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The diademed amazon grows to a length of about 33 cm (13 in). It is a largely green bird with glimpses of red and black; many of the feathers are margined with contrasting colours giving a finely scalloped effect. The crown, nape and neck, breast and belly are green while the forehead, lores and cere are red. This red colour does not extend above the eye in a superciliary streak. The primary wing feathers are dusky black and the secondaries bluish-green; the base of the first five secondaries are red, giving a flash of red colour during flight. The tail is green with the side feathers being tipped yellowish-green, with red at the base. The beak is dark grey and the bare skin surrounding the eye is white. The iris is orange and the legs and feet are pale greys.