Cape Parrot Care Sheet

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Scientific Facts

Scientific name:Poicephalus robustus
Mass:340 g (Large Adult)
Higher classification:Poicephalus


The Cape parrot is a short-tailed ascetically big bird with a very big beak used to bang all kinds of hard nuts and fruit seed, particularly those of African yellowwood foliage (Podocarpus spp.). These differences with the thoroughly connected savanna type (Poicephalus fuscicollis), which fodders on and an extensive diversity of tropical forest trees, for example, marula, Commiphora spp. and Terminalia spp. These types are sexually dimorphic, with females characteristically generous an orange anterior patch on the forehead. Adolescents likewise show a bigger orange-pink cover on the temple but dearth the red on shoulders and legs of grownups. These down physiognomies differ between individuals and amongst the three documented forms.

Distribution and Habitat

The Cape parrot is widespread in South Africa. It arises in Afromontane woodlands at reasonable heights in eastern South Africa from the seaside cliff near sea-level to the midlands at about 1000m. These woodlands arise as a sequence of small covers everywhere in the south and east of South Africa and are subjugated by yellowwood foliage (Podocarpus latifolius, Podocarpus falcatus, and Podocarpus henkelii). Cape parrots partake a disjunct circulation with the main population everywhere in the Amathole foothills of the Eastern Cape Province and ranging east, with more than a few large breaches, through the Mthatha escarpment in addition to Pondoland in the Eastern Cape and the southern midlands of KwaZulu-Natal Domain to Karkloof, nearby Pietermaritzburg.

A minor populace, of about 30 individuals arises over 600 km to the north in the Magoebaskloof zone of Limpopo Province. Cape parrots are inattentive from big areas of Afromontane woodlands, for example, those along the southern shore of South Africa, near Knysna, the higher height Afromontane woodlands in the Drakensberg foothills of KwaZulu-Natal, or the restrained-altitude woodlands of the northern KwaZulu-Natal province then Swaziland, which distinct the KwaZulu-Natal midlands in addition Limpopo escarpment inhabitants. All of these parts are within the dispersion variety of the parrots, and there are longstanding archives of Cape parrots from northern KwaZulu-Natal.


Over one hundred P. robustus parrots are reserved as cage birds, furthermost of which are barren-caught birds though they do strain sensibly well in confinement. Up to the present time, there have not been any fruitful issues of confined birds, and the existence of this type is reliant on habitat preservation to uphold desolate populations. Craft and transfer of barren-caught Cape parrots from South Africa have been completed unlawful by the global CITES agreement and by South African regulation. They are sporadic as pets, notwithstanding low-levels of continuing unlawful assortment and craft. Those that are held in reserve have established wonderful characters and a talking skill that competitors their greater counterpart the grey parrot. A minor trade continues in the interrelated Grey-headed and brown-necked parrots.


There are contradictory orderings of this populace due to the presence of three physically detached but thoroughly connected forms that vary in environment, dimensions, and plumage. The leading view of the ornithological communal, particularly in Africa, reflects these as two types, with the mild, montane woodland home Cape parrot, P. robustus different from the savanna type, P. fuscicollis, counting the brown-necked parrot, P. f. fuscicollis of West Africa as well as the grey-headed parrot, P. f. suahelicus of eastern in addition southern Africa. This view is reproduced in the 2011 IOC World List (accepted by several, counting Wikispecies, as the worldwide standard) along with new evaluations and field directors from Southern Africa. These might be 3 discrete types; nonetheless, this view needs corroboration through revisions of plumage, biology, and hereditary difference within and between the two arrangements of P. fuscicollis.

The manifold type clarifications are reinforced by the absence of overlay in circulation between the 3 forms, by the diverse biomes and nutritional partialities of the Cape parrot (P. robustus) and the further two forms (which arise in diverse kinds of tropical savanna) and by incomplete information on mitochondrial DNA changes among formulae. The Birdlife International taxonomic specification of the world’s birds fights with these foundations by seeing all three forms as the category of a solitary type Poicephalus robustus. This difference influences the apparent global preservation rank of these parrots.

More thorough hereditary investigation of the three taxa printed in 2015 long-established the vividness of brown-necked and cape parrots, viewing that descendants of the two had deviated amid 2.13 and 2.67 million years previously—in the late Pliocene to the primary Pleistocene era. This dated was a period of variations in weather, where prairie and woodland were increasing and constricting, which controlled to separation and, ultimately, speciation of distinct populations.

The term Cape parrot only put on firmly to the form in South Africa. The term un-cape parrot has increased partial admiration as an over-all name for the 2 savanna forms (as “brown-necked,” used by most springs, is an imprecise account of the “grey-headed” form in the east African grassland).

Conservation status

The IUCN Redlist 3.1, which applies the Birdlife International checklist, bumps the common and extensive grey-headed parrot with Cape parrots and brown-necked parrots, respectively, of which are more barely dispersed and more endangered, leading to a valuation of least worry. These differences with other calculations of the South African endemic P. robustus, as threatened and possible endangered rank of the brown-headed parrot of West Africa. There are lone about 400 in the desolate, and the Cape Parrot Project is trying to preserve them.

Hundreds of helpers contribute on the opening weekend each May in the “Cape Parrot Big Birding Day,” which is a yearly count of the populace throughout its circulation. The parrots are comparatively easy totally at any woodland reinforcement due to their characteristic outlines, measured, ‘rowing’ flight, and loud calls. Totals are completed in the evening as parrots arrive at perch covers and in the next morning as the parrots leave. A comprehensive survey of the population is hard to attain, though, as these forests are disjointed, and there are inadequate helpers to count the more distant reinforcements.

There are two problems in attaining a detailed count since the birds fly long reserves for nourishment and might be ‘double-counted’ at equally nourishing and settling places. Counts augmented from around 500 samples in May 2000 to over 1000 in current years, though this may be mainly clarified by an upsurge in the specific places that were totaled. The parrots are chiefly endangered by the deadly psittacine beak and feather disease virus (BFDV), and there have been proposals that a food substantial in yellowwood fruits momentously reduces the indications, though this has not been empirically examined.

Their home is being abridged by sorting and alteration of African yellowwood trees, in specific the damage of old vegetations and dead snags with appropriate nesting craters. The facility of nesting containers has had some achievement and bids some confidence for cumulative the percentage of breeding individuals.

Nature, Personality & Comportment

They are a friendly bird nonetheless not overly demanding of the owner’s time as long as they have their models to keep themselves full of. They are very active. To overawed its coyness, it must be visible from as loving an age so that they can regulate to new conditions in a healthier way.

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Health problems

You can be certain that the wellbeing of these parrots is just similar to their build – robust and strong. These fit birds reach their lifecycle of equal to 60 years without much worry, and they have the lowermost odds of skin and feather illnesses. With sufficient elementary care and communication, you will not worry about keeping your pet well. Guarantee a lot of workouts – these are big, robust birds with a beautiful large wingspan and a lot of vigor to apply.

Most health difficulties ascend out of the deficiency of suitable nourishment and maintenance. These are:

Aspergillosis or respiratory illness

Mycological, microbial and viral contagions

Calcium deficiency illness

Feather picking


Psittacine beak and feather illness

Have a vet on a routine checkup basis to save the odds of such problems rising to a minimal.


The value of a cape parrot is $3,000-$3,500.

Speech and Sounds

Like a lot of parrots initiating in Africa, the Cape parrot is likewise prodigious talkers. Some even associated their aptitude with those of the African Greys, which speaks a lot. In addition to the prodigious talking capability, they do take some lurid natural noises. Nonetheless, don’t fear, since Cape parrots are usually tranquil and are not frequently heard. Most of the period, they are gratified with talking, either silently to themselves or with you. This makes them appropriate for studio settings; nonetheless, due to their big dimensions and wingspan, they will still require a great deal of space.


With a mixture of a prevailing, honorable figure and colorful feathers, the Cape parrot surely enthralls with its general presence. The leading hue is avocado, and it shelters the stomach, thighs, and center wings. The cranium, nape, and torso are gray with chocolate flecks all over. The upper wings are dark, with the very anterior edge being bright ginger. The flight feathers are ashen.  Other attractive particulars are the two carroty bands on their ankles – comparable to tiny socks. With this delightful mixture of insignia, the little particulars, and their big cream tinted beaks, the Cape parrots are certainly attractive birds!


You will be able to find this kind of bird in local pet shops, especially the ones catering to special kinds of birds. It will also help to get in touch with your local bird breeders for more referrals.

Where to obtain one?

If you are in search of this particular kind of bird, then it will certainly give you tons of great ideas and answer by getting in touch with professional bird breeders and owners. Through them, they will be able to give you referrals and recommendations as to where and how to properly care for your bird.


Breeding ecology and nesting necessities of Cape Parrots in their normal environment and confinement were examined. Limited nests were found, signifying that nest-sites are restrictive and that the parrots partake exact nesting necessities. Nests were subordinate hollows in dead Podocarpus spp. (twigs), high up in woodland canopy foliage. Breeding typically happened from August to February; nonetheless, it was pragmatic in other months, chiefly in confined birds. Clutch scope diverse from 2–5, gestation was by the female and continued 28–30 days, with fledging an additional 55–79 days. In confined birds, the ovaries are developed at 2.5 years; nonetheless, age at primary breeding is typically at 4–6 years.

Fun Facts

There are 9 types of Poicephalus parrots; nonetheless, only 4 types are usually reserved as pets: the Meyer’s Parrot, Senegal Parrot, Red-bellied Parrot in addition to Brown-headed Parrot.

Bodily, Poicephalus parrots are measured as an intermediate-sized parrot.  They have thickset forms, big heads, and beaks in addition to short tails.

Poicephalus parrots are frequently labeled as relaxed, warm, playful, and inquisitive.  Though they do need everyday communication, they likewise can be self-governing and entertain themselves if on condition that good enhancement and heaps of toys to gnaw.

These average-sized parrots are not as loud as numerous other parrot types, and they favor a silent home setting.  Given good socialization, they can pledge to the whole family and make outstanding pets and faithful friends. 

Poicephalus parrots are also brainy and can frequently learn to exchange and achieve tricks.

Poicephalus parrots are innate to the African landmass. Their home is branded as open forests and grasslands.

This type of diet consists of fruits, leaf buds, and kernel.  They are likewise measured to be agrarian pests due to their liking for corn and millet harvests.

Poicephalus parrot nests in sapling craters.

Many of the Poicephalus types are endangered by unlawful tricking actions for resale to the pet craft.

The Cape Parrot populace is meaningfully scarce by Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD).  Miserably, as of 2010, solitary an assessed 1200 Cape Parrots were outstanding in the barren.

Poicephalus, derivative from Ancient Greek, meaning “made up completely of the head.” Surely, the birds in the Poicephalus type appear to have big heads and beaks comparative to their figure size.

The solitary hue you don’t find on a Poicephalus parrot is azure.

The Zulu designation for the threatened Cape Parrot is “uPholi”

Poicephalus parrots have been contained on postage brands by numerous nations counting Guinea, Chad, and Cambodia.

Equally, Cape Parrot and Grey-headed Parrot (GHP) females typically have a coral pink top covering on the temple. GHP mature females constantly partake in this. CAPE mature females might have as slight as a few flushed feathers or characteristically the entire pink patch.

Youngsters of equally Capes and GHP’s frequently have fairly a lot of cool orange/flushed on the cranium, which can spread beyond the top, and in near cases, the young GHPs can take a completely rosy cranium.

The eyes of young birds are dim, and the beak is snowy, and the tip is not similar as in mature birds where it is frequently very elongated and sharp and is disordered with being dense nonetheless is ordinary.

Discrete birds might have the strange buttery feather; nonetheless, that is usual and displays feather folliclue harm at one fact.

It looks that the birds of both Capes and GHP’s typically look like the mature females in this respect – though, after the primary molt, the new males drop the colored feathers from the cranium through the young females drop the generalized color and grow the distinguishing localized forehead cover of color.

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Proper Care


If you can pay for a walk-in birdcage, then obtain one with a measurement of as a minimum 7 ft (213 cm). The bird can likewise be contented in a birdcage with sizes of 4’x4’x4’. Deliver it with destructible models like plant tanned leather, timber blocks, pasteurized pine cones, as well as non-destructible ones.

Likewise, mount some parrot roosts made of ordinary timber for the bird, as it will benefit in keeping the nails and beak in form.


Temperatures amid 50°F-90°F (10°C-32.2°C) must be contented sufficient for your Cape parrot.


Your cape parrot can be nourished apples, oranges, bananas, and prepared pulses and beans, simmered corn, wholegrain bread, as well as carrot, cheese (low fat), celery, peas in the pod.

As with all parrots, do not fodder your pet avocado, especially chocolate, as they can be possibly poisonous for the bird.

Cape parrots must be nourished a pelleted food – rather, one that covers a readily functional calcium foundation to help avert calcium absence. Feed around 1/3 cup of pelleted nourishment every day complemented with roughly 1/3 cup fresh fruits and vegetables to enhance diversity. Treats might be prearranged in small quantities, particularly as rewards for good performance. Fresh, unsoiled water must be given each day. Vitamin enhancements are not required for birds that are eating a pelleted food, though, birds kept as enclosed pets may progress signs of calcium deficit that can be a grave health danger. Normal or full-range light might help treat the issue.

For birds nourished a kernel diet, vitamin supplementation is essential. Vitaminized kernels have vitamins extra to the shells that are castoff by the bird when it noshes. Add vitamins to soft nourishments somewhat than water, subsequently vitamins, and their supplementary sweeteners endorse microbial development in water.


Repetitive bathing or sprinkling is dynamic in maintaining good feathers and skin state. Birds can be mist over and permissible to dry in a warm area or the sun, or they can be dried up with a blow dryer. Maintenance must be taken not to clasp the wing feathers disproportionately as heavy-bodied birds might fall and hurt themselves. Clasp only sufficient, so the bird will glide to the ground.


The bird must be immersed frequently, if possible, with a mist-spray. You can let it dry itself under the sunlight, or make use of a blow-dryer for the resolve.

Trim the nails to evade wound to yourself, and clasp the wing feathers just sufficient so that when the bird takes the trip, it slides down to the ground, therefore evading wound, particularly with weighty-bodied birds, who bang down to the ground if the wings are pared too much.

Unsoiled the inclusion of the bird on a steady basis.


Toys are extremely significant to Capes. Most Capes LOVE to snap tiny timber beads, and just foot toys with features of beads are sufficient to keep them full and amused for hours on end. Base Toys are a MUST– a stainless steel pail filled with them is a great inkling for Capes. They likewise incline to love tinny shares of softwoods, particularly pine timber. I also distinguish numerous Capes that love to gnaw on soft plastics. Bizarrely, Capes do not appear to be enthusiastic shredders. As for the scope of toys, they can grip comparatively big toys because of their tough beaks; nonetheless, diversity is a decent thing. Foraging and scheming toys are likewise a prodigious idea for Capes to retain their bright minds full. Lastly, swings are a necessity.


Capes are tremendously lively birds and will do finest in the complete largest cage you can pay for. A good least birdcage scope, though, is perhaps 32″ by 24″ (similar to the Avian Adventures Mediana). Cape Parrots have very robust beaks, and by itself, they can effortlessly chip and skin away at the dye on powder-covered birdcages. Though it is not a requirement and scope is debatably more significant than material, it is certainly a good impression to reason about advancing in a stainless steel birdcage for these parrots.


P. r. robustus originated in dangerous southeast parts of South Africa (Cape Province, Natal, and Transvaal). These birds’ craniums and necklines are greenish to yellowish tan.

P. r. suahelicus originated in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. These birds’ craniums and necklines are silver ashen.

P.r. fuscicollis originated in Gambia, Senegal, Ghana, and Togo. These birds are similar to Suahelicus nonetheless partake more bluish-jade form feathers.

Whereas cape parrots can animate to about 30 years, most endure for only 15 or 20.



The Cape Parrot has measured a long-lived type and can animate up to 30 years in confinement. They are measured private, non-regional nesters and start breeding at 4–5 years of stage, only breeding in substitute years. It is a subordinate hollow nester, favoring high, dead yellowwoods named ‘snags.’ Breeding happens all year round, nonetheless typically points from August to February. Subsequently, a gestation period of 28–30 days, the female gives a normal of 4 eggs.

Even though 4 eggs are laid on usual, only 1 or 2 are frequently hatched and fledged. Equally, parents join the nest and vomit nutrition to the young; nonetheless, the female appears to devote more period in the layer. The chicks fledge at 55–79 days afterward, which they persist in clusters with their parents and last to be nourished by both parents.

Family life

Flock scope is infrequently greater than 10 folks and is frequently family clusters (a mature couple with 2–4 youths or non-breeding birds). Though Cape Parrots perch mutually in large Eucalyptus or yellowwood trees along the uppermost edges and at these places herd dimensions may upsurge to 20–70 birds as numerous groups combined. Between stages of activity, birds can be understood inactive or grooming. Grooming comprises rubbing and stretching behavior.


Friends and foes

Cape Parrots are predisposal kernel predators, nourishing mainly on the seed of yellowwood trees, whereas the seed is still young and hard. These seeds are indigestible for other frugivores, whereas still green. Therefore, these parrots can consequently feat this food foundation beforehand any other frugivores can fodder on the yellowwood seeds. They are specialized to eat yellowwood seeds that are too big for most of the other bird’s type originated in South African forests.

Smart strategies

The Cape Parrot has a very big beak used to crush all kinds of solid nuts and fruit seeds, particularly those of the yellowwood foliage. The Cape parrot fodders on the yellowwood fruits though these are still green and inedible to further frugivorous type, giving them permitted admittance to these pods.

FAQ Section

Can Cape parrots talk?

Their noises are comparatively flamboyant, predominantly when flying. They are talented to learn to impersonate a human’s language, and are effortlessly skilled to ‘speak’ and to do numerous tricks. The Poicephalus robustus is frequently jumbled with the grey-headed parrot and the brown-necked parrot.

What do Cape parrots consume?

Cape Parrots are nutritional experts feeding chiefly on endocarps of Podocarpus type, nonetheless likewise infrequently fodder on other woodland fruits. Periodic variations in food type eaten reproduced the altering handiness of fruits.

How long do brown-headed parrots animate?

They can animate up to 30 years, on condition that good maintenance is assumed. Though, most animate only 15 to 20 years. Speaking aptitude: Some Brown-headed Parrots may absorb to converse (some are extra gifted than others) — nonetheless, normally speaking, their conversation capability is measured sensible.

Are there parrots in South Africa?

The Cape parrot is widespread in South Africa. It is of utmost normally found in the woodlands of the Eastern Cape, widening up the east shoreline to KwaZulu-Natal and, to some gradation, Limpopo. Though, there are big breaches through this circulation part in which they are not originated.

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