Tucuman Amazon

Amazona tucumana South America

Tucuman amazons are medium sized amazons. They are relatively slim green amazons with a small red patch on the forehead. The head looks like it is too small for the body. The coverts on the chest have black edges resulting in a scalloped appearance on the breast. Beak is pinkish horn color. Primary coverts are red. The flight feathers are green at the base and violet blue distally.

Inhabit mountain forests of the eastern slope of the Andes in Bolivia and Argentina. Found primarily in forests of Alder and Podocarpus at elevations up to 3000 m in summer, and as low as 350m in winter. Eat primarily tree seeds including Alder and Podocarpus seeds. Nest in high tree cavities.
Length is 12 to 13 inches. Weight is 300-400 grams. Males are generally larger than females and have larger heads and beaks. Many males have slightly wider red patch on the forehead. Eyes of juveniles are brown and adults are red-orange. Juveniles lack red primary coverts and have less red on the head.

Tucuman amazons can probably live up to 50 years judging by life span of similar species. Little is known about their life span in captivity.

Personality - Tucuman amazons are intelligent, inquisitive birds with moderate speaking ability. They are relatively gentle and easily to tame. Mature birds are relatively quite and shy. They are uncommon in captivity, and are seldom available for pets.

Activities – Tucuman amazons should always be provided with toys, blocks of wood or branches that they can chew. In order to ensure safety companion amazons should not be allowed unsupervised freedom in the home as they often encounter toxins or dangerous items. Young amazons should be socialized to many people and exposed to a variety of situations such as new cages, toys, visits to the veterinarian, handling by friends, wing and nail clips, etc. to avoid fear of novel situations. They need to have some space for exercise.

Dietary needs - Amazons should be fed a formulated (pelleted or extruded diet) as a basis for good nutrition. Kaytee Exact is an excellent staple diet for amazons. The diet should be supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables daily to add variety and psychological enrichment. Feed approximately ¼ cup of Kaytee Exact and 1/4 cup of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Monitor food intake. Overfeeding leads to pickiness, selective feeding and wasteful throwing of food. Because of their tendency to obesity, Tucuman Amazons should given small amounts of sunflower or safflower seeds as treats. Vitamin supplements are not needed for birds that are eating a formulated diet.

Birds that are fed only seeds will need vitamin and mineral supplementation to prevent deficiency diseases. Preferably vitamins should be added to soft food rather than putting in the water as this dilutes the vitamins, water soluble vitamins break down rapidly and water with sweetened and vitamins is a good growth medium for bacteria. Vitamin added to the outside of seeds is usually lost when the bird shells the seeds.

Grooming - Routine bathing or showering is vital to maintaining good plumage and skin condition. Birds can be misted and allowed to dry in a warm room or in the sun, or gently dried with a blow drier. Care should be taken not to clip the wing feathers excessively as amazons often fall and injure themselves. Clip only the primary flight feathers and only enough so the bird will glide to the floor. Tucuman are heavy bodied and care must be taken not to cut too many feathers. Excessive wing clipping can result in injuries from falling.

Identification - All companion and breeding birds should be individually identified to assist in recovery if lost and assist in maintenance of medical and genealogical records. Many breeders apply closed legs bands when chicks are young. While they present a slight risk of entrapment closed bands are preferable to no identification, especially for breeding birds.
Microchips, which can be implanted into the muscle or under the skin, are a reliable means of identification but require electronic readers to verify identification. Tattoos may be used but often fade or become illegible with time. Footprints may have some application in identification.

Sexin g Tucuman amazons are monomorphic (no visual difference between sexes) however males tend to have a little larger red patch on the forehead. Sex of breeders must be confirmed by surgical sexing or DNA sexing.

Housing - Tucuman amazons are very active and should be provided the largest cage that space and budget allows. They should also be supplied with a retreat to guard against insecurity and fear responses. Ideally the cage should provide room for flight. Durable cage construction is not as critical as it is for macaws and cockatoos. Locks or escape proof latches may be necessary on cages. Ideally the bird will have an outdoor cage as well to allow playtime in the fresh-air and sunlight.

Breeding – Tucuman amazons are difficult to breed in captivity. In North America Tucuman amazons breed predominantly in the spring and have a limited breeding season typically from February or March to June or July. Clutch size is typically 3 to 4 eggs. One inch by one inch by 14 gauge welded wire, or 1” X ½ “ welded wire is a good choice for cage construction. A suggested size is 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall by 8 feet long suspended 4 feet above the ground or floor. Grandfather style wooden nest boxes can be used. Size should be approximately 12” x 12” x 24”.

Incubation period is approximately 24-26 days. Chicks will usually fledge at approximately 10 to 12 weeks of age. Tucuman amazons are relatively easy to hand-rear. Most hand rearing formulas can be used successfully.
Kaytee Exact hand rearing formula is a good choice.

Male Tucuman amazons are seldom aggressive toward their mates.
Tucuman amazons are quiet compared to most Amazons but can still be noisy especially when in breeding condition. When breeding amazons, noise and proximity to neighbors must be considered.

Common diseases and disorders

  • Obesity
  • Feather-picking
  • Psittacosis
  • Poor eating habits
  • Aspergillosis
  • Bacterial and fungal infections
  • Toxicity, ingestion of metals
  • Toe necrosis

Conservation Status - Near Threatened - Tucuman Amazons are listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Their populations are declining due to habitat destruction and capture for export and use for pets locally. Tucuman amazons are uncommon in the United States and difficult to breed. International trade requires both import and export permits.