Family Parrots (Psittacidae)

Least Concern

Scaly-headed Parrot (Pionus maximiliani)


French: Pione de Maximilien German: Maximilianpapagei Spanish: Loro choclero

Psittacus Maximiliani


, 1820,

Viçosa on the Rio Peruhype, south of Caravellas, Bahia, Brazil


DNA data indicate that this species is sister to P. sordidus, with P. fuscus sister to that pair#R. Named form P. bridgesi (from Bolivia, Paraguay and N Argentina) is a synonym of race siy of present species#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. m. maximiliani (Kuhl, 1820) – NE & CE Brazil (Ceará and Piauí to NE Goiás and Bahia).
  • P. m. siy Souancé, 1856 – C & SE Bolivia, Paraguay (except E) and CW Brazil (Mato Grosso) to N Argentina (C Salta, N Santa Fe, NW Corrientes).
  • P. m. lacerus Heine, 1884 – NW Argentina in S Salta, Tucumán and E Catamarca.
  • P. m. melanoblepharus Miranda-Ribeiro, 1920 – SE Brazil (Minas Gerais to N Rio Grande do Sul), E Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones, Corrientes).
  • Descriptive notes

    25–29 cm; 233–293 g. Forehead and mid-crown blackish brown offsetting white half-rings above and below eye, rest of head, nape and upper back dark greenish bronze... read more


    Most common flight call is a repeated bisyllabic “cra-cheh”, sometimes simply “crreeh” or “cheh”.... read more


    Evergreen and semideciduous forest and open scrub woodland, favouring deciduous and gallery... read more

    Food and feeding

    In one forest, 38 plant species from 18 families, with legumes (Fabaceae, notably Erythrina, Mimosaceae, notably Inga and... read more


    Oct in Paraguay; Nov in São Paulo; recently fledged bird in Dec in Minas Gerais. Nest a hole in tree. In captivity: 4–5 eggs;... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. CITES II. Although relatively infrequent in N reaches of range, common from Bahia southwards, reaching high densities in certain areas of São... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N., Bonan, A. & Boesman, P. (2019). Scaly-headed Parrot (Pionus maximiliani). 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).