Senegal Parrot
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. Senegal parrot
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  • Scientific Name: Poicephalus senegalus
  • Common Name/s: SENEGAL PARROT.
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin: 3 ... Yellow bellied = Poicephalus senegalus senegalus,  Orange bellied = Poicephalus senegalus mesotypus,  Scarlet bellied = Poicephalus senegalus versteri.
  • Origin / Distribution:  Western and central Africa.
  • Habitat In Wild:  Savannah woodlands and open areas with some tall trees.  Will forage in farmlands.
  • Status In Wild:  ?
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Rare
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  ?
  • Adult plumage: attained at about ? months
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  ?
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic Surgical or DNA sexing is recommended.
  • Colour mutations:  No
  • Availability:  Specialist breeders
  • Temperament:  Hand raised Senegal Parrots are often kept as companion birds or pets.  Pet birds will often bond only with one person and may bite other people who try to handle them.  Birds that bond with people will generally not want to have further interaction with other Senegal parrots and are therefore no longer useful as breeders.  Not easy to breed as they are often nervous and aggressive birds.  As a pet, they are not suitable for children.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $12,000
  • Description Of Adults:
  1. Length: Approx. 230 - 260 mm (or approx.  9 - 10 inches)
  2. Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photo/s above if available.
  3. Weight: Approx 150 - 160 gms (or approx  5 ozs)

Poicephalus parrots:  There are 9 in this group and they are medium sized parrots that come from Africa.  Five are represented in Australian aviaries by the Cape Parrot, Jardine Parrot, Meyer's Parrot, Red bellied Parrot and the Senegal Parrot.

Aviary Notes:

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws:  Refer to " Government Laws " web page.

Housing Requirements:  Refer to " Housing Birds " web page for general details on the housing of Non Australian Parrots or read on for specific details for this parrot.

One pair per aviary.  Needs a good supply of fresh branches to chew.

Can be housed and bred in a cage, suspended cage or in an aviary.  An indoor cage for one bird can be about one metre long.

Housing these birds for breeding is not as easy as with most other parrot species.  To introduce birds to each other and getting them into the new cage is a delicate process requiring constant observation and patience.  Newly introduced birds may attack the other bird and may cause severe injury or even death.  Talking to successful Senegal breeders is well advised prior to purchasing these birds.

These birds have to be gradually introduced to each other.  Both birds will be in their own cage and be able to see each other.  Next the cages can be side by side and subject to constant observation for any aggression.  If this seems safe they will sit as close as possible to each other but still within their own cage.  They may then be allowed to be placed together in another neutral cage and observed for any signs of aggression.  Once they have accepted each other and start the mutual acceptance act of mutual preening the birds should then be safe to be placed into their new breeding cage or aviary.  Even when in their new breeding cage or aviary, careful observation has to be maintained to monitor for signs of aggression.  If aggression is observed at any stage the birds should be separated.

Non-toxic leafy branches can be placed in the aviary for the birds to chew up. This will entertain the birds, help minimize boredom and give the birds some beak exercise. Natural branches can be used for perches. These natural perches will be chewed by the birds and may need to be replaced regularly. The birds will chew any flowers and fruiting bodies on the branches.

Senegal parrots need a variety of bird toys and bird play gyms in the cage or aviary so that they can entertain themselves and as a reason to keep physically active and mentally stimulated.

Diet / Feeding:   Refer to " Feeding Birds " web page for general details on the feeding of Non Australian Parrots or read on for specific details for this parrot.

Natural diet includes seeds, berries, nuts and fruits, plus flower and leaf buds.

Aviary diet usually include a seed mix plus a variety of fruits and a variety of vegetables.  Green leafy vegetables such as silverbeet, endive, spinach.  Soaked or sprouted seed if available.  Quality commercial parrot pellets can form part of a balanced food intake.

Nesting:  A basic overview only.  Dimensions are typical / average and can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds preferences.  Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared.  If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their own choice.  Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season.  Try and keep that one for their exclusive use.  Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed.  If the "spare" boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest-box is cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.

  • Nesting months:
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth - mm (or approx. - inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. - mm. (or approx. - inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx.- mm square (or approx. - inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx. - mm (or approx. - inches)
    • Inspection hole (square or round) 100 mm (or approx 4 inches)
    • A removable top / lid can be a useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
    • Location and height of log / nest-box ......
    • Angle of log or nest box ...
  • Nesting log / nest-box material: Decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings or other suitable material/s.
  • Who incubates the egg/s: Hen / cock / both share.

Nest inspections are generally not tolerated.

Senegal parrots can be encouraged to use their natural instinct and abilities of making a suitable nest by the owner blocking the nest entry hole with a piece of non toxic pine timber.  The birds will chew through the pine timber and then start to remodel the inside of the nest box to meet their requirements.  The ritual of removing the material the owner has placed in the nest box will start.  Many parrot breeders place additional pieces of pine timber in the nest box for the birds to chew up.  The birds chewing on the pieces of soft timber may distract the birds from removing too much of the preferred nest material.

Timber nest-boxes generally require a climbing structure attached inside the box below the entrance hole. Both logs and nests need an entrance hole/opening about 100 mm (about 4 inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole to be just big enough to squeeze through.

More details on parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of parrot nestbox/log photos can be found on the "nests", "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" web pages.  Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" in the navigation bars.

Breeding: Egg Colour White.  Clutch/s per year 1.  Eggs per nest  3.  Incubation approx.  26 - 27 days.  Fledge approx.  9 - 10 weeks.  Independent approx. another ? weeks.

Not easy to breed as they are often nervous and aggressive birds.  Tend to be erratic breeders.

These birds need more privacy than most other species of parrot if they are to be successful breeders.  The nest box should be at the highest possible point in the cage or aviary and the entrance hole to be in a shaded or dark position.  Light should not be able to enter the nest box.

Cuttlefish bone should be available before and during the breeding season.  Overseas breeders increase the protein food levels prior to and during the breeding season.  This is achieved by either changing the type of parrot pellets or by adding or changing to a higher protein supplementary food.

These birds can become aggressive during the breeding season.  Nest boxes are best positioned so the nest inspection can be carried out from outside the aviary.  Nest inspection is best done when the adult birds are out of the nest.  

Artificial incubation and hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site.  It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.

Health Issues:  Refer to "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site.  Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page option.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace.  Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References:  Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 13 Issue 6. Dec-Jan  2001  Page 318-320 ( Part 2 ).
  • ABK Vol 13 Issue 5. Oct-Nov 2000  Page 247-249 ( Part 1 ).
  • ABK Vol 13 Issue 2. Apr-May  2000  Page 106-107 
  • ABK Vol 12 Issue 12. Dec-Jan  2000 Page 628-629
  • ABK Vol 12 Issue 9. Jun-July  1999 Page 452-453
  • ABK Vol 10 Issue 9.  Jun-July 1997  Page 448-449
  • ABK Vol 9   Issue 1. Feb-Mar 1996  Page 24-25
  • ABK Vol  5  Issue 2. Apr-May  1992  Page 83-84

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