Senegal Parrot (Poicephalus senegalus)

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Senegal Parrot
Poicephalus senegalus
Senegal Parrot (Poicephalus senegalus)
Name Senegal Parrot
Name Lat. Poicephalus senegalus
Family Parrots
Family lat. Psittacidae
Order Parrots
Order lat. Psittaciformes
Origin Africa
Climate Tropical
Diet Parrot seed, veggies, fruits
Keeping Pair, group
Care Level Easy
Reproduction Cavity nest
Life Span 20-30 years
Protection CITES Appendix II; EC Annex B
Metric Units
Size 23-25 cm
Temperature Room temperature
Housing 200 x 100 x 100 cm
US Units
Size 9.1"-9.8"
Temperature Room temperature
Housing 80" x 40" x 40"

Distribution and habitat

The distribution area of the resident Black-headed Parrots is West Africa, from Senegal to Ghana and Nigeria. They live in savannahs with trees and open forest areas as well as in cultivated land up to 1,000 m altitude.

Cage size

The minimum cage size is 200 x 100 x 100 cm (L x W x H) for a pair. The cage size must not be undercut even in case of justified single keeping. For an additional 2 birds, assuming species compatibility, the floor space must be increased by 50%. The cage must be placed at a height of at least 80 cm (except aviaries) in a bright, draught-free and quiet place and should have cross-wiring or netting. Keeping in an aviary with a floor area of at least 2 m² is preferable to keeping in a cage.


The floor must be covered with sand, beech wood granules or similar material and cleaned once a week if possible. At least 2 perches made of wood or branches of different thickness and height shall be installed in such a way as to provide the longest possible flight path. A bathing facility should be available at all times, alternatively they can be sprayed with water at least once a week (e.g. sprinkler system). In addition to hiding places (burrows or half burrows), they need climbing and occupation material, such as rings, ropes and natural branches that are harmless to health. They should be kept at room temperature.


The species-specific food offer consists of mixed seeds, available in specialized trade as "parrot food" in premium quality, supplemented with foxtail millet, green fodder (dandelion, chickweed, melder, etc.), half-ripe corn cobs, fruit, berries (rowan, dwarf medlar, pea pods, etc.), rose hips.), half-ripe corn on the cob, fruit, berries (rowan, dwarf medlar), vegetables (chicory, carrots, pea pods, etc.), rose hips, plus fresh twigs with buds and, especially for rearing young, sprouted feed (corn, wheat, millet) and egg feed. As a digestive aid they need grit, sepia and vitamin lime. Water must always be available in birdbaths or in stable, open containers. Feed and water must be offered fresh daily, and the containers must be cleaned beforehand

A varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms.

Reproduction and breeding

The females usually have a smaller head than the males. A reliable sex determination is only possible by endoscopy or better by genetic analysis (DNA)

They breed in nest cavities made of hardwood or in hollowed tree trunks. The clutch consists of 3 to 4 eggs, the incubation period is 25 days. The breeding season is, biologically speaking, year-round. During the breeding season they may be kept only in pairs (not in groups). Young birds should be raised so that they are species-specific.

Species protection

They must be identified in accordance with Appendix 6 of the Federal Species Protection Ordinance. The animal population must be reported to the competent authority in writing immediately after the start of keeping

Species protection: WA Appendix II; EU Appendix B. The proof of purchase is the required proof of origin for the animal. Please keep it safe! Your pet store will be happy to provide you with further information.


In the case of outdoor aviaries, they also need a heated shelter of at least 1 m², which can be visited by the birds at any time. The temperature in the shelter must not fall below 10 °C and the furnishings must correspond to those of cage housing

There are subspecies, which are distinguished by the coloration of the belly (light yellow to orange-red). They may be kept only in pairs or in a group and not chained or on a hanger. In rooms, including shelters, adequate daylight or flicker-free artificial light (stroboscopic effect) corresponding to daylight shall be provided. The lighting duration shall be 8-12 hours per day and the natural day-night rhythm shall be observed. Adequate indoor climate should be provided. If caged, they should be allowed free flight. The health condition of the birds should be checked daily.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: Othmar Sieberer; Image: petdata

Source: BMELV (1995): Tierschutzgutachten - Mindestanforderungen an die Haltung von Papageien; ARNDT (1997): Lexikon der Papageien, Arndt Verlag; GRUMMT & STREHLOW (2009): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Vögel, Verlag Harri Deutsch 

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF