Parrots are the quintessential tropical birdsand they're popular pets due to their bright colors and renowned "talking" abilities. They are excellent mimics, able to copy almost any sound including human speech. Recent research suggests parrots may understand what they say, but this research is not on Amazon birds. Over 50 different species live in the Amazon. Parrots eat fruit and hard seeds, the latter of which their powerful beaks easily crack open. Although parrots are popular pet birds, they need devoted care throughout their lives (which may be 30 to 40 years), and should not be bought unless this can be assured. In the Amazon, parrots are often kept as pets, being caught wildoften when a tree in which they are nesting is felled (see boy with parrot).
The Blue-headed Parrot (Pionus menstruus) a fairly common Amazon parrot, and is often spotted while on birding trips. The blue head is the distinguishing feature of this species.
The Orange-winged Parrot (Amazona amazonica) lives in low-lying forested areas around rivers and lakes. It likes to roost in moriche palms which provide plenty of food. It also adapts quite well to living around people who like to have them around as a cheerful pet.
The Mealy Parrot (Amazona farinosa) is the largest of the Amazonian "green" parrotsmeasuring about 16 inches from head to tail. (Macaws are in the same family, Psittacidae, and are somewhat bigger.) This bird prefers dense forest and is most often seen flying overhead, usually in pairs.