The Pionus parrot is considered a hidden gem in the bird world. This bird species is considered underrated for many reasons—its colors are not as flashy as other parrots, not as feisty as its close relative, the Amazon parrot, and not as talkative as an African Grey parrot. However, despite their lack in the aforementioned facets, Pionus parrots are your ultimate commitment buddy, which can live for more than 40 years. Pionus parrots are not only perfect for adults, but also for children. If you are interested in taking care of one, make sure to read further!
Pionus parrots are endemic to Mexico, and central and south America. They look superficially similar to Amazon parrots, except the vivid colors, large size, and flight techniques. Pionus have several species, including the Blue-headed parrot, Red-billed parrot, Scaly-headed parrot, Speckle-faced parrot, White-crowned parrot, Bronze-winged parrot, White-capped parrot and Dusky parrot.
They are regarded as beautiful, excellent pet birds, although some species are rare in the pet trade. The most commonly kept Pionus species include the Scaly-headed and White-capped parrots. The Bronze-winged and Dusky parrots became famous overtime due to captive breeding.
Characteristics of a Pionus parrot
Average length: 10 to 12 inches
Average life span: Up to 40 years
Pionus parrots have mid-sized, chunky bodies, bare eye rings (which vary in color according to species), and short square tails. Their plumage coloration is usually subdued but more complex compared to other species in the genus Amazona. Under bright lighting, a Pionus parrot’s feathers shimmer with iridescent brightness. All Pionus parrots possess bright red undertail covers. Male and female Pionus parrots all look the same.
Pionus parrots are recognized as easy-going, quiet, and slightly aloof parrot—take note that these descriptions are based on comparisons to the more famously kept parrot species. They may lack in certain areas, but Pionus lovers all attest to the bird’s tenderness, calmness, and sweetness. Despite being shy, Pionus parrots are sweet and affectionate, making them perfect pet birds for families with children.
Caring for a Pionus parrot
If you have decided that a Pionus parrot is the perfect household pet, you should be willing to spend a great amount of time with it. If you have more demanding birds under your roof, your Pionus may not get the attention it needs.
However, it is worth noting that they are not particularly energetic nor enjoy regular hands-on playing as compared to other parrots, but Pionus parrots provide unparalleled companionship and calmness you would rarely find on most commonly kept parrots.
A Pionus parrot can quickly adapt to its new environment. Provide a spacious bird cage for your pet. A housing that measures around 24″ x 24″ x 32″ is ideal, although you can expand the space as much as you want. Inside the enclosure, you will need to provide perches, a variety of playthings, and dishes for water, food, and treats. A playpen can be provided outside of the cage. The enclosure, playthings, and water and food dishes would require regular cleaning. Perches require weekly cleaning to avoid bacteria and virus growth. The cage’s floor shall be washed every other week or replaced as often as required.
In the wild, Pionus parrots are sighted with small or medium-sized flocks outside the breeding season. In captivity, calmness indicates a nice, friendly Pionus bird. But like other parrots, Pionus parrots are social birds with steady, loyal personalities. They also rarely bite, which makes it an even more ideal pet bird for children.
A Pionus parrot might appear standoffish during its first days in its new environment, but it can be taught with various tricks and taming basics. Go slowly and consistently—never “punish” your parrot for disobeying your demands, as this can only destroy the trust both parties have spent so much time building. There are lots of training tips and tricks out on the internet, make sure to check them out.
As for their food, Pionus parrots survive eating fruits, seeds, berries, and corn in the wild. In captivity, you should feed your bird with a mix of specialized pellets, various seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables, and supplements. Don’t forget to provide clean, chlorine-free water everyday. As active birds, your Pionus parrot will need to exercise regularly. This will mitigate the negative effects of overweight and sedentary lifestyle.