Scaly-naped Amazon (Amazona mercenaria)

Scaly-naped Amazon

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Amazona mercenaria | [authority] Tschudi, 1844 | [UK] Scaly-naped Amazon | [FR] Amazone mercenaire | [DE] Soldatenamazone | [ES] Amazona Mercenaria | [NL] Schubnekamazone | [copyright picture] Morten Nilsen


Monotypic species


Amazon parrot is the common name for a parrot of the genus Amazona. These are medium-size parrots native to the New World ranging from South America to Mexico and the Caribbean. Most Amazon parrots are predominantly green, with accenting colors that depend on the species and can be quite vivid. They have comparatively short, somewhat square, tails. Just like the other parrots, amazons have four toes on each foot, two pointing forwards and two pointing backward. They feed primarily on seeds, nuts, and fruits, supplemented by leafy matter. Almost everywhere in the lowlands of tropical and subtropical America, the savannas, grassy openings in the forest, and roadsides are frequented by flocks of very small finches with short and thick bills, which feed on the seeds of grasses. In the genus Sporophila, the males are clad in black, black and white, or black and chestnut, while the dull females are olive or buff. Often the same species shows pronounced variation in plumage from region to region.

Physical charateristics

A.m. mercenaria: both adults dark green feathers on crown to nape, tinged dull grey/blue and tipped with dull black; red bases to secondary feathers 1 to 3, the remainder green; yellow carpal edge, mixed with orange/red; tail green with wide yellow/green band, side tail feathers banded with red and blue/purple near end, the most outside feathers margined with blue/purple. Bill grey and horn coloured. Eye ring pale grey, eye red. A.m. canipalliata: both adults as in mercinaria but red wing speculum replaced by hidden maroon marks at bases of secondaries 1 to 3.

Listen to the sound of Scaly-naped Amazon

[audio: Amazon.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Sjoerd Mayer

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 33 cm size max.: 34 cm
incubation min.: 25 days incubation max.: 26 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 0  
      eggs max.: 0  


South America : Venezuela to Bolivia. Although widely distributed, from extreme northwest Venezuela, discontinuously south to Bolivia, with a single record from Argentina, the Scaly-naped Parrot appears to be nowhere common


Subtropical and temperate cloud forests, including open woodland with large emergent trees, open forest on ridges and to treeline in wooded valleys and ravines in the paramo zone.


No data, but incubation lasts 25-26 days, besting areas usually in inaccessible places.

Feeding habits

Little information on diet but has been observed taking figs and unidentified fruits in Colombia. May also take maize.


This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Low densities throughout range and generally uncommon, It has undoubtly declined owing to widespread habitat loss in Ecuador and Colombia in particular. Highly threatened by habitat loss within restricted range in Venezuela.
Scaly-naped Amazon status Least Concern


This parrot is speculated to perform seasonal or even semi-nomadic movements, presumably in search of suitable food resources.

Distribution map

Scaly-naped Amazon distribution range map

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