Yellow-crowned Amazon (Amazona ochrocephala)

Yellow-crowned Amazon

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Amazona ochrocephala | [authority] Gmelin, 1788 | [UK] Yellow-crowned Amazon | [FR] Amazone a tete jaune | [DE] Gelbscheitel-Amazone | [ES] Amazona del Cerrado | [NL] Geelvoorhoofdamazone


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

General plumage green; feathers to nape faintly edged blackish; forehead, lores, crown, occasionally area around eye and thighs yellow; bend of wing red; edge of wing yellowish-green; outer webs and tips of secondaries and primaries violet-blue; red wing speculum to outer five secondaries; tail green with greenish-yellow tip; base to outer tail feathers red, outer webs with blue edging; skin to periophthalmic ring whitish; bill grey with reddish sides to upper mandible; iris orange; feet grey.

Listen to the sound of Yellow-crowned Amazon

[audio: Amazon.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 35 cm size max.: 37 cm
incubation min.: 20 days incubation max.: 23 days
fledging min.: 55 days fledging max.: 23 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


Latin America : Mexico to North Brazil and East Peru


Every type of terrain with trees in dry and humid tropical and sub-tropical zones to 750 meter; also savannah and areas with tall bushes; prefers edges of forest; regularly sighted in cultivated areas, coffee plantations, in and around villages.
This semi-nomadic Cerrado specialist occurs in wooded grassland (cerradao), spiny arid scrub (caatinga), gallery forest and Mauritia palm-stands.


Breeding season in Central America March to June, in Colombia and Venezuela April to July and in Brazil June to October. Breeding begins in February on Tres Marias Islands and in March on Trinidad. Nests in tall, mostly dead trees and palms, nominate form also breeds in arboreal termite mounds. Breeding hole in one case 1.6 meter deep. Clutch 4 to 5 eggs with an incubation of about 3 weeks. Fledging period reported as 2 months. Brooding female fed outside nest by male during day, male roosts with remainder of flock on distant roosting trees during incubation period.

Feeding habits

Its diet consists of fruit and seeds of trees such as Anacardium, Salacia crassifolia and Astronium fraxinifolium. Birds have been reported taking unripe guava Psidium fruit in plantations, and will spend weeks visiting mango trees. However, its semi-nomadism suggests that it depends on unpredictable food resources.

Video Yellow-crowned Amazon


copyright: A. Motis


This species has an extremely 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.
Amazona ochrocephala comprises 10 subspecies, spread from Mexico south to Peru and Brazil. Subspecies tresmariae is found on the Tres Marias Islands, off west-central Mexico; oratrix occurs in the Pacific and Atlantic lowlands of Mexico, with feral populations present in California, Florida (USA) and Puerto Rico; belizensis occurs in Belize; caribea occurs on Bay Island, Honduras; parvipes occurs in north-east Honduras (140,000 individuals) and north Nicaragua; auropalliata occurs from south Mexico to north-west Costa Rica, and includes two proposed subspecies, both of which number in the low hundreds; panamensis occurs from west Panama (where it is locally common) to north-west Columbia; the nominate ochrocephala occurs from east Columbia east through Venezuela (where it is declining), Trinidad (Trinidad and Tobago), Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana to Para, Brazil (where it is extremely common); xantholaema occurs on Marajo Island, in the Amazon Delta of north Brazil; and nattereri occurs from south Columbia south through east Ecuador and east Peru (where it is very common, with a density of 0.5pairs/km2 recorded in south-east Peru) to north Bolivia and west Brazil.
Yellow-crowned Amazon status Least Concern


Semi-nomadic species, wandering locally to find suitable food resources.

Distribution map

Yellow-crowned Amazon distribution range map


Title Publishing Ltd
Phylogeny and biogeography of Yellow-headed and
Blue-fronted Parrots (
Amazona ochrocephala
Amazona aestiva
) with special reference to the
South American taxa
Author(s): C. C. Ribas
et al.
Abstract: The Yellow-headed Parrot (
Amazona ochrocephala
Source: Ibis (2007), doi: 10.1111/j.1474-919x.2007.00681.x

download full text (pdf)

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