The Meyer’s Parrot is among the smallest of the African parrots. It has an easy-going disposition and is a quiet bird, making it a good choice for apartment dwellers. As with all of the Poicephalus parrots, such as Senegal and Cape Parrots, they are entertaining and playful birds, and make excellent avian companions.
Information On The Meyer’s Parrot
According to parrots.org, the Meyer’s Parrot, known by the scientific name Poicephalus meyeri, is comprised of 6 races. This small, companion parrot is commonly referred to as the Brown Parrot or the Sudan Brown Parrot. It weighs between 3.4 and 4.7 ounces (100-135 grams) and reaches a length of 8.2 inches (21 cm). Their name comes from German naturalist Bernhard Meyer.
Meyer’s Parrots are native to inland areas of sub-Saharan central and eastern Africa. They can be found in many types of woodlands including savanna woodlands and wooded grasslands. The various subspecies all have their own regional ranges.
The different races or subspecies all have very similar coloration, with the body primarily grey/brown with a blue/green lower breast. They have grey/brown eyes and eye rings with a bare cere. Meyer’s Parrots also have a yellow stripe across their crown and on their wings. The races are distinguished by variations on the amount of yellow and in some cases turquoise coloring on their breasts. Captive breeding has blurred the lines between the subspecies.
Males and females look very similar, with males often having a slightly larger and square-shaped head. If you need certain verification as to the sex of your bird, then DNA testing is the best option.
What To Look And Listen For In A Meyer’s Parrot
This short, stocky parrot is playful and laid-back. They love to be the center of attention and are fun to watch as they play with their toys, as this video below shows. Numerous toys are essential to their physical and mental well-being and should be rotated to avoid boredom.
Meyer’s Parrots are not known to be good talkers, though they may learn a few words and mimic some household sounds. Take a look at this video below to see and hear this bird. Their calls are usually low, though when alarmed they can growl and shriek.
What Can I Expect From A Meyer’s Parrot?
These parrots are energetic little birds that do not demand your constant attention. They are often content to play and amuse themselves in their cages for a good part of the day. Keeping an interesting supply of toys and perches is critical here, and they love opportunities to climb and swing.
But that doesn’t mean that you should ignore them, as they enjoy being held and played with. As young birds, they are very adaptable to new situations, but as they get older are less happy with new surroundings or diets.
These birds are one of the best choices in parrots for a family with children. Beautyofbirds.com cautions that to avoid the bird bonding to one person, it is important to allow it to have plenty of time with all family members. With proper socialization, your bird will usually be friendly with everyone.
Being smaller birds, their beaks are not large and imposing. They do use them, however, and can sometimes be a little nippy and try to guide your behavior through strategic bites. This is especially true of males as they mature to adulthood. Watch your bird’s behavior and avoid letting it fall into bad biting habits.
Observation will reveal the bird is pinning its eyes and showing other signs before biting. It may be feeling territorial, and these small parrots can give a good bite if they get the chance, so caution is advised.
You should let your Meyer’s Parrot acclimate itself to your home when it first arrives, and give it several days to get used to your voice and presence. As these birds are readily bred, you can often obtain hand raised babies that are already fairly tame. With patience, they can be taught several words and some tricks.
If considering an avian friend for your parrot, keep in mind these are calm birds that like to amuse themselves. Other Meyer’s Parrots make the best companions for them, and they often do very well when raised as a pair. That being said, they also do very well in a one parrot home.
How Do I Care For My Meyer’s Parrot?
Your parrot will do best when kept at temperatures between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They need a roomy cage with plenty of space for climbing and toys to keep them occupied and fit. Minimum is 20 x 20 x 18 inches high, but a larger cage or aviary is preferred if the bird will be inside for much of the time. Bar spacing should be 5/8-3/4 inches. Cages with play tops are enjoyed by these slightly territorial birds.
The cage needs to have plenty of perches, swings, and toys. A rough or cement perch placed as the highest perch will often negate the need for nail clipping. Baths and showers are appreciated, as can be seen in this video below. Inadequate bathing can lead to feather damage and plucking. These birds molt in response to the seasons, hormones and damaged feathers.
Your bird needs to be fed a healthy diet, which in this case consists of a well-balanced pellet diet supplemented with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and some limited amount of seeds. These parrots can be prone to becoming overweight, so watch the fatty seeds and give them plenty of apples, grapes, and leafy vegetables.
Breeding is legal and there are many captive bred birds available to parrot owners. In their native Africa, their mating season follows the rainy season and is in the fall. They will lay two to three white or brown eggs at two-day intervals. You will need nest boxes to breed these birds, and according to proaviculture.com, the male does all the box preparation.
How Healthy Are Meyer’s Parrots?
With proper care, Meyer’s Parrots will rarely get ill, and the oldest recorded captive Meyer’s Parrot living almost 35 years. On average they live 20 to 25 years. They can get parrot fever, bacterial and viral infections, and can feather pluck if bored or sexually frustrated.
How Much Does A Meyer’s Parrot Cost?
You can obtain a hand-raised Meyer’s Parrot for anywhere from $500 to $950. Expect to also pay several hundred dollars for a nice cage and the toys and accessories that your bird will require. Add to this a yearly food bill that includes a steady diet of fresh fruits and vegetables to adequately budget for your bird.
Is This The Right Bird For Me?
If you would like a bird that will not demand constant attention and is good with multiple human companions, the Meyer’s Parrot is a good choice. It is playful, affectionate and somewhat self-sustaining. This hearty little parrot will become a well-loved member of your family.