Have you always been fascinated by parrots? Well, I have. And there’s this particular breed that caught my eye lately.
It’s called the Cuban Amazon parrot! You should see this bird up close!
This type of parrot has a beautiful set of colors on its face. A white area surrounds its eyes and forehead, and its beak and neck are covered with red and scale-like structures.
The Cuban Amazon Parrot, scientifically known as Amazona leucocephala, is a species native to Cuba and the Isla de la Juventud.
Recognized for its green plumage, distinctive white forehead, and blush-pink coloring, this parrot has gained popularity as a potential pet.
However, its conservation status, legal considerations, and specific care requirements demand thorough education and careful evaluation before considering ownership.
This concise guide shares what you should know about the parrots and explores Cuban Amazon ownership’s practical aspects.
Photo Credit: Flickr by Jim Frazee
The Cuban Amazon Parrot’s Appearance
Adult Cuban Parrots typically have green plumage on the body with a distinctive white forehead, forecrown earrings, and lores (the regions between the eyes and the bill on the side of a bird’s head).
The bill is always beige colored, blending into the front of their faces well.
The white areas stand out against the green feathers, making it easier to identify the breed. The shade of green is bright green to a more muted sage to olive green hue.
Most distinctively, they have pink cheeks and throats extending down the top of their chests. You may find a few scattered pale red to pink feathers on their stomach.
They have pale yellow tail feathers and occasionally a few blush-pink feathers, too.
Males and females look the same, so there is no sexual dimorphism.
Males are slightly larger with larger heads and beaks, but this is not easy to tell from a distance or without extensive breed knowledge.
Size and Weight
These parrots are 11 to 13 inches long, with a wingspan of 72 to 80 inches (about six to six and a half feet).
Most Cuban Parrots weigh about a half to two-thirds of a pound at full maturity.
Cuban Amazon Origin and Habitat
The Cuban Amazon Parrot is a medium-sized parrot native to Cuba, especially Isla de la Juventud.
They are also found in the Bahamas and Puerto Rico, though many speculate their wild populations here are due to escaped pets.
They live on the southern end of the Abaco Island of the Bahamas.
Most are found near or just above sea level. However, people have reported a few in Cuba’s Sierra Maestra, Escambray, and Sierra del Rosario mountains.
These birds seem to strongly prefer dense woods of many varieties–broadleaves, palm groves, mangroves, and pine forests.
They nest in the trees in whatever hollows or cavities they can find. They occasionally visit plantations and farms, but not often.
The Great Abaco population nests in the limestone solution holes. These are the rare exceptions that don’t nest in trees.
Photo Credit: Flickr by lezumbalaberenjena
The Cuban Parrot’s Temperament
Cuban Parrots are intelligent and inquisitive, and they are excellent speakers.
But don’t let this get your hopes up because they are rare, and they become progressively more aggressive as they reach sexual maturity–especially the males.
In captivity, they gain weight, hindering their health and overall well-being. They are not ideal pets because of this.
Still, there are instances where it’s necessary to keep Cuban Amazons in captivity, and here are the reported findings of these situations.
- They are highly vocal. They’re noisy, enjoy mimicking sounds around them, and mimic human speech exceptionally well.
- Most are affectionate with their owners, with occasional outbursts of aggression. Parrots are individuals, and they all have different personalities. Not all of them are happy with extensive handling and prefer their own space. They may form strong bonds with their owners and truly enjoy being a part of the family. A lack of socialization will lead to behavioral issues.
- All are notably playful. They like toys, puzzles, and the ability to fly whenever it is safe and responsible.
- They are natural protectors. Some will fiercely protect their mates or territories; others will direct this protective energy over their human caregivers.
Cuban Amazon’s Egg Laying and Mating Behavior
During mating season, Cuban Parrots break up from their large flocks (typically 30 or more birds) to be solo or paired up only.
They lay two to four cream-colored eggs in mid-May, which hatch in mid-June, and then their chicks will fly away at the end of August or first of September.
The eggs incubate for 26 to 28 days, while eggs hatch 12-72 hours apart.
When the chicks hatch, they completely depend on their parents for food because their eyes are shut, and they don’t have feathers.
They rely on their parents for regurgitated foods.
They will finally open their eyes when they are three weeks old, sometime in July.
Where to Find Cuban Amazon for Sale
This is a more difficult breed to locate for sale as pets, but it is possible.
You will likely need to look online or ask around at your nearest specialty pet store or avian pet shelter.
There is a Cuban Amazon Parrot for sale on Avian Parret for Sale.
The Golden Cockatoo Exotic Bird Boutique also has a few for sale on occasion.
How Much Does the Cuban Amazon Cost?
Is The Cuban Amazon Parrot Endangered? – Their Conservation Status
As of June 14, 1976, they were listed as endangered; now, they are listed as near-threatened by DataZone.
There are an estimated 16,000 to 27,000 mature individuals left in the world, with their population decreasing, meaning it is dwindling. The species is highly conservation dependent.
Cuban Amazon parrots have suffered habitat loss; they have been intentionally trapped for the pet market and hunted by domesticated housecats, and they have lost most of their nest sites (dense woods and forests).
These birds are not easy to breed, but this is what is largely keeping their population from free-falling.
According to The Parrots Society Organization, the first recorded successful hatch in captivity happened in 1992 when one breeder hatched two parrots successfully.
Then, in 1998, four people reported that they’d successfully hatched ten parrot chicks.
Cuban Parrot Average Lifespan
Photo Credit: Flickr by lezumbalaberenjena
Common Health Issues of the Cuban Amazon
Obesity in Captivity
All Cuban Parrots need a low-fat diet—so take it easy on the sunflower seeds!
They gain weight extremely easily.
Being overweight is especially detrimental to their health and mental state, so it’s important that you give them space to move, provide a balanced diet that does not contain too much fat, and they need about 30% of their diet comprised of fruits and vegetables.
It is okay to offer them chicken on the bone or other lean meats near their breeding season, in addition to cooked beans or lentils.
Though this is not a severe health issue, it is something to look out.
They pluck their own feathers as a habit or nervousness, which is not ideal.
Solutions can include pairing them with a well-matched friend or allowing them to raise young, but this is not guaranteed.
ALSO READ: Dealing With Plucking in Birds
This bacterial infection is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia psittaci.
It can lead to respiratory and digestive issues and general lethargy. Regular check-ups and proper hygiene can help prevent and detect this infection.
Cuban Amazons may be prone to respiratory infections, especially if they are exposed to drafts, poor ventilation, or other environmental stressors.
Symptoms may include nasal discharge, wheezing, and labored breathing.
ALSO READ: Signs of Illness in Pet Birds
Exposure to lead, often through ingestion of lead-based items or contaminated food and water, can lead to lead poisoning. Keep in mind that this applies to both humans and parrots.
Lead poisoning causes neurological issues, digestive problems, and potentially death.
Lead is a toxic metal found in various household items, construction materials, and even some products designed for birds.
Parrots are particularly susceptible to lead poisoning due to their curious and exploratory nature, as they may ingest or chew on objects that contain lead.
Lead-based paints, pipes, and objects (curtains, hardware, toys, jewelry, vintage dishes, some bird cages, and other vintage items are common culprits).
Have your possessions tested for you and your birds’ safety.
FAQ About The Cuban Amazon Parrot
Can You Keep Cuban Amazons as Pets?
Yes, Cuban Amazons can be kept as pets.
However, it’s important to note that these birds are subject to conservation regulations and may require permits for ownership, depending on your location.
Before considering a Cuban Amazon as a pet, research and comply with relevant legal requirements.
You should also be aware of the long-term commitment (80 years), social nature, and specific care needs of Cuban Amazon Parrots.
Can Cuban Parrots Talk?
Yes, Cuban Amazons, like many other Amazon parrot species, are known for their ability to mimic human speech.
While individual capabilities can vary, they are generally good at learning and repeating words and phrases.
Early socialization and consistent interaction with their human caregivers enhance their potential for talking.
What Do Cuban Parrots Eat?
The diet of Cuban Amazons in captivity should be well-balanced and include a variety of nutritious foods.
A suitable diet may consist of pellets, fresh fruits and vegetables, small quantities of nuts and seeds, good quality protein sources, and limited treats of whole grains.
Which Parrots are Native to Cuba?
The Cuban Amazon, Cuban Parakeet, Cuban Conure, and Cuban Macaw are each native parrot species.
The Cuban Conure is a subspecies of the Cuban Parakeet, while the Cuban Macaw is now extinct.
Cuban Amazon Parrot: Is It The Right Bird For You?
Bringing a Cuban Amazon into your life requires careful consideration and intermediate to expert knowledge and experience with parrots.
Note that this species is unsuitable for novices.
With their vibrant personalities, intelligence, and social nature, these parrots can be delightful companions for those ready for a long-term commitment.
However, potential owners must navigate legal requirements, provide extensive social interaction, and create a stimulating environment.
This is not an easy breed to keep happy or convince to reproduce, but they are enjoyable and well worth the hard work and years of commitment—if you choose to go this route.