Family Parrots (Psittacidae)

Least Concern

Black-headed Parrot (Pionites melanocephalus)


French: Maïpouri à tête noire German: Grünzügelpapagei Spanish: Lorito chirlecrés
Other common names: Black-crowned Parrot, Black-capped Parrot

Psittacus melanocephalus


, 1758,

Mexico; error = Caracas, Venezuela


May form a parapatric species-group with P. leucogaster (and forms previously placed with it). Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. m. melanocephalus (Linnaeus, 1758) – SE Colombia (E Vichada, NE Guainía) to NE Venezuela, the Guianas and Brazil N of Amazon.
  • P. m. pallidus (Berlepsch, 1889) – E of Andes from S Colombia (W Meta and Vaupés) to E Ecuador and NE Peru (W of R Ucayali, S to Pasco).
  • Descriptive notes

    23 cm; 130–170 g. Forehead to nape black with rufous-orange band across hindneck; lores to below eye green; face, sides of neck and upper breast yellow; back and wings... read more


    Flight call is a high-pitched and penetrating squealing “skeeea .. skeeea”. When perched, utters a... read more


    Lowland humid tropical terra firme forest and seasonally flooded várzea... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds of Caraipa densiflora, Hevea benthamiana, Guarea grandiflora, Pouroma guianensis and ... read more


    Apr–May in Venezuela and Colombia; Oct–Nov in Surinam; Dec–Feb in French Guiana. Nest is hole in tree. Eggs probably 2. read more


    Nomadic in French Guiana in response to food availability.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Generally common throughout range; vast areas of habitat remain. Little persecuted for international pet trade, but highly prized in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N. & Boesman, P. (2020). Black-headed Parrot (Pionites melanocephalus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 28 February 2020).