• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Black-headed Parrot - BirdForum Opus

Photo by rdavis
Napo River, Peru, April, 2010
Pionites melanocephalus


Sexes identical.
Adult: Brownish-black crown with green border below and green lores. Upperside including upperside of tail green with backside of neck deep orange. Throat and side of head pale orange, breast and belly cream, legs, vent, and undertail coverts orange -- orange becomes more lemony-yellow and cream becomes white in subspecies pallidus. Flight feathers are blackish or bluish black, underside of tail is dusky, and underwing coverts are green. Bill and feet black
Juvenile: Underside almost uniform buffy with little contrast between legs, belly, breast, and throat; otherwise similar to adult.

Similar Species

White-bellied Parrot, which is found south of the Amazon River, lacks the black crown, has pale bill, and shows yellow on underwing coverts in flight.


South America: found in Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, in all places north of the main Amazon River.



Two subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • P. p. melanocephalus:
  • P. p. pallidus:

Has in the past been treated as conspecific with White-bellied Parrot.


Forests, edges, and second growth especially in lowland and foothills to about 1000 m. Does include seasonally flooded areas.


The diet includes fruits and flowers and perhaps insects.

Vocalizations are quite varied and include both unpleasant and melodious shrieks. Sounds may be repeated or occur singly.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.
  2. Restall et al. 2006. Birds of Northern South America. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300124156
  3. Erize et al. 2006 Birds of South America, non-passerines. Princeton Illustrated Checklists, Princeton, New Jersey, USA. ISBN 0-691-12688-7
  4. Ber van Perlo. 2009. A field guide to the Birds of Brazil. Oxford University Press, New York, NY, USA. ISBN 978-0-19-530155-7
  5. Avibase
  6. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.