|Poicephalus meyeri saturatus|
|Conservation status||Least concern|
Meyer's, or the brown parrot (Poicephalus meyeri), is a small species of parrot of the family Psittacidae, and native to central and southern Africa. First described to science in 1827, it was named in honor of German ornithologist Bernhard Meyer.
Meyer's parrot is small, about 8 inches in length, and has a body weight between 3.8 to 6.3 ounces. Adult birds have grayish-brown plumage on the head and upper body; with the wings extended the blue-colored rump is exposed. Wing carpal joints bear a bright yellow marking. Underparts are a bluish color, varying from blue to turquoise among the subspecies. Three subspecies (P. m. matschiei, P. m. meyeri, P. m. saturatus) bear yellow markings on top of their heads. Beak, nose skin and feet are black to grayish-brown, and the eyes are orange-red. Young birds are a brownish green with slight yellow markings up to the age of twelve months.
In the wild they screech, and may erupt into continuous shrieks when agitated or alarmed. Like many other parrots they may mimic sounds that they hear. In captivity, however, they are generally quiet, yet may learn to say some human words.
- Poicephalus meyeri damarensis; southern Angola to northern Namibia and north-central Botswana
- Poicephalus meyeri matschiei; southeastern DR Congo to Tanzania, eastern Angola, northern Zambia and northern Malawi
- Poicephalus meyeri meyeri; northeastern Cameroon to southern Chad, southern Sudan into South Sudan, western Ethiopia, and Eritrea
- Poicephalus meyeri reichenowi; western Angola
- Poicephalus meyeri saturatus; northeastern DR Congo, Uganda, western Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and northwestern Tanzania
- Poicephalus meyeri transvaalensis; southern Zambia to northern Mozambique, eastern Botswana and northern South Africa
In their extensive range, Meyer's parrots inhabit the most diverse habitats. Although they prefer wooded areas, they can also be found in savannas, in bushland, in cultivated land, and in single trees that are near rivers; wherever they are, they are never far from water. Meyer's parrots exist in pairs or in small groups of three to five birds together, and if the food supply is large, then they can be found in groups of up to 30 birds. They feed mainly on seeds, nuts, berries and various fruits; they will also take advantage of cultivated lands, and feed on corn and fruit crops.
The breeding season varies with the latitude in which they are found. Northern birds begin breeding in December through January, while southern birds breed as late as August. Nests are made within cavities of trees anywhere from 10 to 40 feet above the ground, and often they are the previous holes of of other birds.
Eggs are laid in a clutch of up to four, and are glossy-white in color. Incubation is done by the female, and lasts from 26 to 31 days. Chicks are fed regurgitated food by both parents, and fledge in 8 to 10 weeks. After about 13 weeks, they leave the nest.
Relation to man
Meyer's parrot was once considered a threatened bird, primarily due to the international trade in exotic pets; in 1981 it was recorded that a total of 75,387 birds were traded. Believing in a species reduction, an assessment was made where it was determined the species has an extensive range, with the trade itself having a small impact at the time. Still, to curb the illegal trade it was necessary to regulate it; the species was placed within CITES, Appendix II, while private avicultures set up breeding facilities to sell on the pet trade.