As most other amazon parrots, it has a short squarish tail and primarily green plumage. It has dark blue tips to the secondaries and primaries, and a red wing speculum, carpal edge (leading edge of the wing at the “shoulder”) and base of the outer tail-feathers. The red and dark blue sections are often difficult to see when the bird is perched, while the red base of the outer tail-feathers only infrequently can be seen under normal viewing conditions in the wild. The amount of yellow to the head varies, with nominate, nattereri and panamensis having yellow restricted to the crown-region (occasionally with a few random feathers around the eyes), while the subspecies xantholaema has most of the head yellow. All have a white eye-ring. They have a dark bill with a large horn (gray) or reddish spot on the upper mandible except panamensis, which has a horn colored beak. Males and females do not differ in plumage. Except for the wing speculum, juveniles have little yellow and red to the plumage.
They are normally found in pairs or small flocks up to 30, but larger groups may gather at clay licks.
In the wild
The yellow-crowned amazon is found in the Amazon basin and Guianas, with additional populations in north-western South America and Panama. It has been introduced to Grand Cayman. It is a bird of tropical forest (both humid and dry), woodland, mangroves, savanna and may also be found on cultivated land and suburban areas. In the southern part of its range, it is rarely found far from the Amazon rainforest.
Their food includes fruits, nuts, seeds and berries. Foods with sugar and a large amount of salt can be dangerous for them.