Family Parrots (Psittacidae)

Least Concern

Blue-headed Parrot (Pionus menstruus)


French: Pione à tête bleue German: Schwarzohrpapagei Spanish: Loro cabeciazul

Psittacus menstruus


, 1766,



DNA data indicate that this species forms a group with P. tumultuosus, P. senilis and P. chalcopterus (presumably including also forms previously treated within those taxa)#R. Hitherto considered conspecific with P. reichenowi (which see). Named form P. cobaltinus, once regarded as valid species, now known to be synonymous with present species#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. m. rubrigularis Cabanis, 1881 – E Costa Rica to N & W Colombia, NW Venezuela and W Ecuador; recorded in Nicaragua#R.
  • P. m. menstruus (Linnaeus, 1766) – E Colombia, E Ecuador, E Peru and C Bolivia E to E & S Venezuela, Trinidad and the Guianas, and through Amazonia to WC & NE Brazil (N Mato Grosso do Sul, Maranhão).
  • Descriptive notes

    24–28 cm; 209–295 g. Blue head and breast with blackish ear-coverts and some slight red flecking on throat; underparts green with some blue edging to feathers;... read more


    Flight call is a repeated, rather high-pitched, ringing and upslurred “crreeenk!”. This is one of... read more


    Deciduous woodland including cerrado, humid and wet forest, mature second growth,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Seeds of Albizia, Anacardium, Caraipa, Dialium, Hevea, Hura, Clusia, ... read more


    Jan–May in Panama; Feb–Apr in Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela; late May/early Jun–Sept in SE Peru; Mar and Oct on... read more


    Movements occur in some regions, associated with new availability of food, e.g. numbers decline in... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. One of the most numerous parrot species in South America, common throughout its range in a variety of lowland wooded habitats. Commonly... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N., Bonan, A., Boesman, P. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Blue-headed Parrot (Pionus menstruus). 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 13 December 2019).