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Dusky Pionus, Also Known As The Dusky Parrot

As of March 18, 2003, we do NOT have any babies available for purchase, as we got a late start on the breeding season this year. We are looking for a Dusky hen for either trade or breeder loan for our lonely widdowed male. Please contact us for availability.

Pionus fuscus

Description: head dull slate-blue; lores area 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.
Parrots of this South American genus are slightly smaller and have darker plumage than the Amazon parrots. They are medium size with short squarish tails. They have a distinctive notch in the upper mandible and a prominent naked cere and eye ring. All have red under tail-coverts which stand out against their dark coloring.
There are eight species in this genus, of which five are readily available as domestic raised pets in the US. These five are the Blue headed pionus, Bronze wing pionus, Dusky pionus, White cap pionus and Maximillian pionus. The remaining three are the Plum crowned, White head and Coral billed (or sordid) pionus.
Dusky Description
From a distance, especially in artificial or bad light, they look rather drab, with the general plumage a brownish or muddy purple color. However, once you get a good look at these birds, you might consider them the most attractive of the pionus species. Many people are captivated be the fact that they seem to resemble miniature hawks, or maybe a peregrine falcon. There are a multitude of complex shadings of colors all over their bodies. The entire front is pink and their wings when spread out show the most marvelous shades of blue. Their beaks are mostly black with some flesh tone near the base. Their feet are blackish gray and their eye ring is a soft charcoal gray. Unfortunately it is very hard to find a picture that does them justice. Their marvelous colors do not photograph well.
Avg. Life Span
The average life span for a pionus is 25 years. However, there are many that live longer, some as old as 40. Remember, the main reason that birds die young is because of either accidents or bad nutrition! Don't let your pet become a statistic! Read as much as you can to make your home bird friendly and bird safe, clip those wings, and follow good nutritional practices.
Duskies are one of the smallest pionus species. They tie with the white-cap at a petite 9and 1/2 Inches. Most of that size is body since they have short tails.
There is no obvious sexual dimorphism in the adult birds.
Northern portions of South America.
Distribution: Sierra de PerijŠ , along Venezuelan-Colombian border; southern Venezuela north of Orinoco, Guyana, Surinam, French Guiana and northern Brazil.
Prefered Habitat: forest; coastal areas with woodland, savanna woodland to 600 m (1,800 ft), Sierra de PerijŠ to 1200 m (3,600 ft); occasionally occurs in cultivated areas.
They seem to be fairly common and often only occurs in localities.
They generaly occur in pairs or small groups outside breeding season; often noisy, but can be very quiet, even during flight; seasonally determined migrations.
They are very good pets as they are generally good natured and less highly strung and demanding than some other birds. They are surprisingly obedient birds that will learn simple tricks. As with any parrot always use the "up" and "down" commands. As long as your pionus understands the rules of the house and is raised in a very caring sensitive way, with nurturing dominance, he will be a wonderful sweet pet. Remember, for your pionus to be wonderfully obedient he needs rules to follow. Practice those "up" and "down" commands with him and make sure he understands what acceptable behavior is. There are many good parrot training/behavior books out there. Make sure you take the time to read them. I recomend "A guide to a well behaved parrot" by Mattie Sue Athan.
Pionus parrots have a reputation for being a bit staid and sedate. They are known to suffer from getting fat as they tend to just eat and sit on the perch if not entertained. Because of this make sure that you provide them with a large cage and lots of toys.
Pionus are not know for their talking ability. If that is what you are looking for in a parrot, then keep looking. With pionus, talking is highly variable between individuals. On average, they learn to say a few words (as in under 10), but don't say them with much clarity. Because of the high variability however, there are some individuals who speak quite clearly and learn 20 words. Mine can speak, but it is usualy not very clear unless they really want my attention! They are much beter at begging with body language when it comes to treats.
Very Quiet. Pionus parrots in general are reported to be quiet when kept as pets. Baby birds make a distinctive begging sound which sounds like a very small sheep bleating. However, even though pionus are rated as quiet birds, they can learn to screech, and can be louder than some cockatiels. On occasion you can find a pionus that screams just as loudly as a sun conure. One of my Dusky Pi's can almost out scream a cockatoo when he is giving his alarm call, but we take it as a compliment that he cares. Most pionus screaming is because of their environment and the way they are raised. A happy pionus does not have to be a screaming pionus. Then again, a pionus that screams is not necessarily unhappy.
$400-$1,000. This large range is due to regional variation and whether you buy from a breeder or pet shop. Please remember that a cheaper bird is not a better bird. Do the homework, and ask for references from the breeder, and ask to visit the babies several times before you commit to buying.
The breeding season is February to May, pairs nest in the hollows of tall, dead trees and clutch 3 to 4 eggs.
A wooden nest box is sufficient for breeding in captivity.