Species group: African Parrots
Other common names: Yellow-bellied Senegal Parrot (P.s. senegalus); Yellow-vented Senegal Parrot (P.s. mesotypus); Orange-breasted Senegal Parrot; Orange-bellied Senegal Parrot; Red-vented Senegal Parrot; Scarlet-bellied Senegal Parrot
Scientific name: Poicephalus senegalus
Working pet owners like the fact that Senegal Parrots can amuse themselves with their toys during the day, yet be ready to come out and play in the evening. They have a talent for mimicry, although they can mimic sounds like whistles and alarm beeps better than human voices. Oh, they'll try to talk, but they may sound a bit like a toy robot.
There are three natural subspecies of the colorful Senegal Parrot, so check with an expert if you decide to breed your bird, in order to avoid a mismatch. This widespread bird of central-western Africa can use a variety of habitats, with the nominate subspecies P.s. senegalus said to prefer the west African dry zone, while the Scarlet-bellied P. s. versteri appears to prefer the wet zone. According to the Wild Parrot Trust, this beloved species is one of the most heavily trapped wild parrots on the planet, with over three quarters of a million birds collected since 1981.
The Senegal Parrot is a popular African green parrot that looks like it's wearing a colorful orange V-neck sweater to show off its gray head.At first glance, it may be possible to confuse the Senegal Parrot with the male Red-bellied Parrot, (P. rufiventris), because of the pattern of gray head, green body, and orange V-neck “sweater.” However, the gray on the head of the Red-bellied extends past the back of the neck and also down in front to form a gray bib. The gray head of the Senegal is just that – a gray head. The breast and the back of the neck are green.
155 grams (5.5 oz.)
23 centimeters (9 in.)
20 - 30 years
Behavior / temperament:
There is huge variation in the personality of Senegal Parrots. In general, the hand-raised, domestic-bred birds are sassy pets that don't know their own size. They take to independent play naturally, and they are not terribly noisy, so they can make great pets for working apartment dwellers. As somewhat solitary birds, they aren't interested in sharing you with another bird, and they may try to dominate any other pets, such as the family dog. They can become one-person pets, so it's best to try to have everyone in the family work with the bird from the very beginning. At a minimum, each person should know how to confidently ask the Senegal to step on and step off a perch.
The bolder Senegal Parrots may try to dominate the unwary pet owner. They are capable of giving a hard bite and not letting go, so you need to be good at reading parrot body language, so that you can step away from the overloaded parrot or fill that busy beak with something to chew as a distraction. If you have any doubt about your ability to handle your parrot with kindness and respect, consult with a parrot behaviorist for the best techniques.
Some owners have reported a problem with fear or phobia. Oddly, a Senegal Parrot that isn't afraid to tell the family dog where to go, can be terrified by a hat or a balloon. If your pet is suddenly afraid of you, or if your pet has suddenly attacked you, look around and see what's different in your bird's eyes. Don't lose your pet's trust over some silly balloons. No one really knows why, but this species has a reputation for taking an irrational dislike to some inanimate objects. Give the bird a safe place to go where it doesn't have to see the hated object.
Since the Senegal Parrot often plays independently for part of the day, many 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. Here's where you need to observe your own pet. Some Senegals are timid, shy, or even phobic, and these birds sometimes become more confident in a smaller space that they can control. It's also 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. Senegal 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. Don't hold back, because Senegals that don't chew enough have developed problems with overgrown beaks. Some individuals apply their big brains to figuring out how to open doors and windows, so you may also need to invest in padlocks to secure the cage.
The Senegal Parrot 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.
There's some controversy about the best diet for Senegal Parrots. 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. While it's true that wild Senegals would eat plenty of seed, 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 Senegal 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 Senegal Parrot.
Written by Elaine Radford
Entertaining, wonderful companions, amazing tricks, great mimics
biting, attention seeking behaviors, aggressive, messiest parrot, loudest screeches, worst bite
frequent toy changes, active birds, fair talker, great second parrots, positive reinforcement training
Felek who turned out to be Fela :)
My mother was always in love with birds. She enjoyed the company of other animals and she truly loved all of our pets. However, she has always dreamed of having a bird. Therefore, dad decided to buy a Senegal parrot for her. She named him Felek and for two years he lived a happy life with us. He enjoyed the company of all family members. However, he truly loved my mother and he considered her as his only, true partner. He loved all kinds of food but he enjoyed seeds the most. He also loved mango and apples. We didn't need to groom him. He did it himself. However, he needed sand for bathing. He was loud, but it wasn't a problem for us. Still I realize it may be a problem for people who prefer to have a silent home.
One day my mother had an accident and after that she had to go to sanatorium for three weeks. Felek stayed at home with the rest of the family and then the problems begun. He missed my mother a lot. Because of that he started eating less and what was even more shocking he started pulling out his feathers. We were devastated and didn't know what to do. Later we learned that we were lucky because parrots who are too depressed can even bite their leg out :/
The vet said it may get better when my mother comes back home. Eventually, she went back but her parrot was already too mad at her. He didn't want her to pet him, he would attack her and punish her for the fact that she left him for so long. We had no other choice but find him a house where he could live with other birds and forget about my mother. We found a man who had a few Senegal parrots and he adopted Felek.
After some weeks we learned that he is getting better and his feathers have grown back. We were even more surprised when after a month we were informed that he turned out to be a girl! We decided that we should name her Fela :) She fell in love, laid eggs and started a family with her "husband" :D.
From Frankotolo Jul 29 2015 7:16PM
Keith, My Ideal Parrot
When I had first seen Keith in a local breeder's, I was surely in for a surprise. The breeders told me he couldn't speak, but as soon as they said that, he looked at me and said "Hello", and it was then I knew he was mine. My experience from day one has been a positive one.
The Senegal Parrot is notorious for making messes, but their habitat is still fairly easy to clean. My bird greets me every morning when I go to clean his cage and watches curiously as I fill his food and water dishes.
Depending on the bird's personality, you may get either a quiet student, or a party animal. Keith is somewhere in between. He sings every morning, but just a few fair whistles and occasional noises he picks up from outside.
I take him out of his cage everyday to spend some social time, but my bird can be extremely demanding and impatient, which is why I don't trust him alone with small children or strangers. Depending on his mood, he will either want to be rubbed, or literally bite the hand that feeds him. He can take off unexpectedly and fly around the living room, but that's always a glorious sight as he makes circles all throughout the perimeter.
His diet is easy to maintain, as I buy a mixed bag of seeds from the local pet store to satisfy his hunger. I personally give my bird a mixture of peanuts, pistachios, almonds, corn, sunflower seeds, and more. I occasionally give him freshly cut fruits like bananas and apples as snacks.
I love my Senegal Parrot, he has a few quirks, but don't we all? This breed as an average livespan of 80 years, and I'm excited to spend the rest of my life with this lovely bird..
From DaeMolyneux Apr 30 2015 7:57AM
I took care of this bird for my sister while she was in school, and boy was he loud. He was attached to her and due to a past owner disliked men, so he bit my father deeply a few times. He grew attached to my mother and vocalized a loud screeching when he was startled (his large cage was near the stairs, so that means whenever someone went p or down them, he yelled). The bird was very smart and my mother taught it many words, like how to say Kelly, Chico, banana, etc.. He also sang along to songs, making noises especially while Frank Zappa or AC/DC played. Once he was comfortable with my mother, he would let her pet his stomach while laying on his back in her palm, but he was an independent bird who needed lots of interaction..
From kelly_peace Feb 4 2015 4:51PM