Blue-cheeked Amazon

Blue-cheeked Amazon

Scientific Name: Amazona dufresniana
Origin: Venezuela, the Guianas, and Brazil
Average Lifespan:
20 to 50 years
14.4 inches
Mainly green
Interaction: Somewhat social

Blue-cheeked Amazon parrots in cage

Photo: TJ Lin | Flickr

Physical Characteristics of Blue-cheeked Amazon

The Blue-cheeked Amazon parrot is a medium-sized Amazon parrot specie that could grow in length up to more than 14 inches from the tip of the tail up to the head. It could weigh between 480 to 600 grams.  This Amazon specie is covered mainly in green feathers and is known for its distinct blue feather colors on the cheeks (and around the eyes) down to the neck.

Other colors include yellow-orange underwings, yellow crown, and orange lores. It has pinkish red base on its upper bill but majority of the color is grey. The eye rings are also grey while the iris is red orange. Both male and female species share the same color. Young birds may look like the adult except that the blue markings are lighter, the forehead and lores are duller yellow.

Personality and Temperament

This specie could be very noisy with loud “cheeeeet” sound followed by shrill and whistle.  Just like other Amazon species, the problem when having Blue-cheeked Amazon as pet, aside from their noise, is their excessive chewing habits that could be sometimes destructive. This behavior is part of their instinct to keep their beak in proper condition. This could be potentially dangerous especially for those who let their birds freely roam the house. This bird’s curiosity could attempt to utilize their urge to chew on objects that they see.

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These birds are also dominant in nature and having them as pets would require guidance and training. Show of dominance will include using their beaks to “discipline”. This is common once they have matured. Rearing these birds at young age is recommended.

The Blue-cheeked Amazon is also prone to hormonal aggression just like other species. This develops when they become sexually mature as their aggression is caused by the changes that take place in their body during breeding season.  At this stage, it is important to give them time alone and with less human interaction because they can be very difficult to handle. But after breeding season, this behavior eventually fades out and they do not carry it for the rest of the remaining seasons. Female Amazons are less aggressive than the male ones. Male will tend to attack when provoked and this could be seen on their behavior such as spreading of wings and feathers that are somewhat shivering in appearance.

Health and Care

Caring for this bird includes housing them in large cage or aviary with at least 3 meters in spacing where they can do their activities and exercise their body.  It is important that the cage is durable and can withstand excessive chewing. Metal cage with non-toxic paint is highly recommended.

Their diet, if possible, must be similar from what they eat in the wild such as apple, pear, bananas, and some citrus fruits. Vegetables must be also offered once in a while such as celery, lettuce, and other leafy greens.  Specially formulated parrot seed mix consisting of canary, millet, oats, sunflower seeds, and safflower seeds is also essential as they could highly benefit from the nutrients from this bird seeds.

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Basic bird grooming is also important and having regular health check on their feathers, beak, feet, and nails is very essential to avoid them from acquiring common pet bird diseases.  An occasional visit to bird veterinarian is recommended.

History and Background

Dufresne’s Amazon is also one of the names that the Blue-cheeked Amazon is known for. This name was derived from the French zoologist who has studied this bird, Louis Dufresne.  Before, this specie, together with Red-browed Amazon and Red-tailed Amazon, forms a super specie of Amazon birds but later on they became monotypic or have been considered a single specie as well as the rest of the other subspecies.

These days, the number of the Blue-cheeked Amazon has been declining rapidly due to illegal trapping for pet trade and because of habitat loss. When breeding this specie, it is important to place them in a well-managed breeding program to make sure of the survival of the young ones.

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