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Blue Head Parrot (Pionus menstruss)
Description: generally green; head and upper breast deep blue, red base to feathers of neck, which show through partially; black patch to ear-coverts; under tail-coverts red; bill blackish, reddish on sides; skin to periophthalmic ring grey; iris dark brown; feet grey.
Off Springs: with reddish frontal band, head greenish-blue.
Length: 28 cm (11 ins)
Distribution: Colombia (east of Andes), eastern Ecuador, eastern Peru south to central Brazil and northern Bolivia; Trinidad.
Habitat: forest and terrain with trees of tropical zone to 600 m (2,000 ft), occasionally up to 1,500 m (5,000 ft); only sighted in open country and cultivated areas when foraging.
Status: menstruus and rubrigularis common, but threatened with extinction.
Habits: in small groups or noisy flocks of up to 100 individuals outside breeding season; mostly remains in canopy of tall trees or palms.
Natural Diet: fruits, berries, seeds and tree flowers; occasionally raids grain fields and banana plantations; regularly visits "barreiros" for mineral-rich soil.
Breeding Behavior: breeding season in central America from February to April, in Colombia as early as November/December and in Surinam from September/October; nests in tree holes or hollow branches; clutch 3 to 4 eggs; egg measures 31.5 x 25.1 mm (1.24 x 1.00 ins).
Aviculture: medium-noisy parrot with usually little chewing requirement; initially shy, later still reticent; fairly susceptible to stress as most Pionus species; many birds do not bathe, but enjoy being rained on.
Accommodation: Ideally aviary of at least 2.5 x 1 x 2 m (8.5 x 3 x 6 ft); in winter between 5° (41°F) and 10°C (50°F); double wiring necessary as can be aggressive to birds in neighboring flights.
Diet: various fruit and vegetables; variable seed mix, in spring/summer sprouted food; fresh branches with buds; regular mineral supplements; rearing food or dog chow, soft or cottage cheese before and during breeding period.
Breeding in Aviculture: regularly achieved; breeding begins in May; 3 to 4 eggs; brooding mostly starts with second egg; incubation 26 days; fledging period 70 days; young independent at 90 days; nest box size 25 x 25 x 50 cm (10 x 10 x 20 ins).
Bronze Wing Parrot (Pionus chalopterus)
Description: violet-blue; head and nape bronze-brown, feathers broadly edged dark violet-grey; chin white; throat dull pink; back, rump and shoulder feathers dark bronze-green with blue edging; breast and abdomen dark green broadly edged with dark violet-blue; under tail-coverts red; wing-coverts bronze-brown; primary-coverts and primaries purple-blue; tail dark blue, outer feathers with red base; bill yellowish horn-color; skin to periophthalmic ring dull to dark pink; iris brown; feet flesh-colored.
Off Springs: with greenish head and back, breast and abdomen feathers with dark green edging.
Length: 29 cm (11.5 ins) (wing 190 - 205 mm or 7.5 - 8.1 ins)
Distribution: Andes of Colombia (except Nariño) and furthest northwest Venezuela.
Habitat: forest of tropical and sub-tropical zones between 500 m (1,500 ft) and 2000 m (6,000 ft); occasionally higher or lower; regular visitor to cleared and partially deforested areas.
Status: common in localities.
Habits: in pairs or small groups outside breeding season; flies swiftly and often for great distances; noisy during flight; call shrill.
Natural Diet: seeds; probably also fruits, berries and flowers of trees.
Breeding Behavior: breeding season from April; nests in hollows in dead trees; egg measures 29,3 x 23,7 mm (1.15 x 0.93 ins).
Aviculture: quiet to medium-noisy; not particularly hard chewer; nonetheless provide fresh branches regularly; shy and reticent; occasionally susceptible to stress; during acclimatization also susceptible to cold and fungal infection; occasionally male plucks female; particularly on head.
Accommodation: aviary min. 2,5 x 1 x 2 m (7.5 x 3 x 6 ft); minimum temperature in winter 5°C (41°F).
Diet: various fruit and vegetables; good, varied seed mix; sprouted seed in spring and early summer; fresh branches with buds; regular mineral supplements; rearing food or dog chow, quark (cottage or soft cheese) before and during breeding.
Breeding in Aviculture: regularly achieved; breeding begins April; 4 to 5 eggs; incubation starts after second egg laid; incubation 26 days; fledging period 60 days; nest box 25 x 25 x 50 cm (10 x 10 x 20 ins).
Maximilian Parrot (Pionus maximiliani) (Scaly-headed Parrot)
Description: green; forehead and lores blackish; feathers on crown and back of head broadly edged with dark grey; cheeks green with narrow bluish-grey tips; violet-blue band across throat and upper breast; breast and abdomen pale green; under tail-coverts red; back and upper wing-coverts dull olive-brown; middle tail feathers green, outer blue with red base; bill horn-colored with black base; skin to periophthalmic ring grey; iris dark brown; feet grey.
Off Springs: mostly with reddish frontal band; head pale green with narrow edging; poorly developed violet-blue band to throat and upper breast.
Length: 29 cm (11.5 ins), wing length 165 - 180 mm (6.5 - 7 ins)
Distribution: northeast Brazil from Espírito Santo north to Piauí and Ceará.
Habits: pairs, small groups or flocks of up to 50 birds outside breeding season; occasionally flocks of several hundred birds when sufficient food available; mostly seen flying as difficult to detect in trees; plumage provides excellent camouflage; very noisy when flying to and from roosting trees; audible for considerable distance; quiet when feeding; shy and unapproachable; call high-pitched and disyllabic; alarm call rapidly repeated cries.
Natural Diet: fruits (wild figs), nuts, berries and seeds, foraged in trees and bushes.
Breeding Behavior: breeding season from October to February; nests in tree hollows or hollow branches of dead trees; mostly at height of at least 10 m (35 ft); egg measures 32.2 x 24.4 mm (1.27 x 0.96 ins).
Aviculture: very quiet parrot, which seldom screeches; newly imported birds not so anxious as other Pionus species; not hard chewer; hardy once acclimatized; can be housed in communal aviary with other Pionus species.
Accommodation: aviary of 2.5 x 1 x 2 m (8.5 x 3 x 6 ft); minimum temperature 5°C (41°F); not less than 20°C (68°F) during acclimatization.
Diet: various fruit and vegetables; variety of seed mixes; sprouted food in spring/summer; fresh branches with flowers and buds; regular mineral supplements; rearing food or dog chow, soft or cottage cheese before and during breeding; occasionally conservative in feeding habits and difficult to accustom to new food.
Breeding in Aviculture: seldom achieved as not often kept; breeding does not seem to be difficult; clutch 3 to 4 eggs; brooded from laying of first egg; incubation 26 days; fledging period 60 days; young independent after 80 days; nest box 25 x 25 x 60 cm (10 x 10 x 24 ins); provide plenty of greenery for breeding.
White Cap Parrot / White Crowned (Pionus senilis)
Description: generally green; lores, forehead, fore crown and patch on chin white; remaining head feathers green edged with blue; ear-coverts dark blue; breast olive-brown, feathers edged with lilac-blue, becoming green on abdomen; under tail-coverts red with green edging; lesser and median wing-coverts gold-brown with green base; primary-coverts and primaries violet-blue; under wing-coverts greenish-blue; tail green with blue tips, outer feathers blue with red base; bill horn-colored: skin to periophthalmic ring whitish-pink; iris brown; feet grey flesh-colored.
Off Springs: with green head; forehead white; chin, breast and abdomen green; under tail-coverts lighter; iris dark.
Length: 24 cm (9.5 ins)
Distribution: from west Panama north to south-east Mexico in San Luis Potosi and southern Tamaulipas, mainly along Pacific slopes.
Habitat: forests and coastal areas with woodland in tropical and sub-tropical zone up to 2,500 m (7,500 ft); occurs occasionally in cultivated areas.
Status: fairly common; numerous in localities.
Habits: from small groups to flocks of several hundred birds outside breeding season; seasonal migrations to and from higher altitudes; quiet during feeding; then difficult to detect in foliage; cautious and shy; does not come down to ground; if alarmed flies away screeching loudly; flight swift and noisy; flock flies and also changes direction suddenly in unison; call often incessant shrill screeching.
Natural Diet: fruits, seeds, nuts, berries and flowers; maize and grain in cultivated areas.
Breeding Behavior: breeding season February to May; nests in holes in trees at 5 m (15 ft) to 8 m (24 ft); after breeding adults and off springs form larger flocks; egg measures 34,9 x 25,4 mm (1.37 x 1.0 ins).
Aviculture: medium-noisy, lively parrot; initially shy, later more confiding; often incompatible with other birds; only minor chewing requirement.
Accommodation: aviary of 3 x 1 x 2 m (9 x 3 x 6 ft); during acclimatization minimum temperature 20°C 68°F); in winter not less than 10°C (50°F); double wiring, as species can be aggressive towards neighboring birds.
Diet: various fruit and vegetables; good, varying seed mix; sprouted seed in spring and early summer; fresh branches with buds; regular mineral supplements; rearing food or dog chow, quark (cottage or soft cheese) before and during breeding.
Breeding in Aviculture: seldom achieved; breeding begins in April; 4 to 5 eggs; incubation 26 days; fledging 60 days; adults occasionally sensitive to nest inspection; nest box 24 x 24 x 50 cm (9.5 x 9.5 x 20 ins).