The Blue-headed Parrot (Pionus
menstruus) - also known as the Blue-head Amazon or
Red-vented Parrot, is endemic to tropical Central and
South America, from Costa Rica and Trinidad south to
Bolivia and South to Central Brazil.
They inhabit forests and terrain with trees up to a
height of 600m or 2000ft, but are occasionally seen up
as high as 1500m or 5000ft - however, only in favored
feeding places in open country and cultivated areas.
During breeding season they fly in large flocks and
can be seen in the mornings flying from the regular
breeding sites to their feeding areas. At dawn or at
dusk, large numbers of them are seen roosting
communally in palm and other trees.
The Blue-headed Parrot is a medium-large parrot,
averaging 11 inches (28 cm) in length and its weight
range is between 200 to 260 grams.
The plumage of the adult Blue Headed Pionus is
generally green. The head, neck and upper breast are
a deep blue. There is a red base on the
feathers on their necks that show through.
They have black patches on their ear coverts
(feathers covering the ears) and the undertail is
red. There is some yellow on the wing coverts. Their
bill is blackish with red at the sides. The
skin around their eyes (periophthalmic ring) is grey
and their irides (= plural of iris) are a dark
brown. Their feet and legs are grey.
Both males and females look alike. DNA
or surgical sexing is recommended for those desiring
to determine the gender.
Immatures have less blue on the head. Younger
birds have a reddish frontal
band [a few red feathers right above the cere
(nose)]. The number of red feathers varies greatly
with individuals, and these red feathers usually
fall out by the time the pionus is 3 months old and
are completely gone by the time the pionus reaches 1
year of age. The blue color is close to complete at
one year of age. However, the blue can increase in
intensity until about the second year of age. When
the pionus is 2 to 3 years old, they will have
attained full adult coloring.
They are appreciated for their sweet and fun
disposition, easy-going personality and intelligence.
They are less apt to bite than other parrots species.
These qualities make this parrot a good choice for
first-time parrot owners and a wonderful family pet.
It is also an excellent choice for apartment
dwellers, due to their calm personality and easy
maintenance. Owners describe them as inquisitive and
sociable parrots that are easily trained.