Description of Red Bellied Parrot
The Red Bellied---Poicephalus rufiventris
The following information is a portion of an article written by Eric D. Hilton.
The Red Bellied is similar in shape and a slightly larger bird than the Senegal
and the Brown headed but here the sexes are sexually dimorphic (that means
different). A green/grey colored bird with green under parts except for the
cock bird which has as its name suggests "a deep orange belly" (who comes up
with these names) ? It is also differentiated from the other 2 by having red
iris not yellow as in both the Senegal and the Brown headed.
There are possibly two sub species of this bird:
There is also a particular feature of some examples of Red Bellied parrots,
that has not yet been satisfactorily answered. That is, some have paler eye
rings than others, this is being investigated by members of the Poicephalus
Section. As to whether this is, the pallidus subspecies or not, or even yet
- Poicephalus rufiventris rufiventris: The nominate, its range is from Ethiopia,
south to north eastern Tanzania.
- Poicephalus rufiventris pallidus: This is supposed to be paler than the
nominate race and comes from Somalia into Ethiopia but possible examples of
this have not been identified satisfactorily as yet.
Habitat: Lives in dry woodland and the open savannah
Suitability as pets: As with the other poicephalus, these birds make very
good pets. For some reason, many cock birds I have seen have been good
talkers, but with only a limited vocabulary. I have however never heard a hen
speak but I can see no reason why this is so. I don't feel at present, because
of the situation regarding the shortage of cock birds that they should be kept
as solitary birds. So if you do want one of these birds as a pet consider a
hand reared hen and teach it to speak and let me know.
Breeding in captivity: It is commonly accepted like the Senegal and Brown
Headed, that these birds will not breed until they are about 3 to 4 years of age.
The Red Bellied like most of the Poicephalus species breeds in our winter
months. They lay normally 4 eggs. They lay with a two day interval between
eggs. Incubation is carried out by the hen and lasts for about 27 to 28 days
dependent on the ambient temperature. Commencement of the incubation is usually
after the 2nd egg has been laid. The young leave the nest at approximately 9
weeks and are independent at about 12 to 14 weeks. The nest box size I can
recommend is a bit larger than the Senegal at 24" high by 10" square again
filled with a wood shaving and peat mixture of three parts shavings to one
part peat by volume.
Accommodation: Similar to the Senegal, they can be kept in cages or aviaries.
Inside or outside or as I prefer a combination of the 2 with an outside aviary
connected to a suspended inside cage so the birds have a choice. They are fed
inside. This keeps most of the food remnants in the inside accommodation so
making cleaning easier. This also keeps the food dry and uncontaminated and
helps to reduce the problems associated with vermin etc.
Sexing: Easy, in adult plumage the cock has a orange belly, the hen has a
green one. Young birds of both sexes have an orange wash to the belly. But an
experienced breeder of these birds will be able to sex them for you.
© 1996 African Parrot Society
Last updated: May 2, 1996