lilac-crowned Amazon parrot

The lilac-crowned Amazon is one of the smaller Amazon species and tends to have a smaller voice compared to the larger, more boisterous yellow-crowned and double yellow-headed Amazons. Lilac crowns can be loyal companions and, like most Amazons, have hearty appetites.

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Quick Facts
  • The lilac-crowned Amazons is also called Finsch’s Amazon, after German naturalist Friedrich Hermann Otto Finsch (8 August 1839 – 31 January 1917)
  • Lilac crowns resemble the red-crowned Amazon (Amazona viridigenalis) but have slightly duller coloring
  • Diet & Nutrition: Parrot food
photo by Ruth Rogers

The lilac-crowned Amazon is a sweet and compelling character, often fearless to a fault, like many of the Amazons, but is full of personality and is a loyal companion when socialized properly. This medium-sized parrot, also called the Finsch’s Amazon, isn’t among the superstars of the Amazons, like the yellow-naped and the double yellow-headed Amazon, because it lacks the dazzle and size of these other birds, but it makes up for it in companionability.

Native Region / Natural Habitat

The lilac-crowned Amazon parrot originates in Mexico, where its numbers have declined rapidly due to the demands of the pet trade, poachers, and destruction of its habitat. This species is often confiscated from smugglers at the Mexican border, but many get through. It is thought that as few as 10,000 individuals still survive in the wild. As their numbers decline, breeders in the U.S. have become more interested in this species, so breeding efforts have been made in earnest. Unfortunately, this parrot doesn’t reproduce freely in captivity, making it quite a challenge for the serious breeder or hobbyist.

In the wild, the lilac-crowned Amazon consumes dozens of different kinds of vegetation, including flowers, seeds, tree fruits, berries, new leaves, and grain and fruit crops.

Care & Feeding

Amazons in general can be challenging and temperamental birds, though some individuals are quite yielding. However, that’s not the norm, and a guardian has to understand that this self-directed animal is going to want to have its way all of the time. It can be trained to perform behaviors, but it’s more likely to teach a guardian to do “tricks” rather than the other way around. The guardian has to learn Amazon body language to be able to predict behavior. For example, if the tail is fanned out, the irises pinning, the feathers at the neck standing on end, and the bird is strutting around like a model on a runway, that means to get out of the bird’s way! Amazons are likely to change homes several times in a lifetime due to this kind of intimidation, which is often just bluffing.

This species is a hardy chewer, so it’s critical that it have a variety soft wooden toys to play with, along with sturdy perches and foot toys. “The more toys the better” is a good motto for this curious bird. This bird needs a lot of mental stimulation to keep from becoming bored and neurotic. Keep all valuables and furniture out of the bird’s reach.

Housing for the lilac-crowned Amazons should be spacious. Amazons tend to become lazy “perch potatoes” and become fat, even obese, if not given enough exercise and space. A cage-top playpen is a nice addition to the housing, as is a separate playpen. Amazons are pretty good about staying put on a playpen, but some individuals are prone to roaming, which can lead to destruction of valuables.

This species needs daily handling and attention, and isn’t going to thrive on meager interaction. In the wild, this social parrot is found in flocks numbering in the hundreds. The parrot’s guardian should also be able to remain composed when bitten and not take the behavior personally. This is not a good companion for a child. Like other parrots, this species needs variety to keep fit, healthy, and to prevent boredom.

Like most Amazon parrots, lilac-crowned Amazons have good appetites. An Amazon parrot’s main diet should consist of a nutritionally balanced manufactured diet, as well as an assortment of healthy vegetables, some fruit and healthy treats that pack nutrition instead of empty calories. Amazon parrots seem to relish the texture of food almost as much as its taste, and especially seem to enjoy Lafeber Nutri-Berries and Avi-Cakes. This species can live more than 50 years if cared for properly.

Lafeber food for Amazons

Personality & Behavior

At sexual maturity, this species can get cranky and nippy, even unpredictable and sometimes vicious or protective of its territory, just like many of the other Amazons. This is typical behavior and shouldn’t last long, though it can be insulting and daunting for sensitive owners. For this reason, the Lilac-crowned is a good choice for the seasoned bird-keeper rather than the novice. Teaching the bird to step up reliably and to step onto a stick will prove invaluable for springtime, when hormones can run amok.

Speech & Sound

In typical Amazon style, the lilac-crowned Amazon is gregarious and unreserved, and isn’t shy about making noise and defending its territory. It isn’t as noisy or loud as some of the other popular Amazons, but noise is relative, so those with sensitive ears will not make good companions for this bird. A cage cover is a good idea so that owners won’t be woken up early in the morning. This species is good at whistling, and some individuals can amass quite a vocabulary.

Health & Common Conditions

Amazon parrots are prone to becoming obese, which is why owners should pay attention to the amount and types of food offered daily. Other diseases/conditions that affect Amazon parrots include: Polyomavirus (can cause anorexia, lethargy, weight loss, death); Chlamydiosis (signs include low appetite, fluffed feathers, nasal discharge) and vitamin-A deficiency if fed an inadequate diet.

Get a Lilac-Crowned Amazon Parrot

Lilac-crowned Amazons are typically available in avian-specialty stores and from bird breeders. They are also available for adoption from an avian rescue organization. If you are adopting an Amazon parrot, be sure to ask why the bird was given up for adoption and if it has any behavioral issues.