Bronze-winged Pionus

Save as favorite

Avg. Owner Satisfaction


(6 Reviews)

Is the Bronze-winged Pionus right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Bronze-winged Parrot

Scientific name: Pionus chalcopterus

The basics:
The Bronze-winged Pionus continues to win new fans. Once so little-known that an early 1991 survey of Pionus owners included only one Bronze-wing, this species has stepped to the forefront as more people become aware of its steady personality and remarkable looks. This mid-sized, easy-to-handle parrot loves to hang out with its people, but it isn't finicky or needy. Like most other Pionus, a properly-socialized Bronze-winged can be a good family bird, able to go to people of all ages, because it isn't a beaky or biting bird.

The Bronze-winged is an adaptable, upland species found in northern South America, at elevations from 900 to 2,800 meters. An old name for the Pionus genus is Red-Vented Parrot. They forage high in the trees, creating an illusion from underneath that you have a tree with some red flowers in it, rather than a tree full of tasty parrots. When flying in small flocks, they can be noisy, yet when they suddenly land and fall silent, they seem to fade out of sight – an impressive feat of camouflage. They seem to eat a lot of Ficus species fruits in the wild.

A mid-sized stocky parrot with a sprinkling of bright pink feathers across its chest in addition to the typical bright red vent shared by all Pionus.

Weight: 210 grams (7.4 oz.)

Average size:
28 centimeters (11 in.)

35 - 40 years

Behavior / temperament:
The Bronze-winged Pionus is considered a good pet, especially if it is handled and well-socialized from an early age. These birds tend to be confident and social, willing to go to anyone if you keep them used to meeting strangers, yet not so beaky and quick to bite as many confident parrots. They are not cuddle birds and don't particularly care about constant touching or petting, but they do expect you to devote some time with them. They can play on a nearby playpen for hours, secure in your presence.

Warning: A Bronze-winged Pionus, especially a young one who is not used to you, can start wheezing in a way that looks for all the world like a full-blown asthma attack. When you get your new bird, make sure you get a health check from the vet. If the bird is simply wheezing to express its stress in the new home, the thing to do is to back away and give your Pionus some time to calm down – not to fuss over it with unneeded medicines. It's better for you to get to know the baby Bronze-winged Pionus, by visiting it at its aviary while it's being weaned by the breeder. Give the bird time to get to know you before you take it home.

A single Bronze-winged Pionus needs a powder-coated metal cage of a minimum size of around 36”w x 24”d x 36”h with no more than ¾” bar spacing. They are not particularly chewy birds, but they do need to have some toys that they are welcome to chew to destruction. You should also have a playpen and perhaps some perches outside the cage, to give your pet a place to hang out around the house with you. Have some toy ladders to encourage climbing.

While the Bronze-winged Pionus is not known for being fiercely territorial, even during the breeding season, never let them become cage-bound. Don't let your pet become a chubby perch potato when you can easily encourage the Bronze-winged Pionus to come out and play. Also, even though some individuals do remain friendly and non-territorial when in season, some birds do become hormonal. Know your bird, and train all Pionus to step onto a hand-held perch so you can move your pet to neutral territory for playtime – even during a hormonal surge.

The Bronze-winged Pionus, like the other Pionus, is a sturdy little bird with a tendency to gain weight. Wild birds forage heavily for fruit and green vegetation, including seeding plants and sprouts. There seem to be several diets that will work for this species, as long as you are careful to avoid over-reliance on dry, fatty seed. Some people may opt for a pellet-based diet, while others may opt for a soak and cook diet that includes plenty of well-cooked or well-sprouted legumes. The classic diet developed by John Stoodley included half sprouting beans and seeds, and half fresh fruits and vegetables.

Whichever diet you choose, you will clearly need to learn to make a high quality “chop” salad that includes lots of fresh fruits and greens for your pet. Like other colorful parrots, the Bronze-winged Pionus may have an elevated need for natural sources of vitamin A. Make sure that you include deep orange (carrot, well-cooked yam) or deep red (pomegranate) produce in the daily salad.

While some people do offer seed mix or at least seed sprouts in the daily diet, it's best to make these seeds the low-fat varieties, such as millet and canary seed. Hold back fatty seed like sunflower or safflower to offer as treats, either hidden in foraging toys or else for trick training. If your Pionus likes to indulge in high-fat seed, the bird will definitely need to be encouraged to exercise. Never offer avocado or chocolate.

Written by Elaine Radford

Member photos