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Yellow-crowned Amazon

Amazona ochrocephala

If You Can't See Me, You'll Probably Hear Me

These blunt-tailed parrots are mainly green, which aids in camouflage. At the Zoo, our yellow-crowned Amazon lives in the South American exhibit with cuckoos, tortoises, and a magpie jay. She might be hard to spot, but you can almost certainly hear her!

About the Species

Yellow-crowned amazon parrots are one of over 30 species in the genus Amazona.

These parrots are common throughout their range, which includes much of Mexico, all of Central America, and most of the Amazon River Basin. They are highly social, often found in massive groups. These flocks maintain their social bonds through a variety of vocalizations. During the breeding season, these monogamous parrots build nests in cavities high in the treetops of tropical forests. Yellow-crowned Amazon chicks are altricial upon initially hatching, which means that they rely heavily on parental care and are incapable of fending for themselves. These birds eat foliage, seeds, and fresh fruit. They are messy eaters, tossing and dropping a significant portion of their food on the ground. Foraging herbivores such as tortoises rely on these sloppy feeding habits for much of their own diets, and you can see this natural interaction in our mixed-species habitat here at the Zoo, as our yellow-crowned Amazon lives with several tortoise species. When fruits and seeds pass through their digestive systems, protective casings are softened or dissolved; when the seeds are finally excreted, they can drop to the forest floor and germinate. All-in-all, parrots play an important role in their ecosystems, proving indispensable to the food webs in which they participate. They are sedentary during the day, nestling themselves in small groups amongst the foliage of thick tropical forests. They sleep in large groups to reduce the risk of predation.

Words From the Experts


Our yellow-crowned Amazon is named Lolita. She has been a resident here at the Zoo since 1991. She has lived in many different habitats over the years, but has always remained a guest favorite. Make sure to say hello to her the next time you visit!



Did You Know?

Parrots play the important role of seed dispersers in their ecosystems.


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Central Mexico to Central South America, some Caribbean islands

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Tropical forests, woodlands, scrublands

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Height: 35 cm, Wingspan: 20.3-21.6 cm, Weight: 402-561 g

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Fruits, seeds, nuts

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Boa constrictors, humans

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Natural Defenses

Camouflage, sharp bill, flight

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Females lay a clutch of 2-4 eggs each breeding season.

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Least Concern

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Life Expectancy

56 years on average

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