Handfeeding Pionus Parrots


Native to South America, the Pionus Parrots have become increasingly more popular as they receive more focus. The Piornis Parrot (genus Pionus) consists of eight species.

1. 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.

2. Bronze-winged Pionus Pionus chalcopterus- Range/Habitat: The Andes of Columbia, Ecuador and Northwestern Peru.

The colors on the Bronze-wing, aside from its subtleness are quite striking. The crown, back of head and upper neck are a dark bluish green. 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 coralwhite. The tail is dark blue with the under coverts deep scarlet. The most brilliant coloring appears on the underside of the wings. This is a brilliant iridescent aqua. The eye ring is pink deepening to a dark coral during the breeding season. Three pair of my bronze-wings have obtained full coral eye ring color at two years old and have maintained it.

3. 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.

4. Dusky Pionus Pionus fuscus -

Range/Habitat: · Venezuela, Lower

Amazon areas and the Guianas.

The Dusky is an extremely striking bird. The head bears a resemblance to the 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 are brownish-pink becoming a rich wine as the bird matures. The untertail coverts are purplish red and the tail itself is a bright violet. The variation on the chest at maturity varies.

Some maintain more a grayish pink to a deep wine. The males tend to obtain a deeper color. 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.

5. The Maximillian Pionus Pionus maxmillani - Habitat/Range: Brazil through Bolivia and Paraguay to Northern Argentina. The Maximillian is the largest of the Pionus species. The plumage is less colorful. The scaly head with the white eye ring is the most outstanding feature. The overall color is bronze olive. The chin is a purplish blue which extends to the throat area.

6. Massena's Pionus or Whiteheaded Pionus Pionus tumultous seniloides - Range/Habitat: Western Venezuela, Western Columbia, Ecuador, north-western Peru in the Andes.

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

7. Plum-crowned Pionus Pionus tumultuosus tumultuosus - Range/Habitat: Peru, the mountains of Central and Southern Regions. Unique head coloring, plum on the crown and forehead.

The Plum-crowned is very similar in head contour and body shape to the Massena's or White-headed.

8. White-capped Pionus Pionus senilis- Range/Habitat: Mexico southeast region through Central America, Western Panama. It has a white feathered crown which starts from the beak and extends to a V shape. The eye ring is white until maturity, at which time it becomes coral. The rest of the head appears dark blue. The upper breast is dark green and the lower breast is bluish green.

In 1933, I took five pair of Whitecapped Pionus to England. Some of these were my first hatch from 1989.

All Pionus Parrots should be DNA sexed as young to eliminate any questions related to their pairing.

I have been handfeeding Pionus Parrots since 1986. Since some of the species are endangered already, I feel committed to monitor the results of my breeding. The offspring are sold as pets or young breeder pairs.

The Pionus are excellent parents, their clutches number from three to six and they sit until the babies are pulled, approximately 10 days to two and one half weeks, depending on the size of the clutch.

My handfeeding diet is...