Classification Order Psittaciformes, Family Psittacidae Scientific Name Pionus Senilis Other Common Names N/A
Species Description The White Cap Pionus Parrot is 24 cm long and
weighs 220 g. The adult male has a white forehead and crown, the
feature which, likened to an old man's white hair, gave rise to the
specific name senilis. The throat is white, and the rest of the
head, neck and breast are dull dark blue. The belly is light green,
and the upperparts are dark green, with a yellow-olive shoulder
patch. In flight, the blue underwings and red vent are conspicuous
The female White-crowned Parrot is similar to the male, but the blue
plumage fades into scaling on the lower breast and the shoulder
patch is duller. Young birds have little blue on the head and neck
or red on the undertail, and the crown feathers are green edged with
white. The 3-6 white eggs are laid in an unlined nest, usually a
natural cavity in a tree or a hollow palm stub.
White-crowned Parrot feeds in social flocks of 30-50 birds, which
may wander outside the breeding range once nesting has finished. It
feeds on taking various seeds, nuts and fruits, and can be pest in
crops of corn or sorghum, and commercial fruit plantations.
It can be unobtrusive when feeding since it is slow-moving, usually
silent, and keeps in the canopy. However, at rest it often perches
conspicuously at the top of an unopened palm frond.
Habitat It is found in lowlands and foothills locally
up to 1600 m altitude in forest canopy and edges, and adjacent
semi-open woodland and second growth.
Distribution Eastern Mexico to Western Panama.
Captivity White Cap Pionus Parrots are popular and make
very good pets. Young birds have a very docile nature and they tend
to remain very tame and handelable if given a lot of attention. They
typically don't speak well. They are intelligent, inquisitive birds
but are sometimes shy. Mature birds, especially males may become
bonded to one person and aggressively protect that person from other
people including other family members. They are relatively common in
captivity but captive bred birds are not frequently available. They
are active by nature and may become overweight if closely confined.
Summary Pionus is a genus of medium-sized parrots
native to Central and South America. Characteristic of the genus are
the chunky body, bare eye ring, (which can vary in color), and short
tail. They are superficially similar to Amazon parrots, but smaller.
Coloration is generally subdued yet complex; under bright lighting,
their feathers shimmer with iridescent brilliance. All species share
bright red undertail coverts; the scientific name of one species,
the Blue-headed Parrot (P. menstruus), refers to this. Males and
females are similar, with no notable sexual dimorphism.
Pionus parrots are regarded as excellent pets, although some species
are very rare in captivity. Most commonly kept species are the
Blue-headed, Maximillian (Scaly-headed) and White-capped. Others,
such as the Dusky and the Bronze-winged have become more common due
to captive breeding.
Pionus parrots are quieter than
Amazon Parrots. Unlike some other companion parrots, aviculturists
have noted that they are not particularly energetic, and do not
generally enjoy hands-on play (for example, being flipped on their
backs), but they do provide companionship and are described as
gentle and charming pets.
When excited or frightened,
birds of this genus emit a characteristic wheezing or snorting sound
that is sometimes mistaken for a sign of distress, or a symptom of
disease. They also give off a musky or sweet odor that some
caretakers find unpleasant, but others enjoy.
parrots are susceptible to obesity, vitamin A deficiency, and
aspergillosis in captivity. These conditions, with the exception of
aspergillosis, are easily prevented.