The Peaceful Pionus

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Similar in shape to the Amazons but different in every other way is the group known as Pionus. There are four members of this group that are available in the pet trade. The most popular is the blue-headed Pionus (Pionus menstruus). Their range is the greater part of northern South America. An overall green in coloration they have a bronze hue to the feathers on the sides of their wings. Their most outstanding characteristic is their beautiful cobalt blue head. Young blue-heads will have 30 to 80 % of adult head coloration with their first set of baby feathers. The rest fills in over the first two major feather molts.

The most common variety that one finds available is the White-capped Pionus (Pionus senilis). The range of these is Mexico south through Central America. These multicolored birds are difficult to describe. Adults have a large white patch on the top of their heads. They have the typical patch of bronze coloration on the sides of their wings, and variable cobalt blue on areas of the cheeks and breast. Babies are much duller looking then adults. Since their color does not fully develop until they are about two years old their popularity suffers because prospective buyers have a difficult time imagining how pretty they are at adulthood.

More sporadically available are both the dusky (Pionus fuscus) and the bronze-winged Pionus (Pionus chalcopterus). The duskies’ range encompasses sporadic localities in northeastern and central South America. The Bronze-wings’ range is even more restricted; being confined to the north-western coast of South America from Venezuela south through Colombia and Ecuador to Peru. From the rear, both of these birds are a bit similar. An overall bronze coloration to their backs and wings give them a very unique look among the parrot family. From the front they do differ drastically. The bronze-wing has a light colored beak and a dark purple-blue breast; the dusky has a dark beak and the bronze-brown of its breast and belly is suffused with hues of blues and red-purple.

All are about ten inches long including a three inch tail. These pint sized parrots have captured the hearts of anyone that has shared their home with them. They are the perfect bird for those that live in apartments and are worried about the noise factor. They are also an excellent bird for those that are just beginning the experience of parrot ownership. Although they have no trouble learning a few phrases of human speech, they never develop extensive vocabularies. This is something that is dictated by their quiet nature. They do however more than make up for this with their sweet and affectionate personalities.