Species group: African Parrots
Other common names: African Orange-bellied Parrot; Red Belly Parrot
Scientific name: Poicephalus rufiventris
The Red-bellied Parrot is an interesting, intelligent small hookbill from Africa. They like to mimic, but they may have a funny, artificial-sounding voice that's hard to understand when they speak. They love to play, and they are not afraid to get on their backs, so they're good at learning tricks like “roll over” and “play dead.”
This parrot seems to have a stable population in its East African highland home, where it is found in dryer areas at elevations ranging from 800 to 2,000 meters. The wild birds are described as shy and cautious – they like to perch in the open, where they have good visibility, while they may avoid dense cover. Each nesting tree may be 100 to 200 meters apart, so that pairs can defend their own tree, while taking advantage of warning calls from other pairs.
It's easy to tell the boys from the girls with the Red-bellied Parrot, since the males have a deep orange or orange-red belly, while females lack the signature “red” belly and are instead green in that area. Occasionally, some people have confused a male Red-bellied Parrot with a Senegal Parrot, perhaps because Senegals are much better known. In the Senegal Parrot, the gray head meets a green neck and breast. In the Red-bellied Parrot, the gray extends further down the neck and also forms a bib over the breast in front.
113 - 142 grams (4 - 5 oz.)
22 centimeters (8.5 in.)
20 - 30 years
Behavior / temperament:
The Red-bellied Parrots have a lot going for them. They are capable of independent play and can amuse themselves quietly during the day when their owners are at work, so they can make great apartment pets. They do vocalize a lot, but their voices are not loud, and they are often trying to talk, which makes for a charming source of babble. They can learn tricks and delight in performing for their owners.
That said, like other small Poicephalus, it's important to train the Red-bellied 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 An older bird may not be able to adapt or to learn nearly as well, and some birds may be timid or withdrawn, instead of outgoing and playful.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 Red-belly 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 Red-bellied 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 Red-bellied 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.
Red-bellied 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 Red-bellied 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. However, if your Red-bellied Parrot is gaining 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 Red-bellied Parrot.
Written by Elaine Radford
apartments, great personality, quiet, mimics, cuddly, fairly large vocabulary
wonderful whistler, Poi family, consistent boundaries, Poicephalus, positive reinforcement
My parrot is my prize pet. I love him so much. I leave his cage door open so he can free range my place. He even goes outside with me and flys around and comes back to the porch whenever he's ready to come inside. He talks and training him was super fun but he mostly started doing it all on his own. Feathers and personality are all amazingly more humanlike than bird. Buck is the best pet I've ever had and not because he makes me feel like a pirate either but because no matter where I am in my place he'll come and check on me several times a day. I love it how I can always count on Buck coming to see me. He's the best friend with wings I've ever had and I don't know what I'll do without him. GET A PARROT!!.
From savannawinter Sep 22 2015 10:23AM
The Red-Bellied Parrot- A Charn\ming And Funny Companion!
This parrot was a total cut-up, and would constantly keep me laughing, especially with the sounds he could mimic. He could ring like the phone, so realistically, that I would run to answer it. I kept him for a women I knew that was in the service, and I enjoyed him very much. He had a very roomy cage, but was also out a lot, because he was very active, but easy to handle, and friendly. He ate a very varied diet, consisting of a commercial seed mix, supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables. He had a large cage, where he could physically fly around, and many types of toys, because these parrots are intelligent, and need to be kept busy, and have their minds stimulated. These parrots are generally healthy, but need their cages to be kept very clean, to insure that they stay that way. Some of these birds do have a fairly large vocabulary, but Rufus was mostly about sound effects. They are also very trainable, and can be taught lots of tricks!.
From clouddancer Jun 15 2013 1:08PM
Princess the Pretty Parrot
Princess came into our lives as my daughter's pet. But not long after she came into this family, I became the primary caregiver of Princess. I worked from home at the time, so I didn't mind taking the time to care for her. Princess kept me company. She loved listening to music and would appear to dance. I could tell when her favorite songs came on, because she would really dance, almost to the beat of the actual song. She would even make little singing noises like she was trying to mimic the singer.
Princess had a bad habit of making an ear piercing 'screech' sound throughout the day. The sound brought immediate stress to anyone who could hear it. I tried to keep her busy to prevent her from making this sound, because when I looked up reasons for it online, I saw 'boredom' as the main reason that these birds could be making this sound. Princess had plenty of toys, but seemed like she needed more than that to keep her busy. She needed lots of human contact.
There was lots for me to do at home, with work and taking care of the other pets, and doing housework. So it became quite difficult for me to pay enough attention to Princess. I started keeping her on my shoulder while I did things around the house, like doing laundry or dishes. She also sat on my shoulder while I worked at the computer. She even came outside with me to do things around the yard, like hanging laundry on the line.
Princess and I became very attached to eachother. But we had what people might call a 'love-hate' relationship. Because one minute Princess would do or say something cute or funny and the next minute, she would bite me. I just could not trust her because I never knew when that bite would come.
When I was real busy at the computer, and needed to be alone, I would put her on her perch outside on the porch. I used to wonder why our neighbors never complained about the loud noises that Princess would make while outside on the porch, but was glad to have a little peace and quiet from her. Sometimes, if that didn't help, I would make her take a nap during the day. I would shut the window curtains and shade and put the blanket on her cage. This didn't always work, and she would still make her ear piercing screech.
I discussed the possibility of getting rid of Princess with my daughter, because I felt that we needed to get rid of that part of the stress that the family was having to experience, especially me. I was with Princess more than 8 hours every day, and was really having a hard time dealing with the stress that she brought on.
We brought Princess back to the store we bought her from. That was a very hard day for me. And for about 2 weeks afterward, I cried for her almost every day. You see, she had become a big part of my life. She was a part of my daily routine. I used to sing to her at her bedtime, and sing her a good morning song when I woke her up. I struggled with my decision to get rid of her, but felt it was the best thing to do.
Parrots need a lot of attention. They need constant people contact. There's a lot to learn about caring for a parrot. If you are considering a Parrot for a pet, please do your research first. Thank you..
From cincjoy Mar 23 2015 5:49PM