The Dusky Pionus



  • Common Name:  Pionus - Dusky
  • Other Common Names:  Dusky Parrot
  • Scientific Name:  Pionus fuscus 
  • Group:  
  • Origin or Range:  South America
  • Relative Size:  Average 
  • Average Lifespan:  25 years
  • Compatibility:  Average 
  • Category:  Parrots

The Dusky Pionus is the rarest of the five Pionus species commonly kept in captivity, though they are increasingly popular.

The Dusky Pionus may well be the noisiest of all the different Pionus species, though individuals may vary greatly. In the wild they are often seen in small groups or pairs. Their diet in the wild has not yet been documented, but in captivity they do well with a varied diet. Fruits and vegetables are a must as well as flower buds, and a healthy varied seed mix and commercial pellets. They are not heavy chewers, but should be provided toys, so they do not to become bored. Initially they may be shy, but with regular handling they will become quite tame. After taming they are known to be intelligent and quite curious. Males may be more aggressive than females and this should be considered before purchase.

The Dusky Pionus gets its name from the fact that their plumage contains all the colors of sunset, which is seen at dusk. Some erroneously believe that the name "Dusky" stems from their feathers being rather dull in color, but in truth their feathers are very reflective, and are quite lovely. They have brown chests with a muted blue or pink etching along the trim of each feather. Their heads are slate blue with red lores. They have dark blue tails with a red base, typical of birds in the genus Pionus. They have black and horn colored bills with brown eyes and grey feet. Immature birds can be distinguished from adults by their darker eyes and greenish blue heads. They are medium sized parrots measuring 10 inches (26 centimeters) at maturity. They are the smallest of all the parrots in the Pionus genus. Some people say that the coloration of the Dusky Pionus resembles that of the Peregrine. The Dusky Pionus is native to South America and is fairly common in Venezuela and Brazil. They are seen in a variety of habitats including coastal woodlands, savanna woodlands, and forested areas.

The Dusky Pionus may not do well in an aviary with other birds and may be aggressive. They do not do well in cold temperatures, and if they are to be housed outdoors, temperatures should not fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

The Dusky Pionus enjoys showers and should be misted often.

They breed well in captivity, although because so few wild caught individuals were brought into breeding programs, supply is still not meeting demand. In captivity the breeding season usually begins in April. The female will lay a clutch of 3 to 4 eggs, which take 26 days to incubate. Babies will fledge by approximately 70 days and are fully independent in 3 months. Some pairs will have two clutches a year.

In the wild the Dusky Pionus breeds between February and May. They tend to nest in dead tress.


STARescue, Inc.

Copyright 2004 [Southeast Texas Avian Rescue, Inc.]. All rights reserved. Revised: 12/10/11