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Blue-headed Parrot - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 21:34, 20 September 2023 by THEFERN-13145 (talk | contribs) (→‎Identification)
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Subspecies rubrigularis. Photo by Pitter
Trujillo, Valle Del Cauca, Colombia, March 2017
Pionus menstruus

Includes: Blue-breasted Parrot or Reichenow's Parrot


24–28 cm (9½-11 in). A medium sized green amazon-type parrot with striking blue head. See also flight action.

  • plumage green
  • throat with reddish flecking or wholly blue (subspecies dependent)
  • underparts with or without bluish flecking (subspecies dependent)
  • head and neck blue or lead blue-grey (subspecies dependent)
  • under-tail feathers red
  • upper wing coverts yellowish brown or green (subspecies dependent)
  • under wing green with darker (blackish) primary tips
  • edges of upper and lower mandible black with reddish or whitish side patches
  • ear patches blackish in some subspecies

Sexes similar


  • Less blue on head
  • Red or pink feathers around cere

Similar Species

White-crowned Parrot overlaps with the northern part of its range.


Subspecies menstruus. Photo by Perubirdingtours
Tambopata, Southern Peru

Central and South America
Central America: Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Trinidad
South America: Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil.


Some authors elevate subspecies reichenowi as "Blue-breasted Parrot" or "Reichenow's Parrot", P. reichenowi (e.g. [6], [7]) leaving subspecies menstruus and rubrigularis in a restricted "Blue-headed Parrot", P. menstruus.


Clements recognises the following subspecies [1]:

  • P. m. rubrigularis: Tropical northern Costa Rica to western Colombia and western Ecuador. [More extensively marked red on throat and duller blue than menstruus]
  • P. m. menstruus: Eastern Colombia to the Guianas, Trinidad, northern Brazil and Bolivia. [dark ear patch; red flecking on throat, bluish-green tipped undertail coverts; lesser wing coverts yellowish brown]
  • P. m. reichenowi: "Blue-breasted Parrot". Coastal north-eastern Brazil (Alagoas to Espírito Santo) [upperpart blue duller, darker, more grey without red flecks; lower underparts paler/brighter blue from blue suffusion; no obvious dark ear patch; red undertail coverts with blue tips]

Most authors consider the subspecies chlorocyanescens and cyanescens are invalid [2].

(subspecies descriptions based on [8], modified with reference to Macauley Images and [7])


A wide variety of woodland and forest habitats, suburban gardens and mixed agricultural areas. Lowland rainforest in the tropical zone. Observerved at heights between 290m and 1400m.



The diet includes fruit, seed and grain.


It nests in a tree cavity; the clutch consists of 3-5 white eggs.

Flight Action

This bird and other members of its genus have distinctive, deep wingbeats, quite different from an Amazona parrot.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved March 2017)
  4. Wikipedia
  5. Birdforum Member observations
  6. HBW and BirdLife International (2022) Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International digital checklist of the birds of the world. Version 7. Available at: http://datazone.birdlife.org/userfiles/file/Species/Taxonomy/HBW-BirdLife_Checklist_v7_Dec22.zip
  7. Ridgely R.S., Gwynne J.A., Tudor, G., & Argel, M. (2016). Wildlife Conservation Society Birds of Brazil: The Atlantic Forest of Southeast Brazil, including São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. VOLUME 2 (WCS Birds of Brazil Field Guides). Comstock Publishing Associates. ISBN 978-1501704536
  8. Forshaw, J.M. & Knight, F. (2010). Parrots of the World. Princeton Field Guides. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691142852.

Recommended Citation

External Links

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