Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot: Bird Profile

Yellow-Naped Amazon

Yellow-naped Amazon parrots are intelligent animals that make excellent pets for owners who want to develop a close relationship with their birds. Their remarkable ability to speak makes them one of the most popular Amazon parrot species. However, they are not the best bird for families with children, as they are known to go through a phase of mild aggression as they approach puberty.

Species Description

COMMON NAMES: Yellow-naped Parrot, Golden-naped Amazon

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Amazona ochrocephala auropalliata

ADULT SIZE: 12 to 15 inches, weighs about 1 pound.

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 50 to 60 years or more with proper care; some live to 70 or even 90 years.

Origin and history

Sometimes considered a subspecies of the Yellow-crowned Amazon Parrot, these birds are native to the Pacific side of Central America and northern South America. They live primarily in southern Mexico and northwestern Costa Rica.

There are two known subspecies of the Yellow-crowned Amazon. The Honduran Amazon (Amazona ochrocephala parvipes) lives in Honduras, the Bay Islands, and parts of Nicaragua. The Roatan Parrot (Amazona ochrocephala caribae) is also native to northern Honduras and Roatan Island.

Like many exotic parrots, this species is threatened with extinction in the wild. It is threatened by deforestation and illegal trapping.


Yellow-necked Samazons are happy, fun birds that like to be the center of attention.

Hand-fed Amazon parrots tend to be loving and affectionate pets. However, like many Amazons, Yellow-naped Amazon parrots go through a phase of hormonal exuberance as they approach sexual maturity (from 4 months to 1 year of age). Although this phase passes, it can sometimes last up to two years.

During their bluffing phase, yellow-naped amazons may bite and exhibit other aggressive behaviors. It is more evident in males, and some birds display more than others. For this reason, you should consider a female parrot. Generally, an Amazon parrot is not the best pet for families with children.

Speech and vocalization

These parrots do not squawk as much as others but are sometimes very loud. However, they are excellent talkers and singers. These birds can be trained to develop a fairly extensive vocabulary of words that are pronounced with great human-like clarity, but be careful what you say. They have also been known to pick up (and relentlessly remember) some phrases that the bird would be better off forgetting.

Yellow-naped parakeet colors and markings

Yellow-naped Amazons are usually bright green. Their name comes from a yellow spot on the underside of the nape along the back of the neck. Another yellow spot often appears on the forehead and crown, and they have red stripes on the wing feathers. These birds have gray to black bills and legs.

There is an impressive color mutation of this bird. Their main plumage is bluish-green with a darker turquoise on the wings and a white patch on the nape. They are rare and fetch a high price in the birding world.

Males and females are exactly alike. To distinguish the two sexes, your bird will need genetic testing or surgical sexing. DNA testing is the least invasive method and can be purchased inexpensively online.

Caring for a Yellow-naped Amazon Parrot

Yellow-naped Amazon parrots require a lot of attention and you will need to set aside a specific time each day for personal contact with your bird. This socialization is key to building and maintaining a healthy bond. 

These birds thrive on social interaction and need it to stay healthy and happy. Depression or anxiety can lead to physical and emotional problems, such as plucking feathers or biting people.

For these reasons, you should ask about the history of any adult bird you are considering adopting. Bad habits, past trauma, and improper training can result in a parrot that even the best behaviorists will find difficult to rehabilitate.

Prospective owners should keep in mind that by adopting a yellow-naped amazon, they are taking on the care of a creature that is as intelligent and emotional as a human baby. Because of its long life span, caring for a yellow-naped amazon is not a commitment to be taken lightly.

Be sure to provide a suitable cage for this bird, at least 10 square feet. The bird may look small, but it needs room to move and play. Keep the bird occupied when you are away by equipping the cage with ladders, perches, and interactive toys.

Common health problems

Amazons are relatively healthy and long-lived birds, but they are prone to the following diseases:

  • Feather pecking, usually resulting from neglect or lack of mental/physical stimulation.
  • Psittacosis, also called parrot fever, is an infection caused by the bacterium chlamydia.
  • Poor eating habits and obesity, which can be prevented by a healthy, balanced diet and regular daily exercise

Diet and nutrition

Amazon parrots feed on a wide variety of seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, and plants in the wild.

Like all Amazon parrots, captive yellow-naped Amazons are prone to obesity. Obesity can not only take years off a bird’s lifespan but can also lead to tumors and other serious health problems. Provide your bird with a healthy diet, limit high-fat foods such as seeds and nuts, and exercise daily.


A mentally stimulating activity for your bird is to occasionally hide a treat, which mimics the bird’s foraging instinct.

Yellow-naped amazons are best fed high-quality pelleted food supplemented with a seed mix. Daily servings of bird-friendly fresh fruits and vegetables will also ensure that your bird receives the proper amount of vitamins and nutrients it needs. Feed 1/3 to 1/2 cups of pellet food and 1/3 to 1/2 cups of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. A raw and varied diet will help ensure that your bird receives optimal nutrition.


A yellow-headed amazon needs at least 3 hours of exercise outside the cage daily to burn excess calories and stretch its muscles. This activity helps prevent weight gain and also provides the bird with much-needed mental stimulation.

Since these birds are intelligent and prone to boredom, be sure to provide plenty of activities to keep them busy. You can teach the Yellow-naped Amazon tricks or give it puzzle-type toys to keep its brain active. Give them toys that stimulate the parrot’s chewing instinct and help them burn energy in the cage.


  • Social, affectionate, loyal
  • Intelligent, good mimic, and conversationalist.


  • Can be noisy
  • Can be rough and aggressive during puberty.

Where can you adopt or buy a yellow-headed amazon parakeet?

Before buying a double yellow-headed Amazon from an aviary or breeder, check with shelters and rescue organizations. They can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $3,000 from a breeder. Online resources can point you in the right direction to breeders or rescues:

  • Bird Breeders
  • Birds Now
  • Adopting a pet

When buying from a breeder, be sure to interview them, check the birds’ overall health, investigate living conditions and talk to previous customers. Signs that you should avoid the breeder include cramped living conditions, inactive birds, and breeders who dodge your questions or don’t seem to know much about their birds.

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