Bronze-Winged Pionus: Bird Species Profile

Temperament, Diet, and Care Tips

A pet bronze-winged parrot (also known as a bronze-winged Pionus).
Jessie Terwilliger/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

The bronze-winged pionus is a short-tailed, stocky medium-sized parrot with unique color patterns. A gentle bird with a sweet disposition, it is an easy-going companion. This tame parrot can be a good choice for first-time bird owners and even makes an excellent family pet. This species is less likely to bite than other kinds of parrots.

Species Overview

Common Names: Bronze-winged pionus, bronze-winged parrot

Scientific Name: Pionus chalcopterus

Adult Size: 11 inches, weighing between 7 to 9 ounces

Life Expectancy: 25 to 30 years with proper care

Origin and History

Like many other types of pionus parrots, the bronze-winged pionus hails from South America, specifically the Andes of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and furthest northwest Venezuela. These birds prefer to spend their time in the woodlands and forested areas as opposed to plains. They like to seek shelter and cover in the foliage.


The bronze-winged pionus is known for having a calm disposition for a parrot. They form solid bonds with their owners and revel in being able to spend time with them.

Pionus need plenty of social interaction. If you are interested in adopting one of these birds, make sure that you can devote a few hours each day to playing and interacting with your pet. If you don't, the bird can get upset and resort to self-mutilating feather-plucking or skin-picking behaviors.

Some bronze-winged pionus tend to become "one-person" birds, showing extreme devotion to one or a couple of people and shunning attention from other people. If you adopt a young bronze-winged pionus, your entire family should interact with the bird regularly to prevent this type of behavior.

This species is also an excellent choice for apartment dwellers, due to their calm personality and easy maintenance. With a little bit of training, some may learn to mimic, although this species is not known to be a big talker or a loud noisemaker.

Speech and Vocalizations

Considered one of the quieter parrots, they have a docile, more quiet disposition. They are not known for raising a ruckus or being demanding. With a little bit of patient training, your pet might learn to mimic some basic sounds. Words, however, are not their forte.

Bronze-Winged Pionus Colors and Markings

Bronze-winged colored birds have mostly dark bluish-purple plumage peppered with white and pink feathers under their chins and on their chests. They have a pink ring of bare skin around their eyes, a yellow beak, and light, flesh-colored legs and feet. The feathers on their shoulders and backs are predominantly a bronze-green color, which gives these birds their name. There is a red patch of feathers underneath their tails, a characteristic of all pionus parrots.

Caring for the Bronze-Winged Pionus

These parrots are not exceptionally large, but you should still set up your feathered friend with the largest accommodations that you can manage. A medium-sized cage (24 inches by 24 inches by 36 inches) is acceptable, but these energetic birds would appreciate an even larger space to stretch their wings and move around.

Pionus enjoy frequent baths and water play. Provide toys to keep them entertained; this species is particularly fond of swings.

Common Health Problems

The bronze-winged pionus is a relatively healthy bird. It seems to be more susceptible than other species to acquiring aspergillosis, a fungal infection that affects the respiratory system. The main symptom of this infection is heavy, labored breathing.

Diet and Nutrition

In the wild, bronze-winged pionus thrive on seeds, insects, and fruits. Like all pet birds, the bronze-winged pionus does best on a diet that consists of high-quality seed and pellet mix, supplemented with a variety of fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, berries, and nuts. Eighty percent of your bird's diet should consist of seeds, fruits, and vegetables. The other 20 percent should be pellet food and grains. Offer this bird fresh food upon waking in the morning and at dusk or an hour before its regular bedtime.

Thoroughly wash all fresh fruits and vegetables. Cut them into small bird bite-size pieces. You can try to offer at least a tablespoon of each of a bird's basic food groups—seeds, fruits, vegetables, grains, and pellets.

If you have a picky eater that does not want to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, eat them in front of your parrot until it piques their interest.


Bronze-winged pionus are incredibly active birds. They need 3 to 4 hours outside of the cage each day to exercise and work their muscles.

An assortment of bird-safe toys keeps the bird occupied during the day while caged. Provide another set of toys during the out-of-cage time. These enriching items will keep your bird mentally as well as physically stimulated.

Pionus parrots enjoy bathing and even going into the shower with you. Regular bathing helps keep their plumage in good condition.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Bronze-Winged Pionus

To discover more about what it's like to live with a bronze-winged pionus, visit a local breeder or aviculture society. Inquire about an observation at their facility to spend time with the prospective pet bird. If you plan to buy one from a breeder, a well-handled young bird can cost about $900.

Look for a bird that is bright, alert, and active. Avoid a bird that is sitting quietly with puffed feathers; it might be ill. The bird's feathers should be smooth and shiny and lay down flat on the body. The feathers around the vent/cloaca (opening where bird expels feces and urine) should be clean, dry, and free of fecal matter. The scales on the feet should be smooth. Make sure Its nails are in good condition, and Its beak is smooth and well-shaped. Its nostrils should be clear and clean.

Online rescues, adoption organizations, and breeders where you can find cockatiels include:

More Pet Bird Species and Further Research

If you’re interested in a similar species, check out:

If you want a bird with a talent for mimicry, take a look at some small talking birds that might be a good fit.