Red-topped / Red-browned Amazons

Red-browed Amazon (Amazona rhodocorytha)

General Information about Amazon Parrots


Also refer to: Red-crowned Amazon Parrot (Amazona viridigenalis)


The Red-browed, Red-topped or Red-crowned Amazon Parrot (Amazona rhodocorytha) was previously considered a subspecies of the Blue-cheeked Amazon, but today all major authorities consider them separate species.


Distribution / Status

The Red-topped Amazon is endemic to Central-eastern Brazil; where it is locally distributed in small, isolated populations in Alagoas and from Bahia and eastern Minas Gerais south to Rio de Janiero.

These parrots inhabit humid lowland to montane Atlantic forests (interior highlands to 3300 feet (~1 000 meters) to estuarine mangroves. Red-browed Amazons like to roost and feed in the tops of primary forest trees.

They are usually seen in groups, occasionally even large flocks, intermingling with other parrot species, specifically the Orange-wing Amazons (A. amazonica).

Once a common parrot in its range, the Red-brow Amazon is now extinct across a large part of its natural range due to deforestation, human encroachment and trapping for the pet trade. What is left is so fragmented that some populations are now genetically isolated. Red-browed Amazons are now listed as CITES Appendix I. IUCN estimates a total Red-brow population in the wild of 250 mature individuals or less.

Efforts are underway to preserve this species for future generation through carefully-managed captive breeding programs. Since the Red-topped Amazon is one of the most endangered of all neotropical parrots, it may survive only in aviculture. The importance of captive breeding cannot be over-estimated. Unfortunately, captive numbers are not large and the gene pool is limited. Many of the captive birds are closely related.

Red-browed Amazon (Amazona rhodocorytha)


The Red-browed Amazon is among the largest of Amazon parrots, adults averaging ~ 13.8 - 15.7 inches (~35 - 40 cm) in length and 13.2 - 22.9 oz (375 - 650 g) in weight - with males usually being heavier.

The most distinctive feature of the species is the red forehead and crown, which fades toward the nape to a reddish-purple tinged with blue. The lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird's head) are yellow-orange with cheeks and neck blue. They have a horn-colored upper beak that becomes pink at the base, orange-brown irises and grey legs. Their eyes are large and visually appealing.

Sexing: Males and females look alike. Although the yellow lores may extend downward on to the throat in females, whereas in males the lower part of the lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird's head) is blue. There are exceptions and the only way to guarantee the gender is to DNA sex individual birds that are placed into a breeding program.

Young birds look like adults, but the hindcrown becomes washed with green. The occiput to the back of neck is green. The feathers are edged black and the lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird's head) are yellow. The ear coverts (feathers covering the ears) to forecheeks and throat are blue. There is a little red on the bases of the two outermost secondary feathers and a little red on the side tail feathers. The bill is pale pink tipped with grey/white and the eyes are brown.


Breeding / Nesting:

During the breeding season, the pairs defend their nesting sites, which are typically naturally occurring tree cavities. Nesting amazons remain as isolated pairs until their young are fully fledged. Nest site loyalty is common in Amazon parrots, and breeding pairs and young often return to the same nest trees where they were raised.


Red-tooped AmazonsRed-topped Amazon Parrots in Captivity / Care, Personality, Training and Behavioral Guidance:

Due to its critically endangered status, it really is highly recommended that any captive specimen be placed into a well-managed breeding program. Should, for some reason, an individual bird not be eligible for breeding and you are considering it as a pet or for your aviary; please consider the following.

All amazon parrots can be aggressive but, like the Mealy, the Red-topped Amazon gives the impression of a gentle giant and is not a naturally aggressive species. They are inclined to obesity so dietary fat must be kept to a minimum and large flights are recommended.

Amazon ownership generally presents multiple challenges, such as excessive chewing - especially at certain stages in their life. They do discover their beaks as method of "disciplining us" once they are out of the "baby stage" and they can generally be somewhat naughty, and it really is important to learn to understand them and to guide their behavior before an undesirable behavior has been established. Aggressive behavior is especially common in "hormonal" amazons. Undisciplined amazons will chew on electric wiring potentially causing house fires. They regard anything in your home as a "toy" that can be explored and chewed on; destroying items that you may hold dear or are simply valuable.

Even a young bird that has not been neglected and abused requires proper guidance; this becomes even more challenging when it involves a rescued bird that may require rehabilitation.

Other Relevant Web Resources



In the wild, Red-browed Amazons consume fruit, seeds, berries and buds taken primarily from forest treetops. They are inclined to obesity so dietary fat must be kept to a minimum and large flights are recommended.

To learn more about the diet of the captive Amazon Parrot, please visit this webpage.



Species: Scientific: Amazona rhodocorytha aka Amazona dufresniana rhodocorytha ... English: Red-topped Amazon, Red-crowned Amazon, Red-capped Amazon ... Dutch: Roodkruinamazone, Goudmaskeramazone ... German: Granada Amazone, Rotscheitelamazone ... French: Amazone de rhodocorytha

CITES I - Protected Species

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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