Red-billed Pionus Parrots

Information on the Pionus, Pet Qualities and CarePhoto GalleryCommon Diseases and DisordersPionus Parrot Incubation Data

Coral-billed or Red-billed Pionus

The Red-billed Pionus Parrot aka Sordid Parrot (Pionus sordidus sordidus) is endemic to Northern South America, specifically Venezuela in Lara and Falcón Provinces.


Known Sub-species:


Red-billed ParrotsDescription:

The Red-billed Parrot averages 11 inches (28 cm) in length. The plumage is generally olive-green. The head is also olive-green except the feathers to the crown and back of the head are broadly edged with dark-blue. The cheeks are olive with blue tips. There is a blue band across the throat and upper breast. The breast and abdomen are dull olive, each feather with duller edging tinged bluish-pink. The under tail-coverts are red. The back is dull olive-green, each feather with olive-brown markings. The middle tail-feathers are green and the outers are blue with red at the base. They have red bills with a paler base. Their eye rings are grey and their irises dark brown. They have grey feet.

Young birds have a pale green head, and yellowish-green under tail-coverts with a few red feathers.

Pionus Parrots as Pets


Pionus Parrots: Diet / Nutrition





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.

For cage construction, breeders suggested the following dimensions: 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 work best. A size that works well is 10″ wide x 10″ deep x 18-24″ high. Place the nest box high up in a dark, secluded area of the aviary.

The hen typically lays 3 eggs, which she incubates for 26 days. The chicks 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: Scientific: Pionus sordidus sordidus … English: Red-billed Parrot, Sordid-, Coral-billed Parrot … Dutch: Roodsnavelpapegaai, Olijfbruine Papegaai … German: Dunenkopfpapagei … French: Perroquet sordide … CITES II – Endangered Species



Columbian Sordid Parrot:

Description: They average 11 inches (28 cm) in length. This parrot looks similar to the nominate form described and featured above, but is generally darker green; back feathers without olive-brown markings; breast and abdomen virtually uniformly green, without bluish-pink edging.

Distribution: Santa Marta Mountains in northern Columbia.

Species: Scientific: Pionus sordidus saturatus … English: Columbian Sordid Parrot … Dutch: Sierra Nevada Roodsnavelpapegaai … German: Santa-Marta Korallenschnabelpapagei … French: Perroquet sordide Magadalena … CITES II – Endangered Species


Coral-billed Pionus aka Coral-billed Parrot aka Red-billed Pionus:

Description: Looks similar to the nominate form described and featured above, but general plumage without pale edging; head feathers edged with blue; back feathers with grey tinge and dirty blue tips; band to breast violet-blue; upper wing-coverts with dark edging; bigger. … Length: 30 cm (12 ins), wing length 187 – 206 mm (7.5 – 8 ins)

Distribution: Eastern Andes in Colombia, eastern Ecuador, Peru, northern Bolivia

Species: Scientific: Pionus sordidus corallinus … English: Coral-billed Parrot, Red-billed Parrot … Dutch: Koraalsnavelpapegaai … German: Korallenschnabelpapagei … French: Perroquet à bec rouge … CITES II – Endangered Species


Ecuadorian Sordid Parrots:

Description: Head dull slate-blue; lores (the regions between the eyes and bill on the side of a bird’s head) are red; ear-coverts black, edged around with whitish feathers; chin feathers edged with dull pink; back and wings dark brown, each feather with pale edging; breast and abdomen brown with dull pink or bluish edging; under wing-coverts violet-blue; tail dark blue, outer feathers with red base; bill blackish, horn-colured on sides; skin to periophthalmic ring grey; iris brown; feet grey. Immatures with greenish-blue head; iris dark. … Length: 10 in (26 cm)

Distribution: Mountains of western Ecuador

Species: Scientific: Pionus sordidus mindoensis … English: Ecuadorian Sordid Parrot … Dutch: Ecuadoriaanse Roodsnavelpapegaai … German: Ekuador Korallenschnabelpapagei … French: Perroquet sordide Chapman … CITES II – Endangered Species


Paler Red-billed Parrot:

Description: Looks similar to the nominate form described and featured above, but with much paler plumage; breast without bluish-pink tinge; abdomen olive-yellow, all feathers with pale yellowish edging; smaller … Length: 10 in (26 cm).

Distribution: Mountains of north-eastern Venezuela Paler Red-billed Parrot

Species: Scientific: Pionus sordidus antelius … English: Paler Red-billed Parrot … Dutch: Bleke Roodsnavelpapegaai … German: Blasser Dunenkopfpapagei … French: Perroquet sordide Anzoategui … CITES II – Endangered Species


Perijá Red-billed Parrot:

Description: Looks similar to the nominate form described and featured above, but generally darker green; back feathers without olive-brown markings; breast and abdomen almost totally green without bluish-pink edging; lesser wing-coverts and upper tail-coverts less yellowish-green; abdomen and flanks olive-green. … Length: 11 in (28 cm)

Distribution: Sierra de Perijá, mountain chain forming border between northwest Venezuela and northern Columbia.

Species: Scientific: Pionus sordidus ponsi … English: Perijá Red-billed Parrot … Dutch: Ponsi Roodsnavelpapegaai … German: Perijá Korallenschnabelpapagei … French: Perroquet sordide Zulia … CITES II – Endangered Species


Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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