The relationship between humans and pets has existed since anyone can remember. Right from the early men using their pets as hunting companions, nowadays, we have found a more interesting use for our dear friends.
It will interest you to know that after dogs, cats and fish, birds are ranked fourth in the list of America’s top pets. The majority of pets found in homes today are parrots and for good reasons. Is it the captivating color combinations that are common among the family or their sometimes silly but fun personalities?
The Pionus family of parrots are generally quieter than most of their cousins. They are also small birds, usually with a length of around 10 to 12 inches. When in a group, the Pionus parrots are also sometimes referred to as Red-vented parrots because they can often be seen with bright red feathers just under their tail.
We are going to focus our discussion on one of the popular members of the Pionus species, the white capped Pionus bird.
White Capped Pionus
Also known as the white crowned parrot, the white capped pionus is a gentle, fun, and intelligent bird that makes excellent pets for most families. It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced or novice pet owner, you will love caring for these birds. They also live very long lives, so they can become part of the family for a long while.
Origin and Native Habitat
The white capped Pionus can be found in the woodlands and forests of Mexico and Central America all the way to Panama. If you take a journey here, you will observe that these birds are at home in dense growth and forests and they nest hollow palms and tree trunks.
The white capped pionus are social birds that can often be found in groups of at least a dozen. The social nature of these birds is obvious when you consider the fact that they have been able to develop a relationship with the local populace in the region. The farming populace tames these birds and has them as the symbol of the region.
Just like most other birds found in nature, the white crowned parrot has been threatened with loss of its habitat through rapid urbanization and the birds have also been a target for people looking to capture the bird.
The white capped Pionus shares some features with some of its cousins in the parrot family but it also has some features unique to it. The white capped pionus is a medium-sized parrot with an average length of about 10 inches. The bird also weighs between 230 – 260g.
One of the features that make this bird stand out is its standout coloration. Just as the name white crowned parrot suggests, the top of the bird’s head is noticeably white and there is also little white under the chin. Mature adult white capped pionus are easily distinguishable by their dark blue and green color, which covers their throat, belly, back, and head.
The breast feathers are also noticeable at first glance with their unique dim blue color which gets lighter as you approach the lower body. The wings and backs also have observable green tones with overtones that are often violet-blue or bronze. If you have this lovely bird as a pet, one thing you can be sure of is its glamorous beauty.
The male and female white capped pionus are quite similar when examining their physical features. You may even find it a bit of a challenge differentiating these two sexes. One important difference is the duller shoulder patch and the blue plumage that fades into scaling on the lower breast.
Behavior and Personality
The white capped pionus has a lot of desirable personality traits for a pet. This is one of the reasons why the bird is widely accepted as a house pet. At tender ages, these parrots can be gentle and easily trained, and they don’t mind being handled, unlike many other pets. Just make sure you socialize them early enough.
The white capped pionus is an inquisitive and intelligent bird but it is also quieter than some other parrot pets. So, if you want a pet that would beautify your home without disturbing your neighbors, then the white capped pionus is an excellent choice for you.
These pets can bond very closely with a member of the family and become overprotective of the person and may often show some aggression. The shy nature of these birds contributes to this behavior, as it makes them easily attached to someone and detached from others. One behavior that is common to many parrots is the fact that the way your parrot is raised is the primary determinant of the social nature of your pet in adulthood. This is why it is advised that if you are not ready to take on a white capped pionus as a pet, then you may have to consider animals that require less attention.
One thing you may notice with your white capped pionus is an occasional wheezing sound. You don’t have to panic though as they make this sound when they are excited or frightened.
Do White capped pionus make good pets?
Getting an answer to this question may be the reason why you are reading this article, so let’s give you a summary of the answer. The number of white capped pionus being used as pets today increases daily and quite understandably too. They are quiet birds but fun and interesting to be around. They are pleasant to look at and they also stay in the family for a long time, so everyone will easily get used to having them around.
Although your pet may require a bit of your attention and a decent level of care, you surely will not regret gracing your home with these wonderful birds. Also, like most of their cousins, these birds are quite active and intelligent, so you will hardly have a dull moment with them.
Care and Feeding
Now, you need to pay attention here, as the way you care for and feed your white capped Pionus determines the behavior and health of your pet. This is particularly important when your bird is still in its growing phase.
The first thing you need to consider when planning to get a white capped Pionus as your house pet is the cage that will house the bird. When considering the cage size, you need to understand that white capped pionus require a considerable amount of space. These birds are quite active and they love to move around, so the level of restriction should be limited.
Ideally, you should provide enough space for your bird to move from perch to perch, especially if your pet is going to be staying predominantly in its cage. You should be looking at a cage of size not less than 4 by 4 by 2 feet with a bar spacing of about three-quarters of an inch. Also, you don’t have to focus on durable cage construction as they are not strong chewers.
When it comes to feeding, when unsure you can go for commercial seed mixes from reputable pet stores. You can also feed them with safe veggies and fruits or all-natural bird feeds. One of the favorite food for these birds is corn. In the wild, they feed primarily on corn as well as seeds, berries, and so on.
Another care area to keep in mind is exercise. Pionus parrots are generally active birds and will require about 3 to 4 hours of daily exercise. This ties to the point of making their cages big enough for them to move around in.
Like most pet parrots, the white capped Pionus parrot can also be given behavioral training. Once these pets are trained, they can be quite obedient and remain steady in the training.
The white capped Pionus can mimic human speech, although they are not known as the best talkers. You can teach your birds a few simple words like your name or even its name. It is also not surprising to see them make whispers and sounds to those they trust.
As stated earlier, White capped pionus are quiet birds, so they make for awesome household pets, especially if you have neighbors around. One thing you need to note is that apart from mimicking sounds in the home, these birds can also mimick the loudness of the home. This means that the louder the household is, the louder your bird gets too.
Let’s talk about how long you can expect to have these birds in your home. If you are looking for a pet that will grow with the family and remain the home long after your kids have left, then the white capped pionus is a great option for you. These birds can live as long as 30 years. Interestingly, they are not parrots with the longest lifespan, as parrots generally live long lives.
In the wild, the white capped pionus have a limited breeding season. They usually have a spring breeding season from around February/March to around June/July. These birds are quite difficult to breed in captivity and you will have better luck letting the chicks be parented for their first few weeks rather than hand-rear them.
When breeding season starts, there are some noticeable features on these pets. Their feet and eye rings become bright orange and they also become noisier. These parrots lay about 3 to 6 eggs which take between 24 to 26 days to hatch. Once hatched, the chicks fledge between the ages of 8 to 12 weeks. When it is time to wean the chicks, corn cob serves as a functional weaning food.
Health and Common conditions
White capped Pionus parrots are hardy birds and can live long healthy lives if given proper care. To avoid any serious illnesses, ensure that your pet exercises often and feeds on a healthy diet. You should also focus on regular grooming as this keeps them clean and free from potential disease-causing organisms.
The parrots are most susceptible to aspergillosis and fungal infections. Visceral gout should also be on your watchlist when it comes to the white capped pionus. A bird that doesn’t get the best diet could also become deficient in vitamin A.
If you notice your bird showing unnatural symptoms that could indicate some sort of illness, then you need to reach out to an avian veterinary doctor as soon as possible.
After considering everything written in this article and you have decided that the white capped pionus is the perfect pet for your home, the next thing is to determine the cost of the bird.
You can get a white capped pionus from avian specialty stores and bird breeders for between $400 to $900. If you decide to get the bird from a breeder, then you need to get answers to some pertinent questions. Before you even begin discussions, you need to confirm that the breeder is a reputable one. Then, you need to ask how long they have been breeding the bird.
Other than the blue headed pionus, no other Pionus parrot can boast the popularity of the white capped Pionus parrot. This could be attributed to the fact that the bird makes for a great pet. The quiet but fun nature of the bird means you don’t have to worry about having a dull pet or a noisy one.
These birds are easygoing and may require a fair bit of time and resources. Apart from purchasing the bird in stores and from bird breeders, you can also get them from avian rescue organizations, although this may require a bit of luck.