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Red-Headed amazon (Amazona viridigenalis)

The Red-Headed amazon parrot, also known as a Mexican Red-Headed parrot, is an endangered parrot native to northeastern Mexico. The main threats to the wild population are habitat destruction and trapping.

Like his brothers in the wild, Amigo is green with a bright red forehead and crown, purplish blue patches behind the eyes, and light green cheeks. Amazons are often kept as a pets. While they  can be very affectionate and playful with people they select as flock members, amazons often can be "nippy" with people they don't like. A vet once warned us that it wasn't "if" an amazon would bite, it was "when."

A bird bite is an important method of communication between birds. This is probably not painful because birds have a feather covering that protects their skin. We humans do not have this barrier and, therefore, our best protection is to not put ourselves in a position where a bird's method of communication is to use his or her beak. At the sanctuary we learn to recognize and respond to signals given before a bite. We want our birds to get what they need, but we also want them to tell us what is required in ways that are not harmful to us. Education is key. Both birds and humans need to learn each other's languages.

Our amazons have strong preferences for particular people. They choose whom they will allow to hold them or even come close to them. Amigo arrived at our sanctuary when he was at least 45 years old and already had had many different homes.  At Pandemonium, Amigo initially choose a six-year-old boy to be his human. When the boy left to go to school and could not take Amigo with him, it was a difficult time for Amigo. It would have been better for the bird had he been socialized at a young age to have a relationship with a “family” of individuals rather than being dependent on a single individual for affection and companionship.  Amigo has expanded his preference in people to include pretty girls, with a strong preference for those under the age of thirty.