Blue-headed Parrot (Pionus menstruus)

Blue-headed Parrot

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Pionus menstruus | [authority] Linnaeus, 1766 | [UK] Blue-headed Parrot | [FR] Pionus a tete bleu | [DE] Schwarzohr-Papagei | [ES] Loro Cabeciazul | [NL] Zwartoormargrietje


Monotypic species


The genus Pionus encompasses 8 different species. All the Pionus are the same shape and close to the same size but the colors are very different. In fact, those species without green as the main body color (the Duskies, Bronze-wings, and White-caps) have highly variable coloring between individuals. The one similarity in coloring for all of the Pionus species is the red underneath their tails (under tail-coverts). Because of this, the Pionus parrots are often referred to as the Red-vented parrots in older books. As to shape, all Pionus are a bit stocky with a short square tail. They have the same general body shape as some Amazons. All Pionus have small naked eye rings and a prominent naked cere (nose). Their upper mandible (the top part of the beak) has a definite notch and the upper mandible extends in a point almost to the bottom of the lower mandible (the lower beak).

Physical charateristics

Generally green; head and upper breast deep blue, red base to feathers of neck, which show through partially; black patch to ear-coverts; under tail-coverts red; bill blackish, reddish on sides; skin to periophthalmic ring grey; iris dark brown; feet grey. Immatures with reddish frontal band, head greenish-blue.

Listen to the sound of Blue-headed Parrot

[audio: Parrot.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 24 cm size max.: 28 cm
incubation min.: 24 days incubation max.: 29 days
fledging min.: 55 days fledging max.: 29 days
broods: 0   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 5  


Latin America : Costa Rica to Southeast Brazil


In dense forest or lightly timbered or cultivated lowland. Often seen in large flocks foraging in cultivated areas and open countryside. During the breeding season, mostly observed in pairs.


Nest is built in hollow limbs or holes in trees. Clutch size is 3 to 5 eggs, which are incubated by female only for 24 to 26 days. The young leave the nest at approximately 8 to 10 weeks of age. (Captivity).

Feeding habits

They feed on ripe fruit and on seads, nuts and flowers.

Video Blue-headed Parrot


copyright: A. Motis


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be increasing, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
These birds are native to southern Costa Rica in Central America, through South America to northern Bolivia and central Brazil, and on Trinidad. They are very common in Suriname, but less so near the coast.
Blue-headed Parrot status Least Concern


Sedentary, though local wandering and some seasonal movements in search of food.

Distribution map

Blue-headed Parrot distribution range map

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