Description of Jardine Parrot
The Jardine---Poicephalus gulielmi
The following information is a portion of an article written by Eric D. Hilton.
I have to admit, my personal favorite of all the Poicephalus Species. They
are larger than the other Poicephalus species except the Cape parrot.
Resembling a small amazon parrot than the Senegal, Brown Headed
Red bellied or Meyers, they originate in a band across Central Africa from
Liberia across to Tanzania. They are split up into 3 clearly identifiable
subspecies with a possible fourth.
To sum up as a rough initial guide. Poicephalus gulielmi gulielmi is a large
bird that has lots of color, a large beak and the back of its wings can be
described as practically black. Poicephalus gulielmi fantiensis is like the
gulielmi but is a lot smaller bird and the color is more orange than red.
Poicephalus gulielmi massaicus is a different shaped bird altogether with less
color. Usually just a small band above the cere of no more than 7mm.
- Poicephalus gulielmi gulielmi - The nominate race. This generally is a darker
green and is stockier than the other subspecies, with a larger beak. Comes
from Central Africa ranging from Cameroon, Angola east to south west Uganda.
Can be distinguished by its dark wing feathers which could be described as
practically "black" in some cases, because of only, the small green margins.
A large amount of red / orange on the forehead extending into the crown , also
on the thighs and fore edges of the wings in large areas.
- Poicephalus gulielmi fantiensis - Distinguishable from the other two
subspecies by being smaller, lighter in color but most noticeable, the
forehead, crown, thighs and edges of wings are marked in a definite orange not
orange / red, as in the nominate. Sometimes fading to yellow at the crown.
Some specimens have a yellow "wash" on the abdomen. The distribution of this
bird is West Africa from Liberia eastwards to Ghana along the Ivory Coast.
- Poicephalus gulielmi massaicus - Similar size to the nominate but a sleeker
bird with a smaller more slender beak. Tending to lack color on the head
until adult plumage. In adult plumage it is much paler with less red / orange
on the forehead, usually just a small band across the front of the head, not
extending to the crown, and only small amounts of color on the wings and
thighs. Also the backs of its wings have larger green margins so does not
give the same nearly black appearance as in gulielmi. Its range is in East
Africa from Southern Kenya to Northern Tanzania.
- Poicephalus gulielmi permistus: This is supposed to be an intermediate between
Poicephalus gulielmi gulielmi and Poicephalus gulielmi massaicus. But no
examples of this have been identified in the UK. Or any that I know of,
Habitat: Lives in the lowland rain forest and mountain cloud forest, dependent
on the subspecies the nominate and fantiensis in the former and the massaicus
in the latter. They have also been seen to come down to the edges of the
forest during the day, in search of alternative food but returning to the
canopy as dusk approaches. They have been observed feeding on wild olives,
the fruits of Podocarpus and Ceddrus, also the seeds from Spathodea pods.
Their nests have been observed to be mostly in living Podocarpus, Hagenia
abyssinica and Juniper trees.
Feeding: Similar again to all Poicephalus but I have not found they will take
live food like the Rüppell's. Also the smaller seeds are also ignored but the
demand for vegetables is increased. The addition of a multi vitamin / mineral
supplement additive is definitely beneficial, as these birds do seem to be
subject to a deficiency in Calcium and vitamin A. I have found some imported
birds to be very fussy eaters and do not consume a sufficiently varied diet.
[In countries of the world where good pellet diets are available,
it is encouraged that a pellet mix constitute at least half, if not more of
the total diet.]
Suitability as pets: These bird do make excellent pets being larger than the
others more like an amazon type bird without the obvious down side of a loud
voice and I have found them to be very sweet natured and will take to everyone
not favoring one person or another. They seem to be very good talkers.
Breeding in captivity: These birds do seem to have to be at least 5 years old
before they are interested in breeding. Although young hen that I have bred
was described by Andrew Greenwood as being "practically mature and ready to go
next year" when sexed at 14 months old. I have only recently been able to
find her a mate, so we will see. She is now 32 months old and although at first
somewhat wary of her more mature mate, is now extremely bossy and definitely
rules the roost.
I find that a nest box made of 6mm ply is adequate if the box is situated
indoors. It would need to be a bit thicker to cope with the cold if it was
positioned outside in the aviary. As again these birds can be winter breeders.
An acceptable size I have found is 24" high 12" square hung vertically
containing a mesh ladder for the birds to climb up and down. with approx. 2"
of wood shavings mixed with a little peat. One mistake I think I made at first,
was to give to much of the peat/ shavings mix. they spent most of the time just
moving it about and trying to get rid of it. So 2" is adequate as the birds
tend to lay their eggs on the bottom of the box with little shavings to rest
on and scrape the rest from the corners into the nest area as required to cover
faces from the chicks as they develop. have also found that their is no
particular breeding season for these birds and will breed throughout the year
this is not forced by taking eggs or chicks for artificial incubation and
rearing. As I firmly believe in parent rearing where possible. I have also
noticed that cock birds do share the incubation. I was unsure of this fact at
first but I am now convinced. The birds lay 2 to 3 eggs in two day intervals
but I have known the second egg to be laid after 3 days they usually start to
incubate after the second egg has been laid and incubation takes between 25
and 27 days. They should fledge at about 10 weeks being independent some 3
weeks later. But in my experience with one pair, fledging takes place at 12 to
13 weeks and the parent reared youngsters have not been fully weaned until at
least 18 weeks and in one case as late as 21.
Sexing: Again DNA or surgical is the only sure way but visual sexing can be
attempted, in some birds the head of the cock bird is larger and flatter on
the crown also the iris of the cock is an rusty orange color and in the hen
it is a more brownish orange.
© 1996 African Parrot Society
Last updated: May 2, 1996