Meyer's Parrot

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Is the Meyer's Parrot right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Brown Parrot; Sudan Brown Parrot

Scientific name: Poicephalus meyeri

The basics:
The Meyer's Parrot is an extremely diverse small African species often called Brown Parrot by birders.They are talented, playful, not too noisy, and able to play independently while their owners are at work, so they are often recommended as good apartment pets.

In the wild, there are six subspecies of the widespread Meyer's Parrot, a bird so abundant it can be the most common parrot in parts of its African home. If you decide to breed your bird, it is imperative to consult with an expert to make sure that you match up the right subspecies. Some form of this highly adaptable species can be found in areas of central, eastern, or southern Africa, up to 2,200 meters, although it is reported to avoid the very dense lowland forests of the Congo River basin.

Meyer's Parrot might seem rather drab at first glance. Up close, in the captive environment, you suddenly notice the bright yellow and turquoise touches on this supposedly dull gray-brown bird. Some individuals have extensive areas of color, and others do not, so pick your bird carefully if you are making your decision based on looks.

100 - 135 grams (3.5 - 4.8 oz.)

Average size:
21 centimeters (8 in.)

20 - 30 years

Behavior / temperament:
The Meyer's Parrot is a highly regarded parrot that tends to have a more relaxed personality than some of the other Poicephalus species. This adaptable bird is capable of independent play, and they can amuse themselves quietly during the day when their owners are at work, so they can make great apartment pets. Yet they are eager to learn to mimic sounds or little tricks like rolling on their back in your hand to play dead.

That said, like other small Poicephalus, it's important to train the Meyer's Parrot when it's young. A bird needs to be tamed and exposed to different people and different situations from the beginning. An older bird may not be able to adapt or to learn nearly as well, and some birds may be timid or withdrawn, instead of outgoing and playful. Get your baby Meyer's at a time when you will be able to come home and work with your new pet every day, so that you can get it accustomed to plenty of human handling.

Be aware of the teething stage, and learn how to read your Meyer's Parrot's body language so that you can avoid bites. Don't risk losing your bird's trust by ignoring the signals that it's becoming overloaded. They have the potential to be sweet, easy to handle pets, so if you start having problems, consult a parrot behaviorist to get back on track.

Since the Meyer's Parrot often plays independently for part of the day, most people recommend a larger cage, such as a minimum size of 24”w x 24”d x 24”h with no more than ¾” bar spacing. It may be a good idea to have a hiding place in the cage, such as a nestbox with one wall left off, so that the bird can climb in and hide when in need of a security blanket. Whatever the cage you choose, it must be made of powder-coated metal.

Meyer's Parrots love to chew. Equip the cage with sturdy manzanita perches in places where you don't want to replace the perches off. Have plenty of toys, both of the disposable chewable kind and the more long-lasting washable acrylic plastic. They will go through a lot of toys and bird-safe chewable tree branches.

Any small Poicephalus can become very territorial and aggressive if not properly managed. You don't want this bird to become cage-bound, so invest in a good play gym. Teach your pet to step up on a hand-held perch on command, so that you can easily move the bird from the cage, without provoking a territorial bite.

The Meyer's Parrot, like all Poicephalus may be at risk for calcium deficiencies, unless they are exposed to natural sunlight or full spectrum light, since the vitamin D created by light helps their bodies use the calcium. A seed-based diet may not work for an indoor bird because it may not be able to properly digest dietary calcium without being exposed to the hours of sunlight it would get in Africa. Therefore, many experts strongly recommend a pellet-based diet formulated for the African parrots.

However, these intelligent birds should not be allowed to get bored on an all pellet diet. One good diet might be approximately half pellets and half a chopped salad with plenty of mixed fruits and vegetables. A few seeds and nuts can be added for variety, but be aware that these birds sometimes gain too much weight. You could hold out the nuts or sunflower seed as part of bonding or trick training. In that way, you know exactly how much seed or how many nuts your bird is eating – and the bird associates you with a tasty treat.

Caution: Never feed avocado or chocolate to your Meyer's Parrot.

Written by Elaine Radford


sweet, multiple family members, Affectionate Meyers Parrots, trick training, mimic


moodiest meyer


positive reinforcement, daily showers

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