Aviculture of Pionus Parrots Breeding, Care and Personality


There has been little written recently on the Pionus parrot species with regards to their breeding and care.

John and Pat Stoodley's book Pionus Parrots, published in 1984 has been of great value 'for all Pion us enthusiasts.

I will briefly describe the eight species and their habitats.

Blue-headed Pionus Pionus menstruus also known as the Red-vented Parrot

Range/Habitat: Mexico, Costa Rica and Tropical South America.

Its most outstanding blue head, breast and throat are complimented by the brilliant green of the body. The bill is dark gray with red markings at the base of both mandibles. The undertail coverts are brilliant red tipped with green.

Bronze-winged Pionus Pionus chalcopterus

Range/Habitat: The Andes of Columbia, Ecuador, and Northwestern Peru. The colors on the Bronzewinged, aside from its subtleness are quite striking. The crown, back of head and upper neck are a deep blue. The wings are bronze, the tail and upper parts of the breast are extremely dark blue. The fusion of color in the throat area varies from a pinkish white to a deeper coral. The tail is dark blue with the under coverts deep scarlet. The most brilliant color appears on the underside of the wings. This is a brilliant iridescent aqua. The eye ring is pink deepening to a darker coral during breeding season. Three pair of my Bronze-winged have obtained full coral eye ring color at two years and have maintained it.

Coral-billed Pionus Pionus sordidus

Range/Habitat: Northern Venezuela. and Western Columbia to Ecuador, 

Eastern Peru, and Northern Bolivia. The coral bill is the most outstanding feature of this species. The body is green with blue bordering and white eye ring.

Dusky Pionus Pionusfuscus Range/Habitat: Venezuela, Lower Amazon areas and the Guianas. The Dusky is an extremely striking bird. The head bears a resemblance to a Peregrine Falcon and is distinctively marked with buff. The skin surrounding the eye is gray in adults. The head is slate blue. The cere is marked with red feathers on either side, and the feathers of the breast area brownishpink becoming a rich wine as the bird matures. The under tail coverts are purplish red and the tail itself is a bright violet. The underside of the flights is an iridescent silver blue. My most colorful male (imported but in captivity for six years) has phenomenal wine color. His first-year offspring have extraordinary color, the male and female siblings are almost identical.

Maximilian Pionus Pionus maximiliani

Range/Habitat: Brazil through Bolivia and Paraguay to Northern Argentina. The Maximilian's plumage is less colorful. Referred to as the Scalyheaded because of the the feathers on the head, white at the base, cast a scale type appearance. The overall color is bronze olive. The chin is a purplish blue which extends to the throat area. Its most striking feature on observation is its white eyering. Once again, as in most all Pionus, the most brilliant coloring occurs on the undertail coverts and the underside of the wings. This appears to be a most spectacular green, almost a kelly green.

Massena's Pionus or White-headed Pionus Pionus senilodes.

Range/Habitat: Western Venezuela,

Western Columbia, Ecuador, northwestern Peru in the Andes.

This is the most rare of the Pionus species and has yet to be bred in captivity. The head is a dullish green with a white base which gives it a speckled appearance. The upper parts are a dark green which extends to the tail. The breast is a dark mauvish blue.

Plum-crowned Pionus Pionus tumultuosus.

Range/Habitat: Peru, the mountains of Central and Southern Regions. This Pionus has unique head coloringplum on the crown and forehead. The Plum-crowned is very similar in head contour and body shape to the Massena's or White-headed. It is considered rare and endangered.

White-Capped Pionus Pionus senilus.

Range/Habitat: Mexico southeast region through Central America, Western...