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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ALCOHOL KILLS BIRDS!!!!! It is a very bad and irresponsible thing to give any bird and this person has been very lucky to still have a bird if he really is giving... (more)  Michael V Rosendahl

   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


  • 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


Michael V Rosendahl - 2020-03-26
ALCOHOL KILLS BIRDS!!!!! It is a very bad and irresponsible thing to give any bird and this person has been very lucky to still have a bird if he really is giving it alcohol that often. PLEASE dont feed your bird alcohol it absolutely has nothing to do with a birds ability to mimic so each. I have raised many species of birds and specifically 4 different species of pionus over the last 35 years.

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Charmaine Weir - 2013-04-07
I'm sure if a bird parent bought a bird from a pet store it might seem unfathomable to feed your bird alcohol, but remember where the bird is indigenous to countries that make wine, and they are free flying birds in their country of origin. Please respect others and learn more before you make comments and believe that bird owners are abusing their birds by giving them something that the birds are used to by nature.

  • Michael V Rosendahl - 2020-03-26
    I'm sorry but feeding a pionus or ANY BIRD alcohol is the same as putting them in a plastic bag and tieing closed and expecting it to be alive when you come back. Absolutely terrible advice and others 'correcting' this idea will save novice bird owners from making a terrible and unreverrsible action. Alcohol,chocolate, avacodoes, teflon coated cookware and air fresheners like fabreeze as well as household cleaners will all poision and most often in certain quantities WILL KILL a bird within minutes of ingesting them or even just being nearby where they are being used. This is why it is of the upmost importance that any bird owner that cares for and loves their bird NOT USE these items or feed them to any bird. If it causes hurt feelings to the person advocating such practices when caring for a bird, well it's better than the alternative outcome. The items I mentioned are by no means the only things bad for a bird but they are the easiest and most common household items that are irreversibly detrimental to a birds life. PLEASE BELIVE THIS TO BE TRUE. Over the past 35 years of having and caring for many different species of birds I have seen and heard it all so I'm speaking not only from a book 'educated' experience but also from seeing first hand what new bird owners have unwittingly done to their birds. That is why I always suggest any person that is getting a bird educate themselves through legitimate means not only about the practices of caring for their new bird but also researching different species of birds that they are interested in getting. With just a little effort anyone wanting to add a bird to their lives can save themselves a lot of heartbreak and more importantly the life and wellbeing of said bird. Not only is it important to know the needs of housing your bird and what your bird needs physically to be happy and healthy but it's just as important that you get the right species of bird that fits your situation. It is far better to educate yourself in this way to avoid another unwanted bird that has to find another home. It is our responsibility as a good person and a great pet owner to do these things before acquiring any pet.
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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????
  • MAOI - 2017-02-01
    I have one since he was born, i fed him with the same mixture of water and corn flour. He eats whatever he wants, including pork meat, chicken, green plaintain, eggs, soups and Doritos are his favorite snacks. He is now 6 yrs old and his health is awesome. He does not speak, just whistles, laughs and calls my dog and his name which is Nino. He doesnt like people that much, just my husband and I. He has bitten everyone at my parents house. My sister loves him,b but he likes her when my husband and I are not home.
  • JHonduras - 2017-07-22
    Hey DD Manfredi I am from Honduras and I have a farm in Siguatepeque, Comayagua and after reading your info you summerized everthying perfectly, I've had 2 of them for 12 years now.
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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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