Animal Stories - White-crowned Pionus
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Besides having a very affectionate and gentle nature, the White-Crowned Pionus has incredible colors, as Falicia is demonstrating above!
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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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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.
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
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.
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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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!
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 -
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 -
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.
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.
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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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 -
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.....
David Brough -
The average lifespan is 22-25 years but some have been known to live up to 40 years!
I have a white-crowned pionus named Ted. He is 5 years old. Up until 1 week ago he was perfectly healthy (or appeared so). However he now has a virus (respiratory) and has become very ill (almost died). I have always had a problem with his diet being inadequate because he won't eat or try anything but seeds. He is under a vet's care and I am feeding him hand rearing formula but I am looking for tips and recipes to make his diet more varied and to get his weight back up to normal. I love my guy and when he is well he is a delight.
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I know a trick that works well with parakeets. They are more social so if you place the food you are trying to introduce to them on a mirror they are more likely to at least investigate it. It is like they are seeing their reflection as another bird!
Hope this helps you!
I have a funny story. I bought what I thought was a Max. Pionus from a Pet store the pet store even thought it was a Max. read all articles on this site and come to find out it was a White Cap Pionus instead. His name is Maxx. He kills me with his " Whatch Doing " and " I'm a good boy " statements, they always make me laugh. He is a lil nippy, but just enough to let me know he is there. He doesn't break skin anymore. All in all I am so Happy I bought him. I would do it all over again.
I have a White Capped Pionus whose name is Abigail Anne. She is 14 years old and I have had her since she was 5 weeks old. She is very sweet to me although she is not real thrilled about other people. We have been through much together. She went through a period of snapping her feathers and the vet put her on an anti-anxiety med which helped. I think she liked the sound also. She likes to snap the threads on my t shirts when she is on me, so I now give her my old white socks (I weave them into the bars of her cage next to a perch) she enjoys shredding them.
She also enjoys eating a variety of foods, I give her mixed veggies and fruit every day. She also LOVES pasta and looks like she has a growth on her beak when she is digging into a dish of her favorite - spaghetti! She is a joy to have although she does "call" for me if I leave the room she is in.
Parrots are a lot of work, but if you have the time to invest, they are a real joy.
I have a white cap pionus named Snow. Snow is 11 months now and is the best thing. Snow already says a couple of phrases such as "up up" when she wants to be picked up and she always calls for PaPa. They are the best pets for apartments and get along with others pets.
strawberries are a bad idea, they are the fruit with the most pesticides of any fruit.