Pionus Parrot – An unpopular but outstanding bird companion

Birds Human Classroom

The Pionus Parrot species may not be as known or kept as a pet bird as other Parrot species, but they will certainly amaze you if you can give them a chance thanks to the treats they have, mostly difference of all of these other species that makes them such a delightful and excellent pet to own. Thanks to their passive nature, easy handling, and a gentle attitude, Pionus are a great option for first owners that want to avoid some of the bad habits that most Parrots tend to develop or are scared of the bites from these type of pets. Most bird lovers are pleased with this species and I can promise you that they will deliver as long as you follow every single step to ensure a healthy and quality lifestyle that every pet deserves.


 These wonderful animals come from South and Central America and you can find some flocks mostly on forested or mountain regions as well as savannas. Besides some behavioral treats, they also share some anatomic aspects such as the shape and some plumage colors of their tails, being similar to the Amazon Parrot, that are short ones and with some red feathers underneath it, probably is part of the same reason that some people say that the Pionus species is a small version of the Amazon Parrot. They reach about 10 to 12 inches in length and they have quite a long lifespan reaching 40 years if given good management and care. Just as every other bird species, the birds that were raised under some human influence are the ones that have a better time with people since they won’t be prone to most behavioral changes due to this lack of contact from a young age, this is something you should emphasize when purchasing a Pionus bird since a frightened bird will bite, scream or just remain frozen by the fear which could be problematic in any environment.

 There are currently eight species of Pionus Parrots and each of them has their respective subspecies. Sadly enough, most of them aren’t available in the United States, but there are about five of them that are mostly seen in the adoption or trade centers. The mos looked-out is the Blue headed Pionus and it is due to its colors since is the one that’s most attractive to the eye with some blue color on the top and a beautiful emerald color on his body. Other Parrot species have a wider variety of colors that may be part of the reason why these birds aren’t so commonly seen as companions added to their lack of vocal skills. Another Pionus that gets most of the attention is Maximilian’s Pionus or Scaly headed Parrot, due to their size as they are the biggest one among all of the Pionus Parrots. The White Capped Pionus Parrots are commonly mistaken with the Amazon White-fronted since they look so alike. As for the rest of the species that you could look for you have; 

  • Bronze winged Pionus
  • Dusky Pionus
  • Coral-billed or Red-billed Pionus
  • Plum-Crowned Pionus
  • White-headed Pionus


 Since Pionus birds aren’t so popular they are compared with the most popular species of birds most of the time and these differences are the ones that make this Parrot species so special. The Pionus species might get out-classed in some aspects like the color of the plumage, other birds that are more talkative, and of course more popular, which make a little sense because some people look for a bird to teach it how to talk or that it can sing along, it’s one of the most common things seen on the media theses past years meaning that they want to recreate that. What people don’t see are the downsides that every pet has, this happens with dogs and cats as well, not just birds. For example, some species that are well known for their vocalization are the Amazon Parrot, the Conure, and the Macaw, whereas the Pionus bird barely makes noise or talk at all, you might get to see it only when it gets excited or scared, some owners say that they get almost completely silent so you can discard this issue and let your neighbors known that your bird won’t become a living alarm, this is of course as long as you don’t recreate a noisy environment so your Pionus becomes as loud or worst that any of the other species that I’d mentioned. African Grey Parrots and lovebirds have their special treatment when it comes to their management, as I explained on the Greys article, these birds aren’t made for everyone, even for an experienced owner it could be a challenge to keep up with his needs even when it’s another wonderful pet to own, the Pionus on the other hand, they are easygoing, you’ll barely have any trouble with them being a gentle, kind, smart, and devoted pets, the only reason you might get any troubles with this Parrot species it could be if your bird wasn’t raised by another human being meaning that he isn’t used to be near people.

 Cockatoos are another species that is among the most popular ones, but it demands tons and tons of affection and will look to be on someone most of the time. The Pionus is a more reserved and distant bird, but not so much to the extent of a Canary or Finch since they would still need at least a couple of hours a day with you, they still need that contact with their owner or guardian because they could get sentimental. They aren’t cuddling or enjoy some hands-on time, but if you are going to have a pet you must remember that they are a living being and it will become your responsibility. Another thing that people compare the Pionus with is the energetic and lively attitude of the Canary with his flashy moves from one side to the other on the cage that not every species manage to do. The Pionus if fairly active and they need some exercise, space to move freely given their calm and reserved behavior. Don’t let their small size fool you so you end up purchasing a bird cage for your Pionus that’s good enough for his size but not enough to provide sufficient space for it to fly freely. 


 Following the idea of the size of the cage, yes it is ok to get one that allows your bird to fully extend his wings without any problem whatsoever, but you need to remember they aren’t made for complete lookups. If you adopt any bid I beg you to provide more than a fairly amount of space to allow your bird to fly to his heart content because that’s what they were made for, to fly freely in the wild, not to remain in a small room, on a smaller cage to spend his time on this planet. No one would like to be closed up like that, it would be like a prison to your Pionus, so if it’s within your reach you could get a small one to keep him inside the house near the family and also get an aviary so your Pionus can entertain itself given that you also get as many accessories as you can to make it a comfortable and pleasant place for your Pionus, allowing it to recreate and stay active, in good shape to avoid both diseases and behavioral problems. In this way you can also share with him inside his aviary taking advantage of the hours you can get to share with him, you can also use it to give him some snacks to help him in his daily diet.

 Aside from this, remember to locate a suitable place to set the cage of your bird where it does not produce any damage or that makes it more likely to suffer from certain diseases since it is a breed prone to fungal diseases so a wet environment of the house as the bathroom or near it would not be ideal. In case you have doubts about this or you are new to having a pet bird you should inform yourself as best you can before taking this important step which you will not regret and I hope it does not end up being a bad experience for your bird as many, both Pionus and its species that are cousins end up in sanctuaries or shelters because people have not known how to handle them properly as they anticipate several things or simply overlook certain important details, blaming the pet itself instead of recognizing their own mistakes. To avoid being another one of the bunch I invite you to read this article about some initial thoughts if you plan to bring home one of the many wonderful bird species that can be a great addition to your family, and of course to talk to a professional who is accredited, either an avian veterinarian or a bird breeder who is recognized, this way you can avoid certain problems for both you and your Pionus, during the time you are going to live and share because 30 years do not fly by.

 The cage doesn’t have to be oriented only to your bird, you should look for something that’s appealing to you and your house, something that you can manage to clean easily, like a bird cage that has a removable bottom, this way you won’t be as invasive to the space of your Pionus and you don’t have to be moving everything to clean up just one part of the cage. Remember to clean it frequently to avoid any contamination and also this way you check on a part of the behavior of your bird, like if it’s eating enough and not dropping everything to the ground and the status of his droppings, look for any possible bloodstain or an increased amount of feathers, something that becomes unusual, you’ll be able to detect it at an early stage. By keeping a close relationship with your Pionus you’re going to understand him more than anyone else and it is really important since this way you can alert anyone else or tell beforehand if he feels distressed in some way or when he might be prone to bite someone, or it could be that it might be feeling bad and acts more calm than usual and it has been inactive lately, are things that could save the life of your pet just by paying a little extra attention to what the body language of your Pionus is trying to tell you. Keep the cage, accessories, dishes clean following the indications from the veterinarian to ensure your Pionus gets a healthy lifestyle.


 The Pionus species don’t have much trouble when it comes to food selection, but you must be careful about which type you chose and the amounts since they are prone to obesity and can suffer from a deficiency of Vitamin A that can lead up to several diseases. With regular check-ups with the avian vet, you should cover this part as he will let you know if he notices anything out of the ordinary and points you in the right direction as to how to manage certain details about the care and management of your Pionus bird. Seed are the most used or searched type of bird food because it’s what it’s shown on Tv, theses types of food are not harmful but you mustn’t base the nutrition of your bird on them because it doesn´t possess all the primary and essential compounds to fully cover the nutritional needs. The best food you can use as the main dish is based on formulated pellets as they come with everything they need and some are categorized depending on the situation or what you might be looking for. Some food presentations catch the attention of the birds as it has the form of something they would get themselves on the wild while they are foraging, but consult everything you can before using most of what you purchase. Sometimes, the employees on the pet stores might lend you a hand in this manner and please, don’t feel bad because you are always asking for something, it’s better to be safe than sorry in some scenarios. If you choose some organic food make sure it’s clean and free of any chemical compound that could harm your bird and you won’t be noticing it.


 Some of these topics I’ve already mentioned them like the deficiency of Vitamin A, obesity, and the fungal or aspergillosis. The best way to prevent these and many other diseases it’s by setting a health plan with the veterinarian as they are the ones that know the most on this topic so if you follow their recommendations and instructions you shouldn’t be as worried. Be careful if by any means some children try to carry your Pionus, being a small animal they get a fragile body structure and children do not have that delicacy and do not know how to measure certain things so they should always be under the supervision of responsible people and adults to avoid any problems that may arise. Another thing is that birds tend to produce dust between their feathers to help keep them healthy but this can be harmful to some people who are allergic so you must be careful if there is a family member at home who suffers from a similar disease.


Pionus lovers are certainly pleased with this gentle and wonderful pet, although they don’t come in such a variety on the feather color is concerned, but at least you could take the Blue Head if you are looking for a Parrot pet with some vivid colors, if not then you care more about the size of the pet and get the Maximillian Pionus but you’ll still end up with a medium sized parrot at most. Having a pet Pionus is an experience that you must live if you are new into this avian world, as patience and dedication will make a great and loving relationship between the two of you.

I hope you’ve liked this article and if you think I’ve missed anything please let me know in the comment section down below.

Professor Whiskers
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