Maximillian Pionus or Scaly Headed Pionus

Latin Name

Pionus maximiliani


  1. Pionus Description - 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.
  2. Maximillian Description - General plumage is a dark olive green which appears rather dull but is iridescent in bright sunlight. Under tail coverts are red, bill is yellow with dark grey patch at base of upper mandible, iris dark brown and legs grey. The forehead is nearly black and most of the head feathers are margined with dark grey, giving a scaly appearance. The chin and throat band are blue to dark blue in the nominate species. In the subspecies P. M. Siy, the chin and throat are reported to be reddish-purple, and it has a chin patch which is pale red to pink and a large purple area covering the throat and chest.


29cm, wing 17-21 cm, weight 200-300g. This is the largest bird of the Pionus genus.


There is no sexual dimorphism in the adult birds. Very young birds can sometimes be distinguished as the males get a ring of colored feathers around the neck very early which then disappears.


Northern Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Southern and Central Brazil, especially in the Mato grosso region.


They are very good pets as they are generally good natured and less highly strung and demanding than some other birds.

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.


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.


Prices usually $400 - $600.