Dusky Pionus Parrots (Pionus fuscus) are endemic to Southern Venezuela, Guianas, extreme north-eastern Colombia and northern Brazil / Lower Amazon..
Longevity: “You and Your Pet Bird” by David Alderton states that Pionus live an average of 25 years. Pionus can live to be over 40 and often they live only 3 or 10 years due to accidents and poor nutrition.
They average 10 – 11 inches (26 – 27.5 cm) in length.
The head is dull slate-blue; the lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird’s head) area is red. They have black ear-coverts, edged around with whitish feathers. The chin feathers are edged with dull pink. The back and wings are dark brown. Each feather has pale edging. The breast and abdomen are brown with dull pink or bluish edging. The under wing-coverts are violet-blue. Their tail is dark blue; the outer feathers have a red base.
The bill is blackish and horn-colored on the sides. They have a grey eye-ring. Their irises are brown and the feet grey.
Young birds have a greenish-blue head and dark irises.
Some rare mutations have been developed in captivity, including the below featured Lutino Dusky Pionus. The photos of this mutation on this page are courtesy of Lien Luu – a breeder in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Website: http://www.birdsny.com/
Personality / Care:
Duskies are gentle in nature and generally make loving, devoted companions. They are appreciated for their sweet and fun disposition, easy-going personality and intelligence. 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 tamed. They are less apt to bite than other parrot species. With a little bit of training, some may learn to mimic (although not all learn to talk!). They enjoy frequent baths as this helps to keep their plumage in good condition.
A medium-sized parrot cage is acceptable for Duskies – but larger is always better, as they are energetic parrots. Toys, to keep them entertained, are always a must. They seem to be particularly fond of swings.
The Pionus is moderately difficult to breed in captivity and, during the breeding season, they can get noisy. If you have near-by neighbors who are sensitive to noise this should be a consideration when deciding to breed this species.
The Pionus is of breeding age when they are about 3 to 5 years old. In North America, the breeding season stretches from February or March to June or July.
One problem that breeders face is that the male pionus in breeding condition can get aggressive towards their mates. One option to protect the female is to clip the male’s wings prior to the breeding season to give the female an advantage when trying to escape the aggressive male.
As far as cage size is concerned, the following size would work well: 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall by 6 to 8 feet long. Suspended cages facilitate sanitation as droppings and discarded food fall through the wire cage floor. Grandfather-style nest boxes generally work best for these birds. An appropriate nest box size would be 10″ wide x 10″ deep x 18-24″ high. It is best to situate the nest box high up in a dark, secluded area of the aviary.
The female generally lays 3 to 5 eggs, which she incubates for 24 to 26 days. The young usually fledge when they are 8 to 12 weeks old. Pionus chicks are challenging to handraise and it is best to allow the parents to take care of the chicks for at least the first week. Various green foods and mealworms are appreciated by the parents for feeding the chicks. Corn cob is a favorite weaning food.
If you decide to pull the chicks at this time, Exact or Pretty Bird Handfeeding formulas are suitable for handfeeding the young.
Species Names and Status:
Species: Scientific: Pionus fuscus … English: Dusky Parrot, Violet Parrot, Violaceous Parrot … Dutch: Viooltjespapegaai, Schemerpapegaai … German: Veilchenpapagei … French: Perroquet violet
CITES II – Endangered Species (in the wild)