Size: Small, Medium Personality: Active, Affectionate, Intelligent, Lively Lifespan: 20-30-years Care & Maintenance: Moderate
Common Species

Senegal parrot (Poicephalus senegalus) Meyer’s parrot (Poicephalus meyeri ), Red-fronted parrot or Jardine’s (Poicephalus gulielmi), Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus )



Active and Playful Acrobats

Poicephalus parrots are known for their acrobatic abilities. These active and playful birds love to swing, climb, and hang. There are ten different species of Poicephalus parrots, with the Senegal, Meyer’s Parrot, Jardine’s, and Cape Parrot being the most popular. Poicephalus parrots are intelligent, outgoing, and adaptable, which makes them great family pets. They’re also very affectionate and love to cuddle and have their heads and necks scratched. Although they’re not known for their talking abilities, Poicephalus parrots can learn to talk and are skilled at mimicking sounds and whistles. Additionally, they’re not as vocal as other parrot species, making them a quieter option.

There are ten different species of Poicephalus parrots. Out of all the species, Senegals, Meyers, Red Bellies, and Jardine’s are the most commonly kept as pets due to their charm and personality. However, other Poicephalus species such as the Ruppell’s Parrot (Poicephalus rueppellii), Yellow Fronted Parrot (Poicephalus flavifrons), Brown-Necked Parrot (Poicephalus fuscicollis), and Niam-Niam Parrot (Poicephalus crassus) are not commonly found in the pet industry. It’s worth noting that the popular species are known for being relatively quiet and can even learn to mimic human speech.

Poicephalus in the wild are found throughout the central and southern regions of Africa.

The average lifespan of a Poicephalus is 20 to 30 years although some have been known to live longer.

Physical Description

Poicephalus are small to medium sized parrots measuring from 20 to 35cm (8 to 14 inches) in length. They are stocky birds with short, square tails.


Their colour depends on the species, but the majority of Poicephalus are green with other colours such as red, orange, or yellow. The gender of most Poicephalus is difficult to determine by physical characteristics alone.

Health Booklet

Keeping track of bird health by recording their growth, development, behavior and environment in a booklet can help ensure that your companion parrot will be healthy and happy for many years to come.


It is difficult to physically distinguish male Poicephalus from female. But, some species, such as Senegal are dimorphic when mature. Usually DNA tests is required for 100% accuracy.

Personality Traits & Behaviours

Poicephalus are active, playful birds and love acrobatics – hanging, swinging, and climbing. They love to cuddle and all love head scratching. They can be very trusting, and many will often lie on their back in your hand. They love playing with toys and need to be provided with wooden toys to chew as well as a variety of other toys such as bells, ladders and swings.

Noise Level/Speech/Song

Poicephalus are generally fairly quiet parrots (although no parrot can really be described as quiet). Most Poicephalus have a moderate talking ability. They are very good at mimicking sounds and whistles.

Intelligence & Learning

Poicephalus parrots are intelligent and can often learn to talk and perform tricks. Consistent training from a young age is recommended to ensure the neurological evolution of these parrots. Training your pet regularly also helps prevent certain behavioural problems such as biting, feather plucking and screaming.


Some population of species of Poicephalus are decreasing, however according to IUCN Red List of Threatened Species members of the genus Poicephalus are evaluated with a lower risk of extinction.

Relationship with Humans

Poicephalus parrots are easy-going, affectionate, playful and curious. That is why it is easy for them to equally bond with each family member. Although they enjoy good human interaction, given the proper toys to chew, a Poicephalus parrot can play independently for hours. Poicephalus parrots make great pets for families with children, however children should never be left unsupervised while playing with the parrot.


Housing/Cage Placement

The general rule of thumb when buying a bird cage is to buy the largest cage you can afford. For optimum health and safety, the cage should be at least two and a half times the width of the bird’s wingspan in all directions. Cage bar spacing should never be so wide that your bird could stick their head through, and their tail feathers should not be able to touch the bars when they are perched comfortably. Also consider your bird’s beak strength to determine the proper gauge of the bars as some birds have been known to bend the bars and escape.

A rectangular cage with horizontal bars in which your bird has plenty of room to climb and play is the best environment for your parrot. Your parrot will be happiest in a well-ventilated room with as much natural light as possible, yet away from direct sunlight and drafts. Your bird will want to be part of the action but not right in the middle of it. Avoid placing your bird’s cage in the kitchen as there are many hazards including vapors from heated PTFE coated pans (PTFE is better known as TeflonTM), hot stoves, pots of boiling water, and cooking fumes, all of which can be very harmful to your bird. The cage and accessories should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected weekly. Make sure your bird stays healthy by providing them with fresh food and water every day. Don’t forget to wash their dishes daily!

Time out of the cage every day for socialization and exercise is important. Parrots enjoy supervised activities on a play gym loaded with their favorite toys and enrichment food. Make sure they do not have access to open doors or windows, toilets with the lid up, hot stoves, moving ceiling fans, or large panes of glass. It’s also a good idea to ensure they do not chew on or ingest anything unsafe such as treated or painted wood or unsafe house plants. Do not keep your bird in a room where sprays such as perfume, hair spray, air fresheners, or aerosol sprays are used frequently.

For the safety of your beloved parrot, we advise against leaving them unattended with other pets like dogs, cats, or ferrets.


When it comes to feeding your Poicephalus, there are countless opinions to consider. Here’s what we believe: a high-quality extruded diet – such as Tropican – serves as the foundation of your parrot’s diet, while other healthy enrichment foods provide welcome variety.

Pelleted bird food is the ideal source of nutrition to keep your parrot healthy. However, it’s important to offer variety, too, gourmet seeds, dried fruits, vegetables, and nuts (such as Tropimix), beans, and fresh fruits and vegetables all provide essential nutrients and diversity to your parrot’s diet. Sensible, healthy table foods such as cooked pasta, rice, hard-boiled eggs, multigrain toast, and unsalted crackers can also serve as treats in small amounts.

It is crucial to avoid unhealthy people foods. Never feed your parrot chocolate, alcohol, caffeine beverages, or avocado as even small amounts can be toxic. Salty or sugary foods should also be avoided. Check out our feeding recommendations for most parrot species.

Of course, fresh water every day is very important too. Remember to wash and refill your parrot’s water bowl daily to keep your bird healthy and happy.


Parrots need ten to twelve hours of uninterrupted sleep per night. If your bird cage is normally situated in a room where there is a lot of activity or movement, it is best to move it to a secluded dark area at night. Sleep is a vital to a Parrots well-being. 

Many bird owners will cover the bird cage at night to help block out extra light (especially during the summertime). A cover can also keep the cage warmer (for those living in colder climates).

Placing a comfortable perch higher up in the cage will give them a sense of security and keep their feet healthy. If you do not plan on covering the cage or if the bird suffers from night terrors try using an infrared basking light or small night light in the room.


Improperly sized or dirty perches contribute to pododermatitis or bumblefoot. Offer your bird at least three types of perches appropriately sized for their feet: cotton or sisal rope; natural wood perches with a variety of diameters as well as bird-safe plastic perches. Keep perches clean, and if you use cotton or sisal rope, check frequently for signs of loose strands. Often, perches will need to be replaced due to normal wear and tear.  If a grooming perch is utilized, please avoid placing this perch at the highest level of the cage nor place it near food and water stations.


Poicephalus Parrots are energetic birds that require a wide range of toys to keep them engaged and active. Swings, climbing ropes, and ladders are all great options to promote movement and exercise. To avoid boredom, it is recommended to rotate toys every one or two weeks.

HARI Smart.Play bird toys are an excellent choice as they stimulate various activities and functions. These toys are divided into different groups: foraging, foot & audio, preening, exercise, and perching.

Foraging toys are perfect for mental and physical stimulation, anxiety relief, and entertainment. This type of toy is particularly useful when a bird is new to its environment and needs a way to channel its anxiety.

Foot & Audio Enrichment Toys are an excellent addition to any bird toy collection. They promote curiosity and entertainment, while also developing balance, dexterity, and strength in birds.

If your parrot is often alone, preening toys are especially important. They help relieve boredom, promote mental and physical stimulation, and prevent feather damaging behaviors in birds.


Poicephalus can become extremely bonded to just one person and therefore they must be encouraged to make friends with lots of different people when they are young. Every companion parrot should know some basic commands, the most important of which are the “step up” and “step down” commands. We begin training your parrot in these commands while he is at the store. Be consistent and use the step-up command every time you want to pick up your parrot. If you give the step-up command, it is important to make sure your parrot follows through with the command otherwise you are not patterning good behaviour. A parrot that has been well trained to step up will stick his foot out when he sees you extend your hand, often even before you ask him to step up.


Daily bathing is essential to the health of your bird. Bathing moisturizes nasal passages and feet and keeps your birds’ feathers and skin in excellent shape. Most Poicephalus love to bathe. They should be misted with a spray bottle or allowed to bathe themselves in a shallow dish of warm water or you can use a spray bottle with warm water to gently mist him or use a shower perch. Remove seeds or pellets from the cage before misting as damp food can grow mold and bacteria. Always bathe your bird early in the day and let him dry naturally in a draft-free area.

Feather/Nail Care

While trimming a Parrot’s flight feathers is optional, most owners prefer to keep the wings trimmed for safety reasons. Trimming the feathers is a simple and painless process, similar to getting a haircut. By ensuring that your bird cannot fly too high but can still glide down safely, you will create a safer environment for both you and your pet. It is important to manage your bird’s flight feathers properly, especially during moulting season, and to inspect and groom their toenails regularly. To avoid accidents, it is highly recommended that you consult a professional bird groomer to trim the feathers and nails. Wing trimming does not guarantee that your bird will not fly, but it can certainly help. Even with trimmed wings, one or two grown-in feathers can still give your Poicephalus flight capability. That’s why it is essential to never take your Parrot outside without a secure cage or a properly fitted bird harness.

Household Dangers

It is important to provide parrots with a safe environment to ensure the longest lifespan. The following is a list of common household dangers: non-stick surfaces (like TeflonTM coated pans), oven cleaners and self-cleaning ovens, cigarette smoke, paint and paint fumes, scented candles, household cleaners, floor polish, hairspray, chlorine bleach, perfume, aerosol sprays, nail polish and nail polish remover fumes, and ingesting harmful or toxic house plants.  It’s important to make sure everyone in the household is aware of food and other products in the home that are potentially toxic to parrots, such as avocados, chocolate, coffee beans, onions, salt, and fruit seeds or pits. Ceiling fans, cupboards, blinds, and open doors and windows can also pose a risk as your pet may fly into, get trapped or simply fly away.

Vet Care

Birds are known to mask signs of sickness, so it’s important to monitor your feathered friend for any subtle changes in their behavior or health. One way to ensure your Conure is in top shape is to schedule an annual visit with a veterinarian for a comprehensive evaluation and preventative healthcare plan. You may want to consider an avian vet or an exotic pet specialist, as some clinics only offer routine bird appointments and refer more complex cases to avian veterinarians. An avian vet can also offer valuable advice on how to provide proper healthcare for your bird.

Availability in the Pet Market

This species of parrot can be obtained from an avian specialty shop, pet dealer, or a reputable breeder. Online adoption organizations and rescues can also be a viable option for those looking to adopt a parrot

Poicephalus can become extremely bonded to just one person and therefore they must be encouraged to make friends with lots of different people when they are young.


Breeding Habits

In the wild, most Poicephalus parrots nest in tree cavities, and the breeding season depends greatly on the region.

With aviary-bred Poicephalus, one can expect a mature pair to nest once they are of mature age. (this depends on the species). Optimal nutrition and health is of utmost importance.  Each clutch can vary, but one can expect 2-4 eggs.

Hatchling to Fledgling

Most aviculturists catering to the pet bird trade prefer to have parent birds raise their young for about two to three weeks before beginning hand feeding. Weaning age can vary, but a fledgling should be expected to eat on his own by 12-16 weeks. Breeding Parrots should be in optimal health and receive proper nutrition to support the needs of both the “expectant” parents and the nestlings. Tropican High Performance 4mm, 8mm, Sticks and Tropimix Small & Large Parrot are excellent options, as well as vegetables and fruits high in beta-carotene to meet the nutritional needs of breeding parrots. Adding Prime Vitamins to the diet can also benefit breeding pairs on a predominately seed-based diet.

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