their good intelligence, they can easily prove to be affectionate, playful, and, nonetheless, fun. They are known to become very affectionate with their caregivers.
Yes, yellow crowns can get mischievous at the time, but this is also part of the fun of having these companions around!

Having a yellow crown pet will allow you to establish a deep bond with the animal, and to create a sincere friendship over time.

7. Breeding

Yellow-crowned amazons are regarded as fairly easy to breed in captivity.

Provide a suitable nest box (a vertical box) measuring 12″ x 12″ x 24″. Expect between 2 – 4 eggs per clutch. It will take 26 days for the female to incubate the eggs.

At hatching, the young chicks weigh as little as 0.5oz. (12 grams).

FAQ Section

How Long Do Yellow-crowned Amazons Live?

In captivity, yellow-crowned amazons can live for up to 100 years, which makes them feathery companions for generations! However, they usually reach between 50 – 60 years of age on average.

Do Yellow-crowned Amazons Enjoy Being Petted?

Yellow-crowned amazons are highly intelligent and very affectionate, so they seem to enjoy being petted with moderation if trained properly. It is good to remember that yellow crowns that have not been trained properly may be rather temperamental, and may also become quite noisy.

How Much Does a Yellow-crowned Amazon Cost?

Yellow-crowned amazons can cost anything between around $1200 to $2500 on average, taking into account their good intelligence, longevity, and playful personality, making them highly desired pets worldwide.

Are Yellow-crowned Amazons Aggressive?

Just like other Amazon parrots, yellow-crowned amazons can become aggressive during their hormonal phase, also known as the aggression phase. When undergoing through this phase, patience is key, as they tend to be difficult to handle, especially by inexperienced owners.

Are Yellow-crowned Amazons Good Pets?

Yellow-crowned Amazons can make great pets for the right owner, as they are naturally social, intelligent, moderately sized, and, nonetheless, good talkers. Also, they can live for many years in captivity with proper care, bringing tons of fun and joy for the caregivers willing to put into the needed efforts, care, and commitment.

At What Age Do Yellow-crowned Amazons Start Talking?

Yellow-crowned amazon parrots will start talking at a different age, and this highly depends on the owner’s interaction with the bird. Typically, most yellow crowns will start talking when they are between 6 and up to 12 months of age, though some may start talking sooner or later than others.

Is the Yellow-crowned Amazon a Good Talker?

Yes, yellow-crowned amazons are good talkers, fully capable of mimicking human speech. The best talking amazons include the yellow-naped amazon, the double yellow-headed amazon, as well as the blue-fronted amazon.

How Smart Are Yellow-crowned Amazons?

All Amazon parrots, including yellow-crowned amazons, are renowned talkers. These birds are smart, outgoing, and highly adaptable, but in order for their natural intelligence to develop to its fullest potential, they require plenty of mental stimulation, attention, social interaction, toys, and training.

Do Yellow-crowned Amazons Smell?

Just like all Amazon parrots, yellow-crowned amazons have a distinct smell, yet should not become bothersome to the owner when the bird is provided with proper care. This odor is most noticeable near the bird’s nares.

Do Yellow-crowned Amazons Bite?

It is possible for yellow-crowned amazons to attempt to bite at times, yet this is not strictly a sign of aggression. Yellow crowns use their beaks for a wide range of functions, such as eating, climbing, preening, and, nonetheless, playing.

Can Yellow-crowned Amazons Eat Bananas?

Yes, yellow-crowned amazons can eat bananas as part of a healthy, varied, balanced diet. Other fruits to feed to a yellow crown pet include apricots, cranberries, apples, mangoes, papayas, pears, pineapples, oranges, tangerines, peaches, and nectarines, among others.

Are Yellow-crowned Amazons One Person Birds?

Whether a yellow-crowned amazon will become a one-person bird or a family pet is strictly dependent on the way the feathery friend is raised and trained. If communicating mostly or solely with one caregiver, the yellow crown pet can quickly become closely bonded to only one person in the family, especially if there is no other cage mate or friend.

White-fronted Amazon Care Sheet

Yellow-headed Amazon Care Sheet