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.

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