Species group: African Parrots
Other common names: Brown Parrot; Sudan Brown Parrot
Scientific name: Poicephalus meyeri
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.)
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 An older bird may not be able to adapt or to learn nearly as well, and some birds may be timid or withdrawn, instead of outgoing and playful.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
positive reinforcement, daily showers
Sweet, opinionated bird
I adopted my Meyer's when she was almost 18. She was the angriest creature I had ever encountered. She bit me every chance she got, and screamed and hissed at me from her perch. But I could tell she was desperate for some companionship. She had been rescued from a hoarding situation and was being attacked by her cagemates. It only took us a few months to establish trust, and she became a very sweet bird that loved to hang out on my shoulder and fly around my apartment. Like all parrots, she was very opinionated about when she wanted to hang out and who she liked. She liked few people but tolerated them them just fine. She lived until almost 27. She hated the second bird I adopted. I don't know if this is a species trait or was simply due to her age. Or, perhaps my inability to make the situation work. Overall, she was a sweet bird that simply wanted to be understood. She screamed sometimes for attention, but it wasn't bad compared to many other parrots. She wasn't as playful as conures, but was happy to sit with me and relax. If you'd like one, please consider adoption. Old birds can make excellent companions. Please look past the initial fear they may exhibit..
From Yoshi May 5 2017 1:46AM
The All around great parrot - Meyers Parrot.
The ideal parrot for many is the Meyers Parrot. This parrot is small, very cute, about 10 inches long usually and is mostly dark brownish color and has a black head. It does have a very nice blue-green tail area and some parts of its wings are very colorful. These parrots are relatively common and often are reasonably priced.
The Meyers parrots are renowned for their usual tameness, their fun antics and their loyalty to their owner. They are not as good at talking or mimicing but my pet birds actually spoke one or two words. These are quite active birds and often very curious about objects and people. They can be taught tricks and are quick to catch on. They often love to perform in front of others. These birds get along with other birds fairly well and are great with my dogs. They do have a unique metallic call, sort of high-pitched and not as pleasant as the calls of other birds.
There really is no negative in my opinion, the one thing I wish I could change is that these birds really, really love their owner maybe too much; and are often one-person birds. But this does not mean that they are aggressive towards others, just indifferent.
Since I've had the pleasure of breeding these birds, I can say that they are very much in demand by people who want a low-maintenance and quiet bird. Meyers would be ideal for apartments or condos. Their cousins, the Senegals are very similar to the Meyers with different coloring but the Senegals usually learn to mimic better. Still, the Meyers' overall package, its loyalty and "fun" factor makes them one of the favorite birds..
From jysesq Feb 19 2014 10:38PM
Definitely the most moodiest meyer's I've ever owned...
This meyer's wasn't your typical meyer's.. she was definitely moody, took to the male of the family, hated kids and other birds. Very aggressive and territorial. Ended up dying of a kidney failure due to inbreeding.
From hawaiianbrat23 Apr 16 2009 12:23AM