DOUBLE YELLOW-HEAD AMAZONAmazona oratrix
» A generally robust bird that is from 15 to 17" long. » Now considered endangered in their native habitats. CITES I» Readily available in the pet trade, with many older imported birds available for adoption. Often has good talking and singing abilities. Some are very good at opera.» Amazons can be very sweet if they have been socialized and the people in their lives have provided Nurturing Guidance.
I have lived with these Amazons for 43 years and they remain my favorite ... of course, I am biased. Paco is now 43. Paco came to live with me when she was first weaned. Two years later Rascal (who is now 41) came to live with me and I handfed him. Although Paco, who is a hen, and Rascal came from the same breeder, had the same parents, and were raised in the same manner by me, they have very different, but equally interesting, personalities. She is much steadier; he is quite excitable. These may be gender-related or they may simply be individual characteristics. A few years ago, my friend Shari Beaudoin’s son Troy lost his Pionus. Rascal went to live with them. Rascal and Troy have become best buddies and Troy brings out better behavior in Rascal than I ever did.
Yellow-heads are generally playful, acrobatic, enthusiastic, gregarious, and amusing — a real good-time parrot. This quintessential parrot can be a lot of fun to be around. I have met more exceptional singers among Double yellows than any other parrot. Many are also exceptional talkers. As with many Amazons, Yellow heads are very resilient and phobic or fearful behavior is rare in well-raised birds. They are an honest parrot, who despite the mistaken generalization, rarely exhibit unpredictable behavior. It is just a matter of reading the body language that shows excitability or aggression and acting accordingly. These Amazons form strong bonds with their caregivers but may be temporarily fickle. Paco often becomes entranced with women who come to visit — especially blondes who laugh a lot.
These ever-popular parrots have been receiving a bad rap for some time. Negative generalizations include the belief that they are too aggressive to be good companions after sexual maturity — especially males. Both Shari Beaudoin’s Amazon Lt. Columbo who is a wonderful 19 year old male and Rascal are absolute evidence that this is nonsense. With a positive foundation of rules and guidance many double yellows remain loyal and affectionate companions. Some of these Amazons tend to be one person at a time birds or a better description might be, “If you can’t be with the one you love. Love the one you’re with.” However, with individual and group attention, these intelligent parrots can form a successful relationship with everyone in the family.
Excitability can turn into overload aggression so caregivers need to realize when enough is enough as far as play is concerned. I always cover Paco’s cage at night because, like many Amazons, she loves to announce the sunrise and I am a night person. Double yellow-heads are naturally vociferous but their noise levels can usually be channeled into talking and singing. Keep playing with your yellow-heads — keep them engaged in your lives so they don’t turn into perch potatoes.