Blue Capped Pionus ~ Under Appreciated Parrots
Blue capped pionus

Blue Capped Pionus ~ Under Appreciated Parrots

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Windy City Parrot is on Indiana Route 2, a conduit to Interstate 65 Indiana 231, and Route 41 the same Route 41 as Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.

During the course of any given day, thousands of vehicles pass by us on this two-lane arterial corridor.

So it’s no surprise that a day doesn’t go by that somebody doesn’t walk in or call and ask “Do you sell birds?” To which we reply “no” which instantly reroutes the foot traveler/caller.

Our 800 number is seen by thousands of people daily on the web. Many of these web visitors will call and ask if we sell “parrots.”

That sentence in and of itself is a red flag. Why? 50% of the people who asked that question will hang up when we tell them “no.”

The other 50% will ask the follow-up question – “do you know where I can buy a parrot?”

My response is typical, “What species of parrot are you looking for” Not surprisingly many of the responses are similar to “One that talks.”


Then there’s the call to ask “Do you know where I can buy a macaw?”

My patented response will always be “What kind of macaw?”

The Ultimate List Of 43 Macaw Species With A Focus On Large Macaws

This is where I always get the moment of uncomfortable silence and then a response of something like “one of those blue ones.”


I have a dozen patented responses none of which are customer service friendly.

If you’re into macaws you know what I’m talking about. If you’re just lurking and trying to learn something you’ll find out there is something like 43 species of macaws ranging from the noble macaw which is about 12 inches long and hundred and 50g to the Hyacinth macaw which is about 4 feet long and can weigh as much as 2200g.

So now you know that if you call here with some vague specifications, I am not going to help you. You’re not serious and my spidey sense will guide me.

Not many retailers will admit this but although we care about you, we care less about you and more about your bird which is who we are an advocate for.

It’s rare that somebody will call up and ask for some very species-specific information as was the case today with a woman who asked to be placed on our email list. She was seeking information on a Blue-headed Pionus. 

That got my attention so I googled “Blue-headed Pionus Windy City Parrot” and didn’t get a whole lot.

So guess what we can talk about for the next few minutes?

Although Pionus Parrots are similar in shape and size to Amazon parrots, they just don’t get the same respect.

They’re not big parrots, and they are not small parrots there are very nice midsized birds and they are compared to other species relatively quiet.

There actually great family pets we don’t offer proposed psychological profiles of species like “they are quiet and standoffish” until there are several children in the home playing loudly and then the bird gets noisy and aggressive – or something like that.

Check out the Windy City Parrot Pionus Category

Digression-> The outcome bird expects is not necessarily the outcome you are expecting. During the holidays, in the aforementioned scenario, knowing that say, visiting nieces and nephews for the holidays was anticipated and could possibly agitate a bird who’s not used to small people with high voices. Different flock.

Do you have a travel/evac/sleep cage you can move the bird into a quiet room and then perhaps integrate him or her into the festivities slowly?

Do you understand the outcomes your bird is expecting?

Find travel/evac/sleep birdcages on Windy City Parrot Here

  • Roughly 10-12 hours of daylight 12 months a year
  • Flying in real miles daily
  • Having dozens of square miles to explore
  • Thinking that food acquisition is hard work

Before we return to our regularly scheduled programming one of those reminders like remember to keep a blanket in your car in the winter.

Common sense would dictate we’re going to keep our birds away from things like foil tinsel, Christmas light wires, and chocolate cookies.

Personally, though I think one of the greatest threats to our pet birds during the holidays is a lowly piece of – scotch tape.

How we Kill and Injure Our Pet Birds

It’s the rather odd duck that won’t be wrapping gifts for somebody during the holiday season.

Besides paper and ribbon gifts typically require scotch tape and scissors.

Most of us were brought up to know how to hold the scissors and never run with one. But scotch tape? Evil?

Adhesives of any sort are any bird’s kryptonite. A benign-looking piece of scotch tape that a bird brushes against can instantly restrict the feather system leading to fright resulting in stress.

And you know exactly what to do when your bird is freaking out right?

And you know how to remove scotch tape from feathers right? Now you’re hyperventilating over scotch-freakin’ tape – I hope.

Being prepared for a disaster will always result in a better outcome. At the very least you should know and practice the zombie death grip on your bird.

Your bird should know what a towel is and how it’s going to be used to restrain him or her, and you know (smirk) that the best solution to remove an adhesive object from your bird’s feathers is personal lubricant <- family-friendly link – because you read this blog.

How Can Personal Lubricant Save Your Bird’s Feathers?

Back to outcomes – Contrary to what your bird’s expecting what it gets is

  • Darkness at 430 in the afternoon in November
  • Wings get lopped off
  • Lucky if it has 6 square feet of a cage to explore
  • And that cage is filled with food and water 24/7 because you love your bird

The two of you should get together and discuss some common outcomes that you can both live with without becoming crazy.

Pionus is a species of parrot. Recently I was having a discussion about how many species of parrots are there and when something like this

“… mention there are about 370 species of parakeets, not at all. There are only about 350 species of parrots.

and yes Birds Unlimited – there are about 350 species of parrots AND 372 species of parakeets ~ here’s a “blended list” of parrots & parakeets

At some point, I’ll pluck out the keets leaving only parrots on that list then create a parakeet-only list, now here’s a top-level species list of parakeets and some don’t appear on the parrot list and I left it at that.

This is clearly a long-term project but hopefully, within the next year I will have two distinct lists of parrots and parakeets along with I guess a third list of crossovers and I imagine it to be somewhere in the mid-700s (number of species of parrots and parakeets) – stay tuned.

I promised you Pionus parrots and now it’s time to deliver.

There are eight species of Pionus without splitting hairs.

Apparently, there are some old guys sitting in big leather chairs with patches on their sweater elbows smoking pipes discussing things like “Should the Blue-headed parrot (or blue-headed pionus), be subdivided into two additional species – Paler blue-headed parrot (or paler blue-headed pionus), Reichenow’s blue-headed parrot (or Reichenow’s blue-headed pionus)?

I voted – we don’t care we’re sticking with eight.

Many people confuse Pionus with Amazons which I will save for another day.

About 10 inches long and 180 g (white capped) to a blue-headed which can be 12 inches long and 260 g. What’s common to all the species are the red feathers underneath (under tail-coverts) their square short tails. Some old schoolers will refer to them as Red-vented parrots because of this.

They all have a naked eye ring (which can vary in color) and a naked cere (nose). If you really don’t know a lot about Pionus you might think their beaks look overgrown but that’s the way they are.

Personally, I think they have one of the most complex shadings of feather colors of any parrot. Misting them can bring that out and we will have to do some research to see if there are additional ultraviolet colors that only the birds themselves can see on one another. 

By the way, boys and girls all at the same so you’d have to get them DNA sexed to find out what you have should you acquire one. Where can you get one – I haven’t the faintest idea and some are harder to obtain than others I’m told. But then again anything can be gotten with perseverance (and money).

A Pionus can live up to 40 years

From the Lafeber’s website, we learn:

Of the eight species of Pionus, five are regularly available in the pet trade, and each has distinct subspecies, though many of those are not available in the United States. The Blue-Headed-Pionus-blog.jpg blue-headed – bronze-winged –  duskyMaximilian’s or scaly-headed coral-billed or red-billed plum-crowned aka speckle-faced parrot The Plum-crowned Parrot is also called the Restless Parrot, due to its flighty, nervous behavior, and white-headed make up the Pionus family.

Written by Mitch Rezman
Approved by Catherine Tobsing

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