Poicephalus might not want to cuddle, but they can be playful and outgoing, and many certainly love to be petted.

Poicephalus Food

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Other Birds in this family
Quick Facts
  • Poicephalus parrots have a stockier build compared to other parrot species
  • Poicephalus tend to be a quieter pet parrot
  • Diet & Nutrition: Parrot food

Senegal parrot, Senegal bird

Poicephalus parrots are “big boned” birds, stockier than many other parrot species. They have blunt broad tail feathers and large heads. These birds have a reputation for being among the quieter parrot species, and a well-socialized Poicephalus parrot can make an excellent pet companion. Four Poicephalus commonly kept as pets: the Senegal parrot, Meyer’s parrot, red-bellied parrot and the brown-headed parrot. Poicephalus tend to a be a quieter parrot species, and their smaller size makes them a good choice for those in apartments.

Native Region / Natural Habitat

The Poicephalus genus consists of nine species, which are native to sub-Saharan Africa.

Care & Feeding

Poicephalus like to climb about the cage, so make sure the cage you choose has horizontal bars, which allows the bird to climb all about the cage. Rope toys and ladders also encourage climbing, which is a good exercise for your pet Poicephalus. 

As with most parrots, Poicephalus parrots thrive on a pelleted base diet, such as Lafeber’s Daily Diet Premium Pellets or Nutri-Berries, supplemented with fresh fruit and vegetables.

Lafeber food for Poicephalus

Personality & Behavior

While Poicephalus generally don’t have a reputation as being as cuddly as other parrots, they can be affectionate , as well as playful, outgoing, and they are appreciative of  having their heads and necks scratched. Poicephalus can be shy and/or phobic so interactions should be positive and respectful. You don’t want to force interaction to the point where the only way your Poicephalus can effectively communicate with you is via a bite.

Speech & Sound

Poicephalus parrots are on the quieter side of the parrot vocalization scale. They aren’t known for their talking ability, but they might mimic sounds. Red-bellied parrots are said to be the best talkers of the Poicephalus family.

Health & Common Conditions

A main health concerns for Poicephalus parrots is Aspergillosis, which is a common fungal disease in birds. Good care, including clean housing, a balanced diet and a non-stressful environment, can help minimize the likelihood of Aspergillosis infection. Bornavirus (PDD) is another condition to watch out for. Signs of Bornavirus infection include: weight loss despite eating, and poorly digested food and regurgitation.

Get a Poicephalus

Poicephalus are available at large pet stores, at avian-retail stores, from bird breeders, as well as for adoption from avian-rescue organizations. While there are a total of nine Poicephalus species, four are more commonly available as pets: the Senegal parrot, Meyer’s parrot, red-bellied parrot and brown-headed parrot. The much large Jardine’s parrot is also available but more likely to be found in an avian-specialty store or direct from a bird breeder.