Avian Species Menu

White crowned Pionus Parrot

White crowned Pionus Parrot

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Species Organizations

National Audubon Society
Website: www.audubon.org
Cornell Lab of Orinthology
Website: www.birds.cornell.edu
The Avian Web
Website: www.avianweb.com

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 features.

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.

The 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.

Pionus parrots are susceptible to obesity, vitamin A deficiency, and aspergillosis in captivity. These conditions, with the exception of aspergillosis, are easily prevented.


Dogs
Horse Herd