Dusky Pionus as Pets

Pionus Fuscus
Wiki Commons

Here is a quick rundown of facts about the beautiful Dusky Pionus species of Parrot.

Common Names

These birds are most commonly known as the Dusky Pionus or Dusky Parrot.

Scientific Name

Pionus fuscus.


The Dusky Pionus has a specialized range in the wild, spreading itself across several parts of South America, including Venezuela, Brazil, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and parts of Columbia. They prefer forested areas where they can hide and forage among the foliage and brush, shielded from predators and the elements.

Thanks to captive breeding programs and their popularity in the pet trade, however, specimens of Dusky Pionus can be found living happily as pets in almost every country in the world.


The Dusky Pionus is best described as a medium sized parrot. As adults, they normally reach a length of between 9 and 10 inches when measured from the head to the tips of the tailfeathers. They have a stocky build, and will weigh 7 to 8 ounces at maturity. Although they aren't classified as a large parrot, they are active birds that still need plenty of room. Buying the largest cage that you can possibly acquire for your pet Dusky Pionus will benefit both your bird's mental and physical well being.

Average Lifespan

One question that many potential bird owners ask when adopting a feathered friend is how long pet birds live -- and the Dusky Pionus, as with other types of parrots, can live a very long time in captivity when properly cared for.

Most Dusky Pionus have an average lifespan of 25 years or so, although this varies greatly among individuals. Some Dusky Pionus have been reported to live upwards of 40 years, so it's very important to be sure that you can commit that sort of time to a pet before bringing one home.


Like many of the Pionus parrots, the Dusky Pionus has a reputation for being a very quiet, laid back pet.

They form strong bonds with their owners and prefer to spend as much time with them as possible, so if you want a Dusky Pionus, you'd do best to make sure that you're able to be at home with it for a good portion of each day. While the Dusky Pionus will sometimes learn to say a word or two, they are not known for being a vocal, "talking bird." This is not to say, however, that they are difficult to train -- Pionus parrots and the Dusky Pionus in particular often take well to trick training when taught using positive techniques that keep the experience fun and engaging for them.


The Dusky Pionus is a dark colored bird overall, with dark grayish-brown feathers covering most of its body. In proper lighting, however, the true beauty of their plumage pops out. They have brilliant blue tails, accented by blue on the edges of their wings, a speckling of white feathers on their necks, a reddish/pink tinge to their breasts and bellies, and bright red under their tails, like all Pionus parrots.


Like all parrots, the Dusky Pionus does best in captivity when it is given the highest quality nutrition. To achieve this, most Dusky Pionus owners feed their birds a nice commercial seed and pellet mix, and supplement it with fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.

Doing so will make sure that the bird is exposed to a range of vitamins and minerals that will help support immunity and essential life functions. As a bonus -- a varied diet can help keep your parrot happy and entertained, whereas feeding them the same thing every day can lead to boredom and depression.


Dusky Pionus should be encouraged to come out of the cage and exercise for a minimum of 3 - 4 hours per day. Owners should set up a safe, bird-proof area for their bird to play in, and make sure to supervise their birds closely during playtime to prevent accidents and injury.

Dusky Pionus as Pets

While it can be tempting to rush out and adopt one of these attractive birds, those who are interested in a Dusky Pionus should take time to do plenty of research on the species before committing o caring for one.

While the Dusky Pionus is highly intelligent, beautiful, and can make a loving and affectionate companion, they aren't the best birds for everybody. To learn more about what it's like to live with a Dusky Pionus, contact a breeder or your local aviculture society and speak with someone who has experience with this species. That will help you get a better grasp on what it's really like to care for these birds day by day, and will ultimately help you make a better decision on whether or not the Dusky Pionus is right for you.