Animal Stories - People Talking About Pionus Parrots


Animal-World info on White-crowned Pionus
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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.

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  • 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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Animal-World info on Maximilian's Pionus
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Betty L Shepherd - 2014-05-18
I got my maximillians pionus ( Webster ) when he was 1 yr. old....My husband had just passed away.  I lived with my Daughter and family.  None of them paid any attention to him,  He is 19 yrs. and I've had him 18 yrs.  His first owner was a man and he hand fed him, then at 6 months old a lady brought him to the pet store where I worked part time.  I fell in love with him the first time I heard him say Hi! Sweetheart... that did it for me.  My husband always called me Sweetheart until he passed away.  Problem:  He doesn't like anyone but me and he doesn't want anyone near me especially a guy.  I tried socializing him but with none of the family trying to be friends with him he doesn't like anybody.  Is it too late to help him like other people?  I have a schnauzer and a cat.  They all get along fine together.

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Animal-World info on White-crowned Pionus
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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.

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  • 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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Animal-World info on Blue-headed Pionus
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makinsey - 2009-01-10
I got my blue headed pionus about 2 years ago. He means the world to me and he is very quiet and very sweet. I got him because I rememberd the info I got off this wed site. So thank you Dr. Jungle, and I hope every one loves there pionus as much as I love mine.

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Animal-World info on White-crowned Pionus
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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!

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  • 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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Scott Watkins - 2011-11-29
I purchased a young ( 11 month old ) white cap, and he lived with me and my family for 39 days. He was curious, funny, and getting very affectionate with all of us. Pedro, in the space of 24 hours, went from playing, talking, a perfectly happy and healthy parrot to drooping on his perch and holding on to the bars to support himself. I wrapped him in a warmed towel and headed for an avian vet 100 miles away. 40 miles there he had a heart attack/fit and passed away. I don't know what could have caused it, especially the speed at which it happened. I had an ornamental ivy vine I think he may have gotten at; I'm not certain if he did nor if it is poisonous to them. I do know it only took that long for him to become part of my family, and we miss him greatly.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-11-30
    I am sorry. It does sound like he ate something he wasn't supposed to. He also could have had a congenital defect. They are great companions.
  • Sheliy Bennett - 2012-03-23
    Your post broke my heart. I am so sorry about your Pedro. It doesn;t take them long to become a member of the family, that is for sure. I purchased a 9 month old male White Cap, Oscar, a few months ago and he is mamas boy! I hope you welcome another white cap into your life and heart soon. The new baby will not replace Pedro, but will fill the gap and mend the hurt. Best of luck and again I am so sorry for your loss.
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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.

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Animal-World info on Bronze-winged Pionus
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Dawn - 2012-03-11
After losing my African Grey to heart failure (he was 55 years old) I was heartbroken. My friend introduced me to a soon-to-be weaned Bronze-Winged pionus baby and I knew I had found a new friend. She is now a year old. Our family is enjoying her quiet voice, sweet disposition and antics. Pionus seem to be very playful and she interacts well with our dog and cats (supervised of course) I take her to work with me once a week and she interacts happily with students. She has never bitten. Overall, I would reccommend a Pionus as a pet. As with any bird, make sure you can have time to interact with them, don't leave them stuck in a cage all day.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-03-11
    Pionus make excellent family companions. Happy for you.
  • Rene - 2012-04-21
    Hello Dawn
    I just read your comment on about your Bronze wing. I've been in search for a Bronze wing. Can you refer me to a breeder. Do you know where I can get one.

    Thank you
    Rene
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Kelly - 2006-05-31
Hey it's my Dusty-pi! I was browsing pionus pictures and saw this one, thought it looked an awful lot like my girl. When I opened the page, it was! I forgot I did this. :-)

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