The parrots of the genus Pionus are medium-sized and somewhat similar to the Amazon parrot because of their stocky body and strong, equipped with a short tail spatula. But they all typically have bright red under-tail (underside of the tail) feathers. This is the reason that led ornithologists to catalog them under the genus Pionus which includes eight species of medium size (24 to 31 cm) and not exhibiting sexual dimorphism. We can differentiate two groups: green species and dark species.
List of species
According to the reference classification (version 2.2, 2009) of the International Ornithological Congress ( phylogenic order ):
- Pionus menstruus – Blue-headed pionus
- Pionus sordidus – Red-billed pionus
- Pionus maximiliani – Pione of Maximilian
- Pionus tumultuosus – Spangled pionus
- Pionus seniloides – Frosted piones
- Pionus senilis – White-crowned pionus
- Pionus chalcopterus – Black pionus
- Pionus fuscus – Violet pionus
Description and biology
The seven species of Pionus are all native to Central and South America. They frequent wooded areas and forests. They are usually quite dark in color and have large eyes surrounded by an eye-ring of bare or colored skin.
The specific behavior of these birds is the habit of making a hissing and panting noise when excited or frightened. It may sound confusing, but it is quite normal.
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Each couple will be housed in an aviary two to three meters long. The pions are robust, they can stay all year round in an outdoor aviary equipped with a good dry shelter, but not heated if the temperature allows it. The current trend is to house them in individual cages. In this case, the eggs are removed to be placed in an incubator or the young are taken from the nest to be reared by hand, commonly known as “EAM”. The term “EPP” denotes birds raised by their parents without human intervention. A large number of captive-born piones are currently hand-reared, resulting in familiar birds that are very close to humans.
These birds are less destructive and much less noisy than the Amazons, for example. Fresh branches are however necessary for their good balance and to occupy them.
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