Pileated Parrot

Splendour Parrots


The Pileated Parrot or Red-capped Parrot (Pionopsitta pileata) is endemic to north-eastern Argentina, South-eastern Brazil and Paraguay, where it can be found in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest areas.

NOTE: The Australian Red-capped Parrot (Purpureicephalus spurius) is also called the Pileated Parakeet, which leads to an easy confusion with the South American Pionopsitta pileata featured on this page.

These parrots form noisy flocks of short-tailed parrots that are seen flying high overhead in their characteristically erratic manner.

They are difficult to spot when perching, as they are well camouflaged by their green plumage and they tend to be silent when foraging up in the canopy. Although, at various times, loud, babbling chatter can be heard from perched flocks.


Pileated ParrotDescription:

The Pileated Parrots average 8.5 – 8.8 inches (~22 cm) in length and weigh around 3.4 – 4.2 oz (98 – 120 g).

Male: The plumage is mainly green, except for a distinctive red forehead, crown and red patches in the ear region. They have brown/purple ear coverts (feathers covering the ears) and purple/blue outer lesser underwing coverts. The inner lesser underwing coverts are blue/green. Their green tail is tipped with blue. The bill is green/grey, turning horn-colored towards the tip. They have bare grey eye rings. The eyes are dark brown.

Females: Hens lack the red patches of the male. Her crown and lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird’s head) to area around eyes are green. The green forehead is tinted with blue. The brown to her ear-coverts are fainter.

Juveniles: Young males may have the red colors confined to a thin frontal band with orange/yellow patch behind it. Males may have a reddish tinge to forehead. Young females look like adult hens. The bill is pale horn-colored with a black base.


Calls / Voicing:

Calls made in flight are rapid and repetitious high-pitched shrieks. Three-syllable series of notes can also be heard at times.



The Splendour Parrots are very quiet in an aviary, with an endearingly friendly and gentle personality. They are highly social and should be kept with a mate or in a group environment. In the wild, Superb Parrots are almost always found in flocks. They acclimatize fairly easily to a new environment and are very hardy … Talking Abilities (compared to other species).



Superb Parrots eat grain, seeds, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables. In the wild, their diet consists mainly of eucalypt flowers, fruits, nectar and pollen.


Breeding Data:

    • Average Clutch: 3 – 4 eggs
    • Incubation period: 24 – 25 days



Genus: Scientific: Pionopsitta … English: Splendour Parrots … Dutch: Prachtpapegaaien … German Zierpapageien … French: Caica … Species: Scientific: Pionopsitta pileata … English: Pileated Parrot, Red-capped Parrot … Dutch: Roodkappapegaai … German: Scharlachkopfpapagei … French: Perroquet mitr√© … CITES I – Protected Species

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson



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