Lilac Crowned Parrots

Lilac-crowned Parrot photo by Jonathan DuHamel

Lilac crowned parrots (Amazona finschi), also known as Lilac crowned amazons and Finsch’s amazon, are endemic to the Pacific coast of Mexico where they inhabit deciduous and semi-deciduous forests. There are also (probably feral) populations in southern California and in south Florida.

Lilac crowned parrots are relatively small, reaching about 12 inches in body length. Audubon describes them as “Lime green overall, lighter on breast and abdomen. Distinct band of deep red-maroon across the forehead between the eyes. Lilac-blue across the top of the head, over the nape and sides of the neck. Legs and feet are blue-gray. The end of the tail is noticeably longer than similar species, but squared off, not as pointed as similar species. May be confused in mixed flocks, with the similar Red-Crowned Parrot, Amazona viridigenalis.” Males and females have the same plumage.

They eat mainly fresh fruit, vegetables, and some seeds and nuts.

Lilac crowned parrots are cavity nesters and generally find suitable sites in the forest along the Pacific coast between elevations 1000 to 6000 feet. The female normally lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated for 26 days. Chicks generally fledge about 60 days after hatching. Life-span in the wild is about 30 years and they can live up to 60 years in captivity.

These birds are quite social and can occur in flocks of several hundred individuals. The large flock size helps deter predatory falcons and hawks. The parrots are also very noisy and have many vocalizations. In captivity they mimic humans, cats, and many other things. One at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum can do a very loud fire engine.

See video of a captive parrot vocalizing.

According to some veterinarians:

“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.” But, “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.”

The photo above the title is of “LC” a female parrot at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. She is quite social with visitors and flirts with human males. She adopted a coquettish pose for me.

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