Senegal Parrot

The Senegal parrot (Poicephalus senegalus) is a Poicephalus parrot which is a resident breeder across a wide range of west Africa. It makes migrations within west Africa, according to the availability of the fruit, seeds and blossoms which make up its diet. It is considered a farm pest in Africa, often feeding on maize or millet. It is popular in aviculture.

Details

Senegal parrots are about 23 centimetres (9.1 inches) long, weigh about 120 to 170 grams (4.2 to 6.0 ounces). They have a relatively large head and beak for their overall size, and feathers form a short broad tail. Adults have a charcoal grey head, grey beak, bright yellow irises, green back and throat, and yellow underparts and rump. The yellow and green areas on a Senegal parrot's front form a V-shape resembling a yellow vest worn over green. Young Juveniles have dark grey, almost black, irises, which change to light grey. Senegal parrots are not sexually dimorphic, but there are some hypotheses which sometimes might help to determine the gender of adult birds: The V-shape of the vest is usually longer in females; in females the green area extends down over the chest to between the legs, whereas in males the tip of the green area ends midway down the chest. The female's beak and head are generally slightly smaller and narrower than the male's. The under-tail covert feathers (short feathers under the base of the main tail feathers) are generally mostly yellow in the male and generally mostly green in the female. Males are generally, but not always, larger and heavier than female birds.

Pets

Hand reared Senegal parrots are one of the most popular parrots to be kept as pets, and the most popular Poicephalus parrot. Their calls are generally high pitched whistles and squawks along with mimics, but they are not as noisy as many other parrot species. They make for a good companion and are quite friendly compared to other parrot species. Senegal parrots are independent at times, needing a very fair amount of sleep during the day. Keeping two as pets can very well aid the parrots social and physical health as they have a companion. Wild caught Senegal parrots do not usually become tame, and do not make good pets.

Breeding

Senegal parrots are relatively easy to breed in captivity and there is a small industry in breeding and hand rearing Senegal parrots and other parrots for the pet trade. In aviculture Senegal parrots can start to breed at the age of 3 to 4 years in captivity, but some do not breed until age 5 years. Parent reared birds are known to breed as early as 2 years of age. Senegal parrot nest boxes can be any of a variety of sizes and shapes; but for example, a nest box about 18 inches (46 centimetres) high and 8 inches (20 centimetres) to 10 inches (25 centimetres) square would be suitable. An exit and entrance port about 2.5 inches (6.4 centimetres) in diameter would be suitable, and the birds may enlarge the port by chewing the wood. Nest boxes generally have a secure side door for inspecting the nest.