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Orange-Winged Amazon Parrots

Learn about what makes orange-winged Amazon parrots so unique, and how to feed and take care of them.

By Sally Blanchard

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When I first started working with parrots about 30 years ago, I worked with several orange-winged Amazon parrots. Some of the people who had them thought they were blue-fronted Amazon parrots (this can still be true). They didn't impress me. Their feathers were often dull and tattered, and they seemed to have little exuberance compared to the other Amazon parrots I worked with.

Woman with kitten
Courtesy Nancy Emery, New Jersey 
Physically, they are unique among Amazons because of the distinctive ruff of feathers on their napes that can be raised and lowered at will. This makes their body language very expressive. When an orange wing is getting a good head scratch, it is likely to raise these feathers.

The wild-caught orange wings were easy enough to tame without a lot of problems. However, the ones I worked with just did not seem to like to be with people as many of the other Amazon parrot species did. I would even have described them as being a bit grouchy. For some reason, it seemed that orange wings did not seem to adjust as well as other Amazon parrots to being captured and imported into the United States. I am not sure why this was true. Perhaps it was partly because they had a longer trip to get here? Unfortunately for several years, I had a rather negative impression of orange-winged Amazon parrots. I was wrong!

Orange-Winged Amazon Parrots Have Looks
Once I moved to California, I started meeting and working with domestically raised orange wings. First, I was amazed at how vibrant their feathers are if they are fed a nutritious diet. Orange wings on inadequate diets don't have feathers with such a velvet sheen. A healthy, well-nurtured orange-winged Amazon is a beautiful parrot.

Orange-Winged Amazon Parrot Personality
As far as personality, it is difficult to generalize except to say that I have met orange wings with every bit as much of a fun personality as any other Amazon parrot. Some seem to be a bit mellower but still can let the world know that they are happy to be alive when they want to.

Chat Them Up
Like many parrots, generalizations abound. They are not known for being good talkers but I have met many orange wings that have a lot to say. The ones that have a good vocabulary are usually the ones that get a lot of verbal interaction with the people in their human flock. Several people who sent in information for my Amazon book say their Amazon parrots are good talkers. One woman qualified this to state that her orange wing talks best in the shower or if the vacuum cleaner is running.

Say It Loud
A high percentage of the contributors said they had heard that orange wings were "supposed to be" loud and obnoxious, but had found that this simply was not true with their birds or the other orange wings they have met. When they do scream, many have a high-pitched scream that can be very irritating to some people.

Part Of The Gang
It is my experience that orange-winged Amazon parrots want to be part of the household activity. They want to be with you and participate in what their humans are doing. One woman called me because her orange wing screamed when the family sat down to eat. Her husband has become quite impatient with the bird's noise. The solution was very simple. I suggested they put a T-stand with a food cup on it near the table. When the family sat down to eat, the Amazon parrot was included. Food was put in his bowl as the family was served dinner.

Amazon parrots are social eaters, and the Amazon parrot was so delighted to be eating with his human flock that he had no reason to scream any more. Screaming is unlikely to be a problem if the orange wing is an integral part of his human family.

As with most Amazon parrots, orange-winged Amazons tend to form strong bonds with their owners but, for the most part, people wrote that their birds tended to stay tame to more than one person in the family even if they had a favorite. Cuddly was a word that came up frequently with orange wing caregivers. Just about everyone stated that their Amazon parrot had remained a hands-on parrot that enjoyed both hanging out with its human family and being handled by them. One woman described her orange wing as the most affectionate Amazon parrot she had ever known.

Who Loves Ya, Orange Wing?
Diana Holloway, president of the Amazona Society, bred orange wings for many years, and she told me they are her favorite Amazon parrotss. (I bet she says that about all of the Amazon parrots!) She believes they are so marvelous that she can't understand why everyone doesn't want an orange-winged Amazon parrot.

Perhaps she is a bit biased, but my experiences with these parrots also make me wonder the same thing. Orange wings have enough exuberance to be an Amazon parrot, but they seem to be a bit mellower as a human companion. Clearly, orange-winged Amazon parrots have the potential to be outstanding human companions. Whether or not they live up to this potential depends a great deal on the care and guidance they receive from their caregivers.


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Reader Comments
Good info, this coming saturday i will be picking up my new 7 week old OWA, after searching and researching i choose OWA. i am so glad i was able to find OWA babys... ill be hand feeding for a while but i am so excited.
Cody, Yelm, WA
Posted: 7/2/2013 1:07:25 PM
My orange winged amazon is a doll....she is affectionate and loving. I never knew a bird could be such a delight to own. She has never nipped me and loves to have her head scratched. Another thing about my bird~ she isn't loud. She has a voice like a little girl and says many things! Love her !!!
Ruth, Suffolk, VA
Posted: 1/14/2013 9:37:22 AM
I've seen all of what you've described here with my wild-caught Orange-winged Amazon. I didn't purchase him. A friend gave him to me because he chose me and my family as his flock. I wasn't a bird person until he came along and I can't see myself with another bird if anything happened to him. There's just something about him that I love. He's intelligent, inquisitive, moody, and amazingly lovable for a bird who has been through so much. (Wild caught, passed around because people didn't know how to socialize him, kept in a cage that was too small - all before he was given to my friend)
Kris, Amesbury, MA
Posted: 11/10/2012 8:13:31 AM
I purchased an orange winged parrot - hand fed - last summer. She is still being hand fed, but will go home with me next month. So far, she is sweet, attentive, and has bonded to me. I am really hoping she will talk (right now it is baby talk chatter) but she is fascinating and I love her to pieces...pretty bird, too!!!
Ruth, Suffolk, VA
Posted: 9/12/2012 10:09:52 AM
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