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  • Writer's pictureSandra Witt

Meet Nona ...

This little sweetie came to us without a name, which is a sad thing, so we call him/her Nona. Nona is a White-crowned Pionus or White-crowned Parrot (pionus senilis) and this little guy or girl is very sweet.

Males tend to be larger and more colorful than females.The adult male has a white forehead and crown, the feature which, likened to an old man's white hair, gave rise to the specific name 'senilis.' The throat is white and the rest of the head, neck, and breast are dull dark blue. The belly is light green, and the upperparts are dark green, with a yellow-olive shoulder patch. In flight, the blue underwings and red vent are conspicuous features.

The female is similar to the male, but the blue plumage fades into scaling on the lower breast and the shoulder patch is duller. DNA sexing is recommended to identify the correct gender. Pionus can live to be over 40 but often they live only 3 or 10 years due to accidents and poor nutrition.

The White-crowned Pionus is a medium parrot averaging 9 to 10 inches (24 cm) in length and 230 - 260 g in weight. Males are generally larger and have deeper and more extensive blue than females and have larger heads and beaks.

White-crowned Pionus are popular in the pet trade as they generally make great pets. Young birds tend to be docile and are easily tamed and they don't mind being handled provided they are properly socialized.

They are not known for their talking abilities although they are intelligent and rather inquisitive but they tend to be on the shy side. These naturally active birds may become overweight if not sufficient opportunities for exercise are provided. Mature white-crowns, particular males, may bond to only one person and are known to aggressively protect that person from others, including other family members.

These parrots are native to western Panama to south-eastern Mexico in San Luis Potosi and southern Tamaulipas, mainly along Pacific slopes. The White-crowned Parrot feeds in social flocks of 30-50 birds, which may wander outside the breeding range once nesting has finished. It feeds on taking various seeds, nuts and fruits, and can be pest in crops of corn or sorghum, and commercial fruit plantations. It can be unobtrusive when feeding since it is slow-moving, usually silent, and keeps in the canopy. White-crowned Pionus are listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

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