Meyer's parrots are small, stocky birds that are closely related to the Senegal parrot. They are known for being calm and quiet birds so they often make great pets for people in apartments or other small spaces.
Knowing more about these birds can help you provide the type of care they need to stay healthy and happy.
Common Name(s): Meyer's parrot, brown parrot, Sudan brown parrot
Scientific Name: Poicephalus meyeri
Adult Size: 8-9 inches, about 4 oz.
Life Expectancy: 20-30 years
Origin and History
Meyer's parrots are native to Africa and can be found in wild woodlands and grasslands traveling in pairs or small flocks. The largest populations are found in Botswana, but they can also be found in a variety of other countries.
They were named in honor of the German ornithologist Bernhard Meyer and were first described in 1827.
These parrots are social, laid back, and observant birds. They can be affectionate and appreciate regular handling with neck scratches without being too demanding for attention. If well-socialized, Meyer's parrots are usually gentle and not considered to be big biters. They are often happy to play with or shred a toy while watching what's going on around them.
Speech and Vocalizations
While not big talkers, Meyer's parrots can learn a few words and sounds. The occasional screech may occur, but most of the vocalizations coming from a Meyer's parrot will be mimicked sounds from their environments, along with whistles and clicks.
Meyer's Parrot Colors and Markings
Meyer's parrots may not be as brightly colored as some other pet birds, but they have their own earthy appeal. A green to turquoise body, greyish black or brown neck and head, brown or black wings and tail, and a little yellow on the wings and head describes both the males and females of this species. Subspecies may have variations of these colors with varying amounts of yellow on the wings and head.
Caring for the Meyer's Parrot
While all birds require time and attention, Meyer's parrots are relatively low maintenance when it comes to care. A cage with strong bars and plenty of space is, of course, necessary for safekeeping when supervision is not allowed. They also need ample time for exploring and to watch the world around them.
They are usually quite satisfied with another bird or a human that they can bond with, toys to shred, fresh food, and neck rubs.
Common Health Problems
Like most birds living in climates that are not like their native habitats, Meyer's parrots can be prone to getting respiratory issues from drafts and chills as well as unclean environments.
Pneumonia, aspergillosis, feather mites, liver disease, and viral infections can all affect Meyer's parrots. Regular veterinary care can help detect issues before they become major problems, but prevention is best with a proper diet and clean living space.
Diet and Nutrition
Seed mixes are still commonly fed to many birds, but high quality, pelleted bird foods are actually more balanced dietary options for many avian pets, including Meyer's parrots.
Pelleted diets should still be supplemented with a variety of rotating fresh fruits, vegetables, and the occasional piece of cooked pasta, bread, or sugar-free cereal as treats. Seeds should be the minimal part of the diet instead of the majority.
Meyer's parrots are often happy to destroy a toy and hang out on a perch, but they still need to be allowed time outside their cage. If a safe flight area is available, it's always a good idea to allow a bird to fly, both for its mental state and physical exercise.
Quiet for a small parrot
Happy to play with toys by itself for periods of time
Not as cuddly as some other birds
Not as brightly colored as some other birds
Where to Adopt or Buy a Meyer's Parrot
Historically, Meyer's parrots were not easily bred in captivity, so this quality combined with having less color than their cousin, the Senegal parrot, made them a less commonly seen pet bird. Now that breeders that focus on this species have been successful, some parrot rescues may have them available for adoption along with speciality bird stores.
PetFinder.com, RescueParrots.org, and PEAC.org are just a few online resources to find a Meyer's Parrot, and your local avian veterinarian may know of some Meyer's parrot breeders nearby.
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