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Origin: Central-western Africa
Coloration: Overall green, while paler and more yellow on the rump; tail brownish-green; lower breast and abdomen yellow tinged with orange; grey bill and head; yellow iris and brown legs.
Diet: 65-80% high-quality commercial diet (pellets, crumbles or nuggets). The rest of the diet should consist of 15-30% vegetables and 5% fresh fruits, with an occasional nut. Use many varieties of fruits and vegetables, washed thoroughly. No avocados or fruit pits. See Basic Nutrition for Psittacines (Parrot Family) for more information.
Cage Size: Minimum 30" H x 36" L x 30" W
Grooming: Trim beak, nails, and flight feathers as needed. Compatibility/Disposition: May do well with others of this genus and other parrots if introduced at a young age. Can otherwise be very territorial and aggressive.
Vocalization: A quiet voice. Good with mimicry and often develop extensive vocabularies. Sounds include low-key whistles, chirps, squeaks, and assorted chattering. In the wild, their call consists of short screeches and high-pitched whistles.
Playfulness: A shy bird that needs consistent gentle handling to remain tame.
Life Span: 35+ years
Age at Maturity: 2-3 years
Nesting Sites in the Wild: High in hollow trees.
Breeding Season: September-November
Sexing: Reliable only by DNA or endoscopy.
Special: Physical development is precocious compared to other parrots.
The Senegal Parrot is a bird of open woodland and savannah. It nests in holes in trees, often Oil Palms, laying 2-3 white eggs. The eggs are about 3cm long x 2.5cm wide. It is a gregarious species, continuously chattering with a range of whistling and squawking calls. Senegal Parrots live an average of approximately 25-30 years in the wild, but have been known to live for 50 years in captivity.
Senegals are quite entertaining in some of their more comical behaviors, such as rolling up in a cloth, lying on their back, or hanging and swinging upside down for extended periods. Although not great talkers (comparatively), they can and will learn to mimic and have a relatively quiet voice. Their antics, size, and more reticent nature make the Senegal a good choice for apartment dwellers. Average cost is from $250-$700, depending on whether purchased from a breeder or a retail store.
The Senegal Parrot is about 23 cm long, plump-looking, and weighs about 125 to 170 gm. Males are generally larger and heavier then female birds. Adults have a charcoal grey head, yellow eyes, green back and throat, and yellow underparts and rump. The yellow and green areas on a Senegal Parrot's front form a V-shape and resemble a yellow vest worn over green. Immature birds are duller, with a lighter grey head and grey eyes. Senegals are not sexually dimorphic, but there are some hypotheses on how to tell the genders apart; it is thought that a female's beak and head are smaller and narrower than the male's and also, the V-shape of the vest is usually longer in females, so that the green area extends down over the chest to between the legs whereas in males it ends midway down the chest.
There are three generally recognized subspecies. They do not differ in behaviour, but only in the color of the "vest". In the pet trade, the nominate subspecies is the most common though all three are raised and sold as pets.
Poicephalus senegalus senegalus (the nominate subspecies): The vest is yellow. Its native range includes southern Mauritania, southern Mali to Guinea and the Island of Los.
P. s. mesotypus: This subspecies has an orange vest. It comes from eastern and northeastern Nigeria and Cameroon into southwest Chad. (this is Shilo )
P. s. versteri: The vest of this subspecies is red. Its native range is the Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana east to western Nigeria.
Senegal Parrots as pets
The Senegal Parrot has recently begun to be bred in captivity and is the most popular Poicephalus parrot in aviculture, with the Meyers Parrot being the second most popular. They can live up to 40 or 50 years in a safe clean home.
Hand reared Senegal Parrots make excellent pets, and, like all Poicephalus parrots, they are curious, fun-loving animals that are much "mellower" compared with many other parrots. They are acrobatic, amusing, and generally sweet. They are able to speak in a limited fashion, often with a high squeaky voice, and can learn to mimic many sounds such as whistling, kisses, microwave beeps, and smoke alarms. They do not make very loud noises, like some parrots do. They are known for their jealousy of other family members and pets. They can develop a bond with only one human and refuse to interact with other people, even attacking them in some cases. Although a Senegal is a small bird it does not seem to believe so, and will attack larger birds and even dogs if it feels it or its human is threatened. Owners should be cautious in multiple-pet homes. Continuing to socialize the hand reared pet bird from a young age and letting many people handle and interact with it can prevent single-person bonding and allow it to become an excellent family pet.
Wild-caught Senegal Parrots do not make good pets, because they do not become tame and they will always be frightened of humans. The Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has made the trade of wild caught parrots illegal.
In the wild the Senegal parrots eat seeds, nuts, berries and fruit. For your pet, ready made staple seed mixes are usually available at your local pet store or super market which contain a mixture of canary grass seed, white millet, yellow millet, oats and groats and red millet, niger seed and linseed. Some higher quality seed mixtures come with thistle, anise, rape, sesame, and safflower seed. Vitamin pellets with iodine in them are sometimes present to prevent thyroid problems. Store seed in a dark but airy place. Not in plastic bags but in a clothes bag in a closet. Offer fresh foods such as eggplant, green peas, cucumber, young dandelion greens, sweet corn, beet greens, carrots, unsprayed lettuce, green peppers, sorrel, spinach leaves, tomatoes and zucchini. Fruits that are suitable are: Pineapples, apples, apricots, bananas, most other fruits.
Don't feed your bird chocolate or avocados. These foods have been implicated in the death of many birds and should not be fed to senegals. Alcohol or caffeine are a definite 'no-no'.