Animal-World > Birds > Pionus Parrots > White-crowned Pionus

White-crowned Pionus

White-capped Parrot, White-crowned Parrot

Family: Psittacidae Falicia, White-crowned Pionus"Falicia"Pionus senilisPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Debbie Hill
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I have a one year old White Crowned/Capped Parrot that was given to me by a friend in Honduras who farms and found the little guy after a dead tree had been cut... (more)  DD Manfredi

   Besides having a very affectionate and gentle nature, the White-Crowned Pionus has incredible colors, as Falicia is demonstrating above!

   The White-crowned Pionus, also know as the White-capped Pionus or White-capped Parrot, is a popular pet and relatively common in captivity. They are a delight to own! Once they are established they make a very docile parrot that is calm and undemanding. They are very sweet and affectionate.

   These intelligent and curious little birds do have a somewhat stronger personality than most other Pionus species, but with good attention they can make fabulous family pets! They are quick to learn and can be taught a variety of tricks. Although they are rather quiet and shy they do have some talking ability.

Dr. Jungle thinks Falicia is awesome!...

   "Falicia is a nice White-capped Pionus that was rather plain looking when we last saw her at about 1 year old. In the last 2 or 3 years she has really gotten a lot of color! She lives with "Fabio", a Blue-headed Pionus."

For information about the care of Pionus Parrots see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Pionus

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Geographic Distribution
Pionus senilis
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Data provided by GBIF.org
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Psittacidae
  • Genus: Pionus
  • Species: senilis

Scientific Name: Pionus senilis

Distribution:    These birds are native to Central America from southwestern Mexico to western Panama.

Description:    The White-crowned Pionus, also know as the White-capped Pionus or White-capped Parrot, is one of the smaller of the Pionus species. They are a small to medium size parrot with a wonderful personality.
   They are generally green with a paler and more yellowish green on the underside. True to their name, they have a white cap on their forehead as well as a white patch under their chin and throat. The rest of the head is blue and the breast has olive-brown feathers edged with darker purplish-blues, gradually turning green across the abdomen. They sport a variety of colors on the tops of the wings from golden browns, violet-blues, blues, to greens and the underwing is a bluish green moving to a dull green. The tail is green tipped with blue and blue on the outside with the undertail having the bright red feathers distinguishable to all the pionus. The beak is a horn color, the eye is dark brown to orangish circled by a light pinkish-white eye ring, and they have pink legs.
   Juveniles are paler in color, have much less white on the cap, and very little or no blue on the head.

Size - Weight:    These birds are a smaller Pionus and grow to a length of 9" (24 cm).

Care and feeding:   A roomy cage is required unless the bird is to be let out for extended periods. Many birds can spend a good deal of their time on a play pen or parrot perch. They do enjoy showering.
   They eat a variety of seeds, fruits, berries, and greenstuffs. Including a formulated diet would also be beneficial.

   See About Pionus: Housing and About Pionus: Care and Feeding for more information.

Social Behaviors:    In the wild they are generally seen small flocks of up to about 15 birds. These birds tame very easily and are very sociable. They are not loud like many conures and amazons. They have very steady personalities and do not tend to bite.

   See About Pionus: Social Behaviors for information on developing a well rounded pionus.

Breeding/Reproduction:   There is no visible means of sexing these birds. They are successfully breed in captivity. Place a nest box high up in a dark area of the aviary. The female will lay up to 5 eggs which incubate for about 26 days. Pairs may take mealworms and greenstuffs when they have chicks in the nest. Corncob is a favorite weaning food. The young leave the nest by the time they are eight weeks old.

  See About Pionus: Breeding/Reproduction for more information on breeding.

Potential Problems:    The White-crowned Pionus is a relatively healthy bird, though the Pionus parrots have been known to be more susceptible to the infection aspergillosis than other species. The main symptom is heavy, belabored breathing.

   See About Pionus: Potential Problems for information on health.

Availability:   This bird is available from time to time. They are becoming increasingly popular and are widely kept.

   The other two most frequently available pionus are the Maximilian's Pionus, and the Blue-headed Pionus.

Author: Clarice Brough, CAS
Lastest Animal Stories on White-crowned Pionus


DD Manfredi - 2004-06-13
I have a one year old White Crowned/Capped Parrot that was given to me by a friend in Honduras who farms and found the little guy after a dead tree had been cut down. Ricky (the parrot) lives with me at my retirement home in Siguatepeque Honduras and I successfully hand-raised him from what I figure was an age of 2 weeks. I fed him a mixture of water and corn flour, mixed to a thin paste and drawn up into a amall hypodermic (without needle of course). I would place the syringe totally inside the mouth and he would then take it garther in hinself and I would press the mix directly down the throat, he thrived and has always been very healthy. When grown these birds LOVE corn, fresh corn on the cob, just pull the shuck leaves back and use them to tie the piece to the cage (or perch). Fresh corn on the cob is considered to be essential at least once a week for an adult bird by the locals.

This is a favorite parrot of local Hondurans and they have taught me a couple of things about them and their ability to speak, that I do not find elsewhere. They say to NEVER feed them anything with salt on it, OR the bird will never speak! Also at 8 months they begin to feed the bird a drop or two of liquor on a piece of tortilla daily, or provide a small cup of fruit wine twice a week. This bird in the wild starts consuming naturally fermented fruit at this age and does so periodically throughout its lifetime. Without this addition to their diet they will never speak well. My little guy is already doing various whistles, calling 3 people in the family by name and is becoming more talkative daily. He started talking one month after I started giving him fruit wine. The wine I am using is a pineapple and mango based wine, but I would think that nay tropical fruit based wine would do.

I love my little friend and am glad to share this information on increasing their talkativeness. Remember that these people have been raising and loving these birds for hundreds of years and I trust what they know and have shared with me. They recommend to never cage this particular type parrot, or if necessary a large cage where they can have lots of activity.

  • Lucy - 2010-06-10
    That is really interesting! Can I give the fruit wine to my bird now that she is almost three years old? Or will it not work? Thank you.
  • Tricia - 2010-10-07
    Hi I am so interested where I can get this wine for my little one she is only four months old and I want the best for her....... thks
  • Anita - 2011-06-20
    Thanks for sharing. We have a 9-year-old that we got at 8 months. While the bird may be "trainable" my husband is not and I have never been able to get him not to do things like feed the bird roasted, salted nuts! We love our little guy and he has been 100% healthy for 9 years eating first pellets that he later rejected, then seed, nuts, vegetables and fruits. Loves soy beans, corn and carrots. Is picky about fruits - eats apples, throws out pears! He talks, but only in a whisper, and only to me when the house is quiet and he has put himself to bed on his "sleeping perch". He has a large preview pet aviary which has carefully-placed perches, toys, and food as well as a play top. He puts himself to bed (climbs back into the cage) at dusk. In the morning, before getting out of the cage or eating anything, he demands that his head be scratched.
  • Anonymous - 2014-07-19
    Can you still tame a 6yr old white cap????
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kingtigermp - 2014-04-23
I have had a snow capped Pionus for over 20 years. His name was 'Guido' as he looked like he was a short little pizza man. After 10 years, 'he' laid two eggs. Name changed to 'Gee'. Absolutely hates everyone but me. She sits on my shoulder and squeaks and makes noises that she only does there, on my shoulder. Gentle as a puppy with me, but squeals in my ear if I don't pay her enough attention. I love this bird. Pionus are very affectionate to only one or a couple of people. Gee will nip me if I get too close to anyone else, even my wife. That is her warning to me to be careful with these persons!

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Anonymous - 2005-07-29
I'm not sure how keen I'd be to advocate giving alcohol to any bird. It is a poison (which is why it intoxicates us) and birds do not have a very good system for metabolising poisons. I have a white-capped Pionus named Peanut, he is three years old. I have had him since he was very young, bought him from a pet store. He has never had any kind of alcohol, I know for a fact that the kids working in the pet store I bought him from used to feed him potato chips, McDonald's fries, and other high-salt snacks (which aren't good for birds, either) and he talks perfectly fine. It has a lot less to do with what they eat and more to do with how much interaction they have with their people. Of course, wild Pionus are notorious for destroying corn crops in South and Central America and are considered a pest for doing so. However, wild species only eat corn while it is in season, and the importance of a varied diet cannot be stressed enough. However, every time I have ever offered my pionus corn (raw, cooked, mashed, hidden in other foods) he has refused to eat it. Melons, hard boiled eggs, strawberries, broccoli and cauliflower are favorites, however.

  • Anita - 2011-06-20
    Thanks for your comments. I was wondering about the alcohol too and questioned whether or not it has anything to do with talking. We have a nine-year-old that has been extremely healthy and content. He gets a varied diet too but does love corn, carrots, soy beans, brocolli, apples, water melon, grapes but only likes them fresh - no dried stuff. I've tried boiled eggs but no luck. In the years I've had him though, I've discovered that it takes a very long time for him to accept something new - toys included. He is just now playing with a toy I hung in his cage 10 months ago.
  • Hanna J - 2011-07-09
    I know these are really old posts, so forgive the "lateness" of this. But I have to say that my male white-capped just turned 18 years old last month. Bought from breeder at age 3 months and has been through so much with me, I feel like he is my child. He eats whatever I eat and always has fresh seed mix. But he is fed "human meals" everyday and gets extra veggies and fruit. Never feed them avocado or chocolate or raw onions (although he has eaten raw onions and really doesn't prefer them) His favorite foods are tortilla chips and salad w/dressing. I have also given him sips of my margaritas, although I think its because of the salt. Maybe I have been lucky with him. He has never had to see a vet and never been ill and I have many other pets that don't mess with him. Everything in moderation, although I would NEVER give him alcohol on a regular basis. Their livers don't metabolize things like us, especially for such a little guy like mine. I wish I knew how long they really live. He has been sleeping a lot more lately but always eats and is out of his cage. Can anyone really tell me the lifespan of these little guys. I can't imagine him part of my life after 18 years.....
  • junaid - 2013-12-12
    Hi, it's my first time with birds but I guess I'm following the right path. I have a white crowned pionus which is 7 weeks going on to 8 weeks I'm understanding him/she very well an his/she loving an getting used to my gf an I I'm looking for some friend who have these birds to learn a bit more about these beautiful creatures. They are very intelligent birds an learn very quick for being the age his already eating fruits an seeds slowly but growing rapidly. Any comments please email j.cass786@gmail.com
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Nikki - 2006-02-19
I have had my little "CHICO" my White Cap Pionus parrot for about 9 months now and he/she (not sure of the sex yet) is quite the joy to have around. They truly are exceptional little birds. Already Chico can say his name and mimics sounds. I was lucky enough to have found a hand fed baby and visited him since he was 2 months old at the breeder before I brought him home. I think that made a real difference in the bonding. Chico always looks to me as "Mom" even though he will go to other people I am his number one human! When I am tired and stressed from work I know Chico can cheer me up. This is my first parrot and I am so very pleased with my little companion. Before I brought him home I got rid of all non-stick cookware and only use Method cleaning products because they are more natural and hopefully less toxic. To sum it up the White Cap Pionus is truly a unique baby full of silly quirks and temperments. My pretty little Chico is a wonderful bird!

  • Anita - 2011-06-20
    Regarding natural product use around birds, I wanted to note also that I fill his water dish with filtered water. Not sure if this is necessary but we have city water with fluoride and chlorine. I'm sure the dosage is ok for humans but I figure it might not be the right amounts for a tiny creature!
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