Poicephalus parrots
Senegal Parrot eating fruit
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Superfamily: Psittacoidea
Family: Psittacidae
Subfamily: Psittacinae
Genus: Poicephalus
Swainson, 1837

The genus Poicephalus comprises nine species of parrots native to various regions of the Afrotropic ecozone, including Sub-Saharan Africa, ranging from Senegal in the west, Ethiopia in the east, and to South Africa in the south. Several of the species exist in slightly different forms (or subspecies).

They are stocky birds with short broad tails and relatively large heads and beaks for their size. (Poicephalus, from the Ancient Greek, literally means made of head). Several of the species show marked sexual dimorphism, where the adult male and female birds can be easily identified from variations in feather colouration, but in other species there is no sexual dimorphism or the differences are not so marked. They feed primarily on seeds, fruits, nuts, and leafy matter.

The Cape Parrot and Red-fronted Parrot form a superspecies complex.[1]

The Senegal Parrot, Meyer's Parrot, Red-bellied Parrot and the Brown-headed Parrot are popular as pets because they are easier to keep in apartments, being generally quieter and smaller, than most other companion parrots. Some Poicephalus parrot species are rare and not known or rare in captivity.



Common and binomial names Image Description Range
Senegal Parrot

(P. senegalus)

Grey head, green back and chest. Yellow, orange or red belly depending on subspecies. Africa
Meyer's Parrot

(P. meyeri)

Green, yellow under wings. Six subspecies with variable yellow colouration. Africa
Red-bellied Parrot

(P. rufiventris)

Mostly green and grey. Male has red belly. Africa
Brown-headed Parrot

(P. cryptoxanthus)

Mostly green and grey. Yellow under wings. Africa
Red-fronted Parrot

(P. gulielmi)

Mostly green, variable amount of red on head and shoulders depending on subspecies Africa
Cape Parrot

(P. robustus)

Mostly green, grey or brownish head and necks Africa
Rüppell's Parrot

(P. rueppellii)

Overall dark brown colour, head is dark greyish, yellow on legs and leading edge of wings, female has blue rump and lower back Africa
Yellow-fronted Parrot

(P. flavifrons)

Mostly green with a yellow head Ethiopia
Niam-niam Parrot

(P. crassus)

Mostly green with a brown head Africa


  1. ^ Massa, Renato; Sara, Maurizio; Piazza, Matteo; Di Gaetano, Cornelia; Randazzo, Margherita; Cognetti, Goffredo (2000). (fulltext) "A molecular approach to the taxonomy and biogeography of African parrots" Check |url= value (help) (PDF). Italian Journal of Zoology. 67 (3): 313–17. Retrieved 5 December 2010. 

External links


Eurasian Spoonbill This article is part of Project Bird Genera, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each genus, including made-up genera.
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