Parrot Care

An Introduction to Senegal Parrots

Senegal Parrots

Taxonomy & Native Habitat
The Senegal Parrot (Poicephalus senegalus) is one of nine birds in the Poicephalus genus, a collection of species originating from Africa. There are three subspecies:

  • Poicephalus senegalus senegalus: yellow belly, native to southern Mauritania, southern Mali to Guinea and Lobos Island
  • Poicephalus senegalus mesotypus: orange belly, native to eastern and northeastern Nigeria and Cameroon and southwest Chad
  • Poicephalus senegalus versteri: dark orage/red belly, native to the Ivory Coast, Eastern Ghana, western Nigeria

Appearance
Growing to 10 inches this bird typically has a lifespan of 30 years, but has been known to live up to 50. The bright plumage of the Senegal makes it a popular choice. A silver head extends down to a green breast, and orange/yellow body.  The colors on the chest are often described as a vest as they are distinguished quite clearly from the green body. If you have been around parrots for a while you will notice that Senegal Parrots have slightly larger heads than most parrot species.


Temperament
The Senegal can be a little wary of visitors, especially as they age, but they are quieter than most parrots, and captive-bred Senegal parrots make good pets. It is important to expose your Senegal to a range of experiences when they are young to ward of the tendency to become wary that some adult specimens exhibit.  Some important considerations if you are considering purchasing this bird are:

  • These birds are reasonable mimics, but tend to stick to whistling and chirping rather than being prime examples of parrots talking
  • Senegals often form a strong bond with just one family member, but it is not uncommon for them to rotate their favorite
  • Be wary of cheap Senegal parts imported from Africa – although they may make great specimens to look at they rarely make good pets
  • Senegal parrots will need at least one hour of exercise per day and 10 hours of good sleep

Housing
This is a species well suited to both cages and aviaries, however, a cage of at least four feet is recommended, along with regular exercise outside the cage. As with other parrots horizontal bars are recommended so that your parrot can enjoy climbing.

Senegal Parrots Cage

Diet
For some reason, more than other parrots, the Senegal loves peanuts (of course these must not be salted as that could be deadly). Along with this treat they are fed on parrot mix, fruit and greens.

Senegal Parrot Breeders
The Senegal Parrot requires scientific sexing, and once you identify a pair you will often find that the like to nest outdoors. Breeding should not commence until the birds are at last three years old, and you will find that some do not breed until they are seven years old. An example of a suitable nestbox:

A Senegal Parrots Nestbox

Senegal parrot breeders report that the species tend to breed from November to March and two or three eggs per clutch is typical.  You should provide a deep nest box for this species of at least 18 inches. A Senegal Parrot’s egg:

A Senegal Parrot's egg

If all goes according to plan then the female will lay a clutch of eggs and incubate them for around 28 days. He newly born chicks will open their eyes after around three weeks and fly the nest after nine weeks. At three months old the chicks will be independent of their parents.

A young Senegal:

A Young Senegal Parrot


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