Taking Care of a Yellow Headed Parrot: A Complete Guide

Did you know that the yellow-headed amazon parrot is officially classified as an endangered amazon species of parrots in Mexico and northern Central America? The yellow headed parrot is also known as the Amazona oratrix or  the double yellow-headed amazon. Originally found in Trinidad, Central and South America and Panama, they were given their name because of their extensive yellow fluffed feathers in their green plumage. Although the Yellow Headed Parrot is primarily found in the Amazon basin, they have migrated or been selectively introduced in other parts of the world over the years.

You might be surprised to know that an endangered species like the double yellow-headed Amazon parrots has been a popular pet for centuries. With many bird enthusiasts seeking to conserve and improve the number of Yellow Headed Parrots in the wild, it is no surprise that they have made their way into people’s homes and hearts.

How do you care for a bird as exotic as the yellow-headed amazon? Today we bring you a comprehensive guide.

Taking Care of a Yellow Headed Parrot

Portrait of Yellow-headed Amazon Parrot
  1. Give them a healthy diet

Due to their preference for seeds as a primary food source, yellow-crowned amazons tend to suffer from a lack of nutrients in their diets, particularly Vitamin A. This vitamin is responsible for healthy feathers, immune health, and protection against ectoparasites and bacteria. It’s best to feed your Yellow Headed Parrot a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and seed cocktails. Other human foods should be strictly limited.

  1. Get them a spacious cage

A typical standard cage would be 32w x 36l x 48h. This allows them ample room to move around, swing in their play sets, and spread their wings. If you live in a temperate climate, the best option would be building an outdoor aviary as this will expose them to natural sunlight. Since the double yellow-headed amazon parrot is so social, you bird will love listening to other birds.

  1. Place the cage away from the kitchen

The Amazona oratrix yellow loves being in the middle of the action. In the wild, they can usually be found in pairs. It is recommended that you place the cage in a lively area, like the living room. Please keep your bird away from the kitchen to avoid exposing your yellow-naped Amazon to harsh fumes. 

  1. Regular cleaning is a must

If you use a newspaper to line your bird’s cage, you have to replace it daily, and litter cleaning must be done at least once every week. Keeping a clean cage is vital for your double yellow head because bird droppings can contain harmful bacteria and viruses, and their fumes can harm your bird, yourself, and the other pets in your home.

  1. Keep engaging toys

Yellow-naped amazons are very active, and youngsters have a lot of energy. If your bird is caged alone, remember to place several complicated toys for them to play with. This keeps them engaged and reduces the risk of them developing stress and depression while alone in the cage.

  1. Go for sturdy materials

The Amazona oratrix yellow parrot is known for the strength of its beak. Plastic toys or bowls will end up broken within a matter of hours. They can swallow broken bits of plastic. Switch to metal bowls and very hard toys like wooden toys that cannot be broken easily.

  1. Read up on their behavior

Although double yellow heads have individual personalities like humans, some commonalities exist. For example, males can be very aggressive during breeding periods, so you shouldn’t have two of them together.

Frequently Asked Questions about Yellow Headed Parrots:

Portrait of Yellow-headed on the ground

1. What is the lifespan of a double yellow head?

On average, a healthy double yellow head parrot can live between 20 to 30 years in the wild and 60 to 80 years in captivity. Why this huge difference, you ask? In captivity, parrots have easier access to healthy food and are less likely to be killed by other predators and diseases. Most breeds of parrots tend to live very long lives in captivity.

2. How often do they lay eggs?

The yellow heads reach sexual maturity by the time they are 3 to 4 years. In the wild, during the breeding season, they will live in monogamous pairs (how cute!) and nest in the hollows of tree limbs. The female double yellow head will lay an average of 2-3 eggs which will then incubate for 26 – 28 days.

3. Can they get sick?

Like any other pet bird, yellow heads too can succumb to diseases. They are primarily susceptible to poxvirus infections. The first sign of this is abscesses on their skin and visibly abnormal skin growth. Additionally, older obese yellow-crowned amazon parrots can develop lipomas, which is a type of tumor that can be malignant, or fibromas that appear on wings and need to be surgically removed.

4. Can the yellow-crowned amazon parrot talk?

Absolutely! In fact, like most Amazon birds, the yellow heads are particularly popular because of their friendly personalities. They can be taught to sing and speak simple sentences with gentle training.

5. Can my yellow-crowned parrot recognize me?

Although there isn’t much evidence on this subject, some studies suggest that double yellow head parrots are among the smartest in the subspecies of birds. Not only can they learn several sentences and phrases, but they can  also recognize their owners due to their superior memory.


Like any other pet, the double-yellow-headed parrot needs proper care, food, exercise, love, and attention to thrive. They thrive on social interactions and a happy environment. Unfortunately, too many irresponsible pet owners buy this gorgeous double yellow head only to give them up later due to its high maintenance. This is why individuals are urged to think very hard before adopting a double yellow head and encouraged to adopt from local shelters.

Harlan Derricks