INTRODUCTION TO POICEPHALUS BIRDS


The following is the introduction and conclusion of an article written by Eric D. Hilton. The information on each specific Poicephalus species is included on the species specific WEB page.


I would like to introduce you to the various species of birds that make up the Poicephalus group of parrots. Also the very important work of the identification of subspecies was done by members of the Poicephalus Section of the Parrot Society (UK).  We regret that this group no longer exits.  This work is to ensure that all the sub species are protected for future breeders. So we do not end up with a captive collection of hybrids. My comments are purely from a U.K. viewpoint and may not be necessarily the same in all other countries as to availability etc.

There are nine Poicephalus species and these are:

They divide up into possibly 24 or 25 sub species, some more immediately identifiable than others and they all originate from the continent of Africa.
The name Poicephalus is somewhat a misnomer, because in all other birds as far as I am aware, their Latin name usually describes the bird correctly. But in this is not the case with Poicephalus which means "green head" which none of the group actually have!!
All the species except the last two on the list (Yellow-Faced and Niam-Niam), are held in captivity by breeders in the UK. and most are regularly bred by members of the Poicephalus Section. [In the US, the last two are also not found. The Ruppell's Parrot is very scarse] They are all easy to keep and will breed well once settled. They can be kept either in bird rooms, large cages or outside aviaries. But must be kept in pairs. I have not heard of any breeding success, with birds held on a colony basis.
If obtaining one as a pet. Time must be made to allow it to play and exercise outside it's cage and regular interaction with you and other members of it's "family". Remember you are now it's substitute mate. So preening in the way of head scratching (The birds not yours) and play time is now your job. You wanted a pet bird, You have taken a lot away from it. You have to give a lot back.


In compiling this information may I give credit and my sincere thanks to the following:
J.M.Forshaws Parrots Of The World 3rd edition. For the initial identification of species, sub species and distribution.
Dr Roger Wilkinson for the descriptions of habitat given in a talk to the Poicephalus Section meeting in November 94
Olaf Wirminhaus, University of Natal South Africa for supplementary information on the Cape Parrot
Information on Ruppell's parrots was kindly supplied by Mr Alan Manning
Additional information on Jardine parrots was kindly supplied by Mr Ken Maddock
The many keepers, breeders and members of the Poicephalus Section I have met since becoming interested in Poicephalus birds, who without their unselfish sharing of knowledge, we would not have got this far in the understanding of these birds.
Not forgetting the birds that I keep, for being so understanding. While I have photographed them, studied them, "experimented" with their accommodation, nest boxes, food, metal enrichment and stimulation. Tried new ideas to make them more comfortable, when they were more than likely all right as they were!!
If you would like to comment about anything I have written here, either favourably or otherwise, please email me. You can either write to me at the above address or Via ETL.ETLECHN@MESTPSE.ericsson.se
Eric D. Hilton