BLUE-FRONTED AMAZON Amazona aestiva
by Sally Blanchard »13-14” (33-37 cm)»Two subspecies with some difference in appearance (A.a.aestiva A.a.xanthopteryx has yellow at bend of wing) Blue on head varies with individuals.»Brazil, Paraguay, northern Argentina»Bred commonly in captivity. Common as companions»Wild population: still stable CITES II This is the most commonly kept companion Amazon parrot according to the Companion Parrot Quarterly’s in-depth questionnaire. Their wild populations live in from Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, and northern Argentina. Blue-fronts were also one of the most commonly imported parrots so there are still many wild-caught birds in the U.S. so there are most likely quite a few older Blue-fronts in rescue situations. Most of them can become delightful companions with knowledge and patience. Amazons aestiva translates as the “Amazon of summer” which is appropriate because of the parrot’s vibrant blue, green and yellow colors. The Blue-front beak is dark gray to black, and their body feathers are bright green with variable black edging. Named because of the blue on their foreheads, individuals of this species exhibit a tremendous variation of yellow, turquoise, white and blue feathers on their heads. Blue-front thighs are yellow or light green. The bend of the wing is red and yellow with varying but significant yellow in the Yellow-winged xanthopterix subspecies. Their length is usually 13 to 15 inches, although it is not unusual to find somewhat smaller and larger Blue-fronts.
Often, there is a considerable variance in the coloration, size and personality of Amazona aestiva individuals. So much so that when they were imported into Europe in the early 1800s, people considered many of the variations to be different species. I believe that there are some clear characteristics that separate the nominate species of Amazona aestiva aestiva from the subspecies Amazona aestiva xanthopteryx, which is often referred to as the Yellow-winged Amazon but it is still a Blue-front.
It appears that the Amazona aestiva aestiva was never imported in great numbers and seems to quite rare in the U.S. but I have seen them more often in Canada. They are somewhat smaller, shorter and stockier than the Yellow-winged Blue-front and lack the amount of yellow on the wing. The few wild-caught individuals I tamed years ago were generally mild-mannered little guys and not nearly as excitable as the xanthopteryx. For a year or so, I lived with a true Blue-front (aestiva aestiva). She came to me somewhat shy and phobic. I worked with her for that time and was able to turn her into a friendly little parrot who enjoyed gentle handling. She remained somewhat insecure but was fine if her environment was consistent and nurturing. I found a good home for her with a woman and her daughter.
The Blue-front that most of us are familiar with is sometimes referred to as the Yellow-winged Amazon ... subspecies xanthopteryx (xantho translates as yellow and opteryx as wing)
Blue-fronts can be incredibly sweet babies. Most are very acrobatic and usually exceptionally playful. One of my all-time favorite parrots is Bosco who belonged to an employee. He was a delight and learned almost anything I taught him from behaviors to songs. I still miss interacting with him. With proper guidance and understanding of their moods and excitable energy, Blue-fronts can stay gentle as they mature. Many of them are good talkers, singers, and whistlers. They can remain very loyal to the people in their human flock.