White Capped Pionus Parrots as Pets

White-crowned Parrot or Plum-crowned Pionus (Pionus senilis) at Macaw Mountain Bird Park and Nature Reserve, Copan, Honduras.

Snowmanradio / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

Common Names

White Capped Pionus, White Cap Pionus, White Crowned Pionus, White-Crowned Parrot.

Scientific Name

Pionus seniors.


The White Capped Pionus is native to the forests and woodlands of Central America and Mexico, where they nest in mainly in hollow trees.


The White Capped Pionus is the smallest of all the Pionus Parrots. At maturity, adults reach lengths of between 9 and 10 inches when measured from head to tail. A healthy weight for an adult bird of the species is between 7 and 8 ounces, with the average falling somewhere in the middle.

Average Lifespan

White Capped Pionus parrots, when properly cared for, can live for up to 30 years in captivity, and some have even been reported to live longer. Of course, this is only meant to be used as a guideline for those who are interested in adopting one of these birds -- how long a particular bird will live to depend on a variety of factors, including its nutrition, general health, and individual genetics. If you are interested in a White Capped Pionus, it's best to plan for your pet to live for a very long time. This way you won't be caught off guard if your pet requires a rather considerable time commitment.


White Capped Pionus are known to be feisty and comical, yet sweet and affectionate little birds. They are extremely intelligent and take well to training when their owners are patient and consistent. Like other Pionus parrots, they have a reputation for being slightly quieter than other hookbills. They do have the ability to talk, but often clam up around those they aren't familiar with. Around their owners, however, they aren't shy at all. In fact, many White Capped Pionus owners have reported that their birds love to hang out on their shoulders or arms, dancing, playing, and waiting for a chance to make a game out of stealing items like pens or buttons. If you choose to adopt a White Capped Pionus, you will have to keep a close eye on him or her -- they are notoriously curious and can get into trouble if they aren't closely supervised.


White Capped Pionus are not a dimorphic species, so it is impossible to tell the males from the females based on their plumage alone. Juvenile White Capped Pionus are dull and dingy looking as compared to the adults, a feature that likely helps to camouflage them and help them hide from predators in the wild. Mature adult White Capped Pionus are mostly green and dark blue, with these colors covering the majority of the heads, throats, chests, bellies, and backs. There are yellow-green patches on their shoulders, white patches on their foreheads (which give them their name,) and as with all Pionus, red feathers on the underside of the tails.


In captivity, White Capped Pionus Parrots should be fed a high-quality seed and pellet mix, along with a variety of fresh foods like bird-safe fruits and vegetables. Keeping your bird occupied with new foods to try will not only boost his or her nutrition, it will offer important mental stimulation for your feathered friend.


All Pionus parrots are active birds and need quite a bit of exercise in order to stay healthy. It is recommended that if you own a White Capped Pionus, you allow your bird a minimum of 3 to 4 hours of out of cage playtime every day. This should occur in a safe, bird-proofed area, and playtime should always be supervised to make sure that your bird does not get into anything that could be toxic or otherwise harmful.

White Capped Pionus Parrots as Pets

White Capped Pionus parrots are beautiful, inquisitive, intelligent birds that can make excellent pets for the right people. However, not everyone is well suited to care for one of these birds, especially considering that they can live for 30 years or more.
If you are interested in bringing a White Capped Pionus home, do as much research as you can on the species before doing so. Contact local bird breeders or an aviculture society in your area and speak to people who have experience raising these birds. They will be able to give you important insight into what it's like to live with a White Capped Pionus on a day to day basis and can help you decide whether or not the White Capped Pionus would be the best choice for your feathered friend.