Jean "The African Queen" Pattison
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The Meyer's (Poicephalus meyeri): They love loving you.
The Meyer's parrot is the second most available of the little ones. Meyer's have been described as a shyer bird. I don't think they are shyer, I believe they are a softer bird. They do not seem to be as athletic as some of the others, more to the easy going, roll-with-the- flow type of bird. Toys should be puzzle type toys, and things to work with and study. Meyer's seem to enjoy working on knots in rawhide for endless amounts of time, or trying to see why the little bell stays in the plastic cage. Meyer's are not the best talkers of the bunch, although some have been known to be outstanding. They seem better at sharing their person than the Senegals. Meyer's radiate love, they are the happiest when they can be loving you. I recommend them for young adults about 10 years old and up, and also for families with small children and common sense.
The Red-Bellied (Poicephalus rufiventris): The clowns of the group.
The Red-Bellieds are the third most common of the Poicephalus. They are happiest playing and acting silly. Red Bellieds are show-offs, and that includes in front of company. They are one of the only parrots that don't just clam up, and will talk (even jabber) in front of strangers. Of the Poicephalus I think they are one of the best talkers. Red Bellieds can play with anything. In a cage with no toys, I believe they would make them up. I have seen them playing and attacking something in their flights and walk over to investigate and find nothing there. They play sometimes just to get your attention, and playing dead is one of their favorite attention getters, as well as standing on their heads. They will do just about anything to get in on the activity. Red-Bellieds have gotten a reputation of being on the nippy side. There seems to be much confusion when buying a Red-Bellied regarding what different breeders claim their temrerament to be. I believe early on we had a lot of insecure breeders and that nervousness became apparent in the babies. Red-Bellieds had a harder time coming through quarantine, and were very nervous stressed birds. I think the breeder pairs now are long time captives and have finally started to settle down. Consequently the calmness is reflected in the chicks causing them to be less high stung and fearful. I do not see as much nippiness as I once did. I recommend them for adult families, not small children.
The Brown-Headed (Poicephalus cryptoxanthus): The blind date-not much on looks but what a great personality.
Brown-Heads are very close to the Meyer's in personality. If you are happy with a plain looking bird, and don't have to have all the flash and color, you can't go wrong with a Brown-Headed parrot. I have heard reports they can be similar to the Senegal in their possessiveness , but I have not found this to be the case. Their talking ability is somewhere between a Meyer's and a Senegal. I recommend them for young adults, families with small children and common sense.
The Jardine's (Poicephalus gulielmi): The best characteristics of the Amazon parrot - in African.
Jardine's are the Amazons of the Africans. Plain and simple, they just love being alive. They live for life. They play constantly, and can entertain themselves for endless hours. They love being cuddled, and scritched, hopping around, chasing things and swinging. When they know they have been bad they have this little John Wayne walk, kind of sideways, and look at you with a cocked head. One of their big drawbacks is playing dead, takes years off of me. Most seem to enjoy being on their backs, on the bottom of the cage, in the food cup, or on their perch while holding onto the cage with one foot. They can be fairly good talkers, the voice quality can be almost as good as a Grey, but they usually don't use the good voice - more bird like. I recommend them for families, and young adults.
The Cape (Poicephalus robustus): The gentle giant.
Cape parrots are a very gentle affectionate bird. Some liken it to a cockatoo, without the demands of the cockatoo. They are fairly quite and unobtrusive when kept as a pet. Breeders on the other hand can be very vocal and almost obnoxious. They are capable of entertaining themselves with the simplest of things, much the same as a Meyer's, and also swing and play like the Senegals. I have found their talking ability to be limited to a few words and phrases. Perhaps because of their bigger size they seem to be very deliberate and purposeful in their movements and mannerisms. Although I do sell a few of mine as pets, at this time in aviculture, I believe they should be put in other breeding situations.
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