How do amazon parrots use light to synthesize Vitamin D having no preening gland? and other captive Amazon care questions

Spectacled or White-Fronted Amazon Parrot Poses for the camera.
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How do Amazon parrots use light to synthesize Vitamin D having no preening gland?

As I was curating this post on Amazon parrot questions it got me thinking about one of my favorite subjects, full spectrum lighting and the synthesis of vitamin D in birds.

Amazon parrots are relatively unique having no preening gland (along with doves, pigeons and Hyacinth macaws).

The uropygial aka preening gland oozes a slippery goo which a bird rubs its head and beak against. Then spreads this oil over its feathered body.

This oil must find the bird skin under the feathers in order to begin the process of vitamin D synthesis.

So how do doves, pigeons, Hyacinth macaws and Amazon parrots syntesize vitamin D (which aids in the absorption of calcium)?

Nutrition my friends, nutrition. What they eat. A good pelleted diet will meet the basic nutritional needs of most captive birds. A seed diet may require additional supplementation.

If at-the-end-of-the-day in the absence of preening oil to be absorbed through the skin of an Amazon parrot no amount of light is going to act as a catalyst to a process that can’t exist – without the oil.

budgie uropygial preen wp 2 How do amazon parrots use light to synthesize Vitamin D having no preening gland? and other captive Amazon care questions

This begs the question as to why does Windy City Parrot offer the largest supply of lighting for birds on the Internet?

Two reasons one, many of our lights actually warm birds without light to help them sleep at night.

Two, more importantly to help keep their circadian rhythms synchronized with their instinctual expectations. More about that here.

Next question about Amazon Parrots



Enjoy your Sunday email and look forward to them. I’m not sure if you give out free advice, but thought I’d ask. I recently acquired a 33 year old Double Yellow Amazon.



I am his 4th owner, the latest owner was no longer able to take care of him. He is very cage possessive and can not be handled.


Any idea how to help him trust me? He’s in the main living area so we spend a lot of time together.


I’d like to get him eating fresh fruits and veggies. He looks at me and the food like I’m trying to poison him. I did have an African Parrot 15+ years ago so have some experience with large birds.


Thanks for listening. 🙂 Keep up the good work.

Ava F.


Thank you for the kind words Ava


Thank you for the kind words – For starters please watch the video in this product listing for $2 training clickers

I would advocate that you obtain some millet sprays – you can offer these through the cage or as you get close to the bird if he or she allows it to benefit is – these are tasty your bird will probably like them in the sprig keeps your hand 6 inches from the bird beak.


If he doesn’t care for millet, find a favorite treat like a unshelled sunflower kernel, a raisin or unshelled unsalted peanuts.


He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.