Poicephalus meyeri - Meyer's Parrot

All photos on this page are copyright © by Diego Recanati @flayagain

Meyer’s Parrot – Poicephalus meyeri (Cretzschmar, 1827) – is a small but stocky African parrot. They are widespread in a large geographical area and as such not threatened – according to the IUCN Red List, which lists Meyer’s Parrot as Least Concern.

Normally they fly in pairs or in small flocks but can be gathered in large flocks if there is enough food in an area.

In captivity, they do not require as much attention as, for example, Cockatoo or Amazon parrots. They should be provided with toys like fresh branches, leather strips, wooden blocks etc. They are relatively quiet and calm parrots – they do not need to clown around, but prefer to sit still and gnaw at their toys while observing carefully what is happening. They are social birds and relate to the whole family and are very suitable for as domestic birds. They can learn to whistle and imitate words but are not so proficient as e.g. Grey Parrot.

Meyer’s Parrot  has a risk risk of developing aspergillosis – avoid contact with contaminated birds, ensure a good balanced diet without peanuts and keep the cage clean to prevent aspergillosis.

The average lifespan is 20-25 years with proper care.


Head, back, wings and tail are dull brown or grey/brown. Yellow stripe across the crown. The bend of wind, lesser wing coverts and underwing coverts are yellow. The lower chest to tail coverts and rump are turquoise green.  Yellow thighs. The bill is dark grey. The eye is orange/red with a grey/brown eye ring.

Size: approx. 21-25 cm
Weight: approx. 90-165 gram



Six subspecies are recognized:

  • Poicephalus meyeri meyeri (Cretzschmar, 1827) : Nominate form, see description above.
  • Poicephalus meyeri damarensis (Neumann, 1898) : Similar to meyeri and transvaalensis but in general paler and the yellow stripe on the crown is absent.
  • Poicephalus meyeri matschiei (Neumann, 1898) : Similar to meyeri but darker brown color and dark grey underside of flight feathers. The yellow band across the crown is smaller. The underparts are washed with blue and the rump is bright blue.
  • Poicephalus meyeri reichenowi (Neumann, 1898) : Similar to meyeri but darker brown color and dark grey underside of flight feathers. The yellow band across the crown is absent.
  • Poicephalus meyeri saturatus (Sharpe, 1901) : Similar to meyeri but head and upperparts are darker brown. The undersides of flight feathers are dark grey. The rump is green with a pale blue tinge.
  • Poicephalus meyeri transvaalensis (Neumann, 1899) : Similar to meyeri but the head and upperparts are paler. The yellow stripe on the crown is small or absent. The lower underparts more bluish color. Rump is bright blue.


Meyer’s Parrot are native to the woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa. They are especially common in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, but can also be found in several other southern and central African states: Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Congo, Angola, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Namibia.

Near food sources they are can be seen in pairs or small groups of up to 50 birds. They can also occasionally be seen in suburban areas but they are shy and wary.

The subspecies are native to the following areas:

  • Poicephalus meyeri meyeri (Cretzschmar, 1827) : Northern Cameroon and southern Chad to Ethiopia and northern DR Congo.
  • Poicephalus meyeri damarensis (Neumann, 1898) : Southern Angola, northern Namibia and nort-western Botswana.
  • Poicephalus meyeri matschiei (Neumann, 1898) : South-eastern DR Congo and central Tanzania to eastern Angola, n orthern Zambia and northern Malawi
  • Poicephalus meyeri reichenowi (Neumann, 1898) : Western Angola.
  • Poicephalus meyeri saturatus (Sharpe, 1901) : Eastern DR Congo to western Kenya and north-western Tanzania.
  • Poicephalus meyeri transvaalensis (Neumann, 1899) : Southern Zambia and western Mozambique to eastern Botswana and north-central South Africa.


Wild birds feed on fruit, seeds, nuts, berries as well as different cultivated crops and some insects.

They especially like seeds from the various leguminous trees

Captive birds should be feed a diet based on pellets e.g. ZuPreem supplemented with fruit and vegetables. Avoid peanuts due to risk of aspergillosis!


Meyer’s Parrot nests in hollow trees.

The clutch typically consists of 3-4 white eggs. The female incubates the eggs for approx. 28 days, the chicks leave the nest about 60 days after they are hatched.

Photo Credits

All photos on this page are copyright © by Diego Recanati – see more of his photos on Instagram: @flayagain



  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Psittacidae
  • Genus: Poicephalus


  • Danish: Meyers Papegøje
  • English: Meyer’s Parrot, Brown Parrot
  • French: Perroquet de Meyer, Perroquet brun, Youyou de Meyer
  • German: Goldbugpapagei, Goldbug-Papagei
  • Portuguese: Papagaio de Meyer
  • Spanish: Lorito de Meyer
  • Scientific: Poicephalus meyeri

IUCN Red List

BirdLife International 2016. Poicephalus meyeri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22685304A93066983.
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