Amazona autumnalis

» Also called the Yellow-cheeked Amazon
» Ranges from eastern
 Mexico to Ecuador with a separate population in Brazil
» About 13" in length
» Although the Red-lored Amazon is stable in much of its range, it's populations are diminishing in other parts due to capture for the pet trade and habitat destruction.

If the Blue-front is the Amazon of Summer, then the Red-lored is known by its genus and species as the Amazon of Autumn. In my opinion, these are one of the flashiest Amazons with beautiful coloration on the head and face. There are 3 subspecies that are rare as companions. The one we are most familiar with is often referred to as the Yellow-cheeked Amazon.

These fun time Amazons are usually dedicated and loving to their major caregiver but can be aggressive to strangers without patterning to accept new people in their lives. Red-loreds are usually high energy acrobatic Amazons who love time-out on their play gyms. Many love to play wrestle with their human friends but excitability can translate into overload behavior. However, an observant caregiver can easily interpret their body language and know when enough is enough. I’ve known Red-loreds who were decent talkers and ones who didn’t talk at all.

Throughout my over thirty years of working with parrots, I have been lucky enough to meet all four of the subspecies. The rarer three were all imported birds and lacked the yellow-cheeks of the more familiar Red-lored. The Salvin's Amazon Amazona autumnalis salvini to the right is a sub-species of this Amazon. It has a small range from southeast Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, western Colombia and northwest Venezuela. It was never imported in great numbers so it if fairly rare. I have seen two of them and they seemed to be larger than the nominate species and lack the yellow around the eye. There were very few Salvin’s imported and I feel lucky to have known a very tame one who lived with an elderly woman. I often wonder if he is still around because I don’t remember him being much younger than his caregiver. I believe he was brought into the country long before anyone kept track of the importation of parrots. When I met the Diadema Amazona autumnalis diadema, I was quite surprised by his size compared to the Red-lored Amazons I had known. When I saw my first Lilacine (Amazona autumnalis lilacina, it took me some time to realize that it was actually a Red-lored Amazon. The nominate species, the Red-lored (often called the Yellow-cheeked Amazon) is the one that is most common in the pet trade.

We often read about “the hot three” in regards to the Blue-front, Double-yellow head, and the Yellow-nape Amazons. Of course, the lumping of these three Amazons in this manner is a massive generalization. However, if we are lumping in this manner, I don’t know why the Red-lored isn’t mentioned with this group. They certainly are beautiful and I have found many of the Red-loreds to be every bit as enthusiastic as the aforementioned Amazons. Perhaps it is because they are generally smaller. From my experience, these are one of the more excitable of the Amazons. They communicate quite visibly through body language such as strutting, head swaying, and eye pinning. Like the other more raucous Amazons, their excitability can translate into overload behavior but Red-loreds can be quite predictable due to their easy-to-read body language. Red-lored Amazons are usually dedicated and loving to their owners. They can sometimes be aggressive towards strangers unless they have been patterned to accept new people in their lives. I think they are one of the flashiest of the Amazons with beautiful coloration on the head and face. These mid-sized Amazons are usually playful, acrobatic parrots who love time on their play gyms. The more opportunity they have for swinging, climbing, and hanging upside down, the happier they are. People who adore their Red-lored Amazons often describe them as a real fun time parrot. I personally have known Red-loreds who had a decent human vocabulary and others who were quite content to communicate in household noises and Amazonish. Although I have read that Red-loreds are one of the less noisy Amazons, many of the ones I have known have been quite verbal. As with most parrots, their noisiness can usually be redirected into more pleasant sounds by knowledgeable caregivers. Most are intrigued with the noises in their environment and love to imitate many of the sounds they hear frequently — particularly the whistles and beeps from appliances. Red-loreds are delightful when their emotional and physical needs are met by their caregivers.

At least 35 years ago, I “rescued” a relatively atypical small imported Red-lored Amazon. She was a smaller bird and much mellower than the ones I have worked with since. When I say rescue, essentially I was given the bird by people who no longer wanted her because she was “too much trouble.” It was me or the pet shop. She was the first of this species I ever worked with and when I met others, I was quite surprised by their exuberance since she was such a relaxed bird once she trusted me. She tamed down beautifully and was a steady, cuddly, inquisitive companion for her new owners when I found her a good home. After I moved to California, I worked with many more Red-loreds and they became one of my favorite species of Amazons. With few exceptions, they were enthusiastic students learning their lessons quickly and almost immediately were ready to go on to the next step.

Like most Amazons, Red-loreds seem to relish the enthusiasm of the people around them. They may not be able to sing opera as well as some of the other Amazons, but they certainly delight in listening to the opera singers in their human flock and aren’t the least bit critical of the quality of sound as long as it is presented with gusto. These wonderful Amazons are getting more difficult to find and are rarely kept for sale in even the largest bird shops.




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