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Senegal Parrot – Everything You Need to Know

Senegal Parrot

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Senegal parrot is the most popular pet bird among Poicephalus species, and for good reasons! This species may not be as flashy as other parrots. But its outgoing and playful personality, despite its intense looks and piercing gaze, makes it a prized pet bird.

Does African Senegal spark your interest in adding a medium-sized bird to your flock?

In this article, we’ll help you navigate the Senegal parrot’s world and decide whether this bird fits your needs.

In particular, you’ll discover about:

  • Senegal’s origin and distinctive physical features
  • How much are Senegal parrots worth, and where to find them 
  • And their caring needs and potential health issues

Whether you want to have Senegal parrots as pets or just want to gain some insight into this bird species, you’ll benefit from this comprehensive guide. 

So, let’s dive right in!

Species Overview

Scientific name: Poicephalus senegalus
Size:  10 inches
Weight:  4 to 6 ounces
Wingspan:  6 inches
Talking Ability:  Can learn to talk and mimic
Lifespan:  20 to 30 years, but others can live up to 50 years

senegal parrot size and characteristics

Meet the Senegal Parrot A Medium-sized Bird With a Big Heart

The Senegal Parrots, also called Sennies, are charming birds with a dark gray head, yellow irises, and green wings and chest.

Depending on their subspecies, they exhibit a V-shaped patch of color ranging from yellow to orange hues.

Subspecies of Senegal Parrots

There are two Senegal parrot subspecies: Poicephalus senegalus senegalus with distinct yellow chest vest and P. s. versteri that features a deep orange chest vest. 

Both species are monomorphic, which means male Senegal parrot and their female counterparts are identical. So, a surgical sexing procedure or DNA test must be done to tell the sexes apart. 

African Senegal parrot size ranges from 9 to 10 inches long in adulthood, and their wingspan measure around 6 inches.

So, these stocky birds belong to medium-sized breeds.

Senegal Parrot Origin and Habitat

The Senegal parrots inhabit a vast range of woodlands in central western Africa. They belong to the Poicephalus genus, a group of 10 parrots species from Central Africa that feature stocky bodies, short tails, and large heads and beaks.

These birds frequently migrate within their range to look for native fruits, seeds, and blossoms— the key to their survival in the wild. 

african senegal parrot's temperament

Senegal Parrot Temperament

African Senegal parrots are comical, entertaining, and affectionate pets that like to sit on their favorite human’s shoulder and create a strong bond. 

They may not be as popular as African grey and cockatiel, but they’re easygoing and playful and can pick up some words too!

However, some Senegals can be “one person” birds who may not want to interact with other family members except their favorite person. 

While it’s not always the case, it’s helpful if all family members will interact and spend time with them to ensure one-bonding won’t occur. 

You must also know that Senegal parrots can be nippy sometimes. So, they’re not the best pet birds for families with small children. 

Senegal Parrot Egg Laying and Mating Behavior

Senegal parrots’ breeding season occurs during the end of the African rainy season, which falls from September to November. 

They prefer to nest in a hollow tree at a considerable distance from the ground. It takes around four years for Sennies to mature; others will not breed until they’re 6 to 7 years old. 

How many eggs do Senegal parrots lay?

Female Senegals can lay 3 to 4 eggs that hatch out 7 to 28 days later. Like other birds, the females are responsible for incubating the eggs

They’re easy to breed in captivity, but they’ll need a spacious aviary with leafy branches on which they can perch. 

They may also chew on these branches to minimize boredom and exercise their beaks. So, you must ensure they’re non-toxic. 

Senegal Parrot Intelligence and Talking Abilities

Now, we’re down to one of the most exciting parts and most asked questions about this parrot.

Are Senegal parrots smart?

Senegal parrot pets are intelligent and can talk and mimic human speech. Although they aren’t as great as African Greys and Budgies, they can learn dozens of words and speak. 

What age do Senegal parrots talk?

There’s no definitive age at which Senegal parrots start to talk because it varies depending on the bird. Some owners report that their birds started mimicking words at six months, but others didn’t talk until they were a few years old. 

Do Senegal parrots scream?

If you’re worried about them being screamers, here’s good news! Senegals aren’t screamers because they’re more into whistling and clucking. 

But how loud are Senegal parrots?

African Senegal parrots aren’t silent, but you can expect that they’re quieter and less screechy than other parrot species. 

where to find senegal parrot for sale

Where to Find a Senegal Parrot For Sale

Senegal parrot price varies depending on their personality, plumage quality, size, and whether it’s wild-caught or raised by breeders.

So, how much do Senegal parrots cost?

Senegal parrot price ranges from $800 to $1,500. You can either purchase them from breeders or adopt them from rescue centers. 

Senegal parrots are easygoing and friendly. They’re less likely to end up in rescues unless they lose their home due to unforeseeable circumstances. 

But, you may find one through the following breeders and adoption organizations:

Senegal parrot adoption may be less costly than purchasing them directly from breeders. But you should note that it’d take time before the bird fully adapts to your home and open up with you. 

But how can you find a quality Senegal parrot?

Here’s a simple guideline on how to distinguish a healthy Senegal.

  • Choose bright, alert, and active Senegal parrots.
  • Look out for birds sitting quietly with puffed feathers because they may be sick. A healthy avian’s feathers must be smooth and shiny and lay down flat. 
  • Check if their vent or cloaca, the opening where they expel their wastes and urine, is clean, dry, and free of feces. 
  • Examine their feet if their scales are smooth to ensure they’re free from scaly leg mites.
  • Check if their nails are in excellent condition and their beak is smooth and in shape. 
  • And lastly, check their nostrils to know if it’s clear and clean. 

Following those tips can make wise purchasing decisions and choose a healthy Senegal bird. 

Senegal Parrot’s Predators and Threats

African Senegal’s enemies in the wild include raptors, snakes, monkeys, and giant cats. They’re also vulnerable to habitat loss, poaching, and extensive hunting. 

Since these parrots tend to steal farmers’ food, many consider Senegal parrots pests. 

So, their archenemy is actually humans.

Senegal Parrot Conservation Status

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List, Senegal Parrots’ population is decreasing due to illegal trading. 

But it’s difficult to estimate their population in the wild due to Senegal Parrot’s extensive range. Many are trapped in the pet trade, even if the Wild Bird Conservation Act strictly prohibits it. 

No significant national decline has been noted yet, which is why the IUCN listed Senegal parrot as “Least Concern”. 

how long do senegal parrots live

Senegal Parrot Average Lifespan

How long do Senegal parrots live? The average lifespan of these birds ranges from 20 to 30 years. 

But those who were cared for immaculately can reach up to 50 years! 

It’s good news for those looking for a lifetime feathery companion. But it also means a lifetime commitment. 

However, several health problems can shorten their lifespan; we’ll dig into that below. 

Common Health Issues of Senegal Parrot

Senegals are generally healthy but susceptible to these common avian health issues.

Aspergillosis

It’s a fungal infection that causes respiratory diseases and problems in pet birds like Senegal parrots, specifically in their:

  • nose
  • sinuses
  • eyes
  • trachea
  • lungs 
  • air sacs

Acutely infected birds may suffer from dehydration, appetite loss, diarrhea, and difficulty breathing and die quickly from respiratory distress. 

This disease is challenging to cure since the infection’s location, and the body’s attempt to wall off the fungus will restrict the drug’s ability to get into the fungus. 

Tip: Keep your bird’s cage clean and provide your pet with a balanced diet to reduce the chances of infection. If you’re living in an area with a warm or humid climate, ensure adequate ventilation. 

Avian Bornavirus

This virus brings about proventricular dilation disease(PDD), a neurological and gastrointestinal problem that causes:

  • abnormal and uncoordinated movements
  • balancing difficulty
  • tremors
  • paralysis
  • self-mutilation
  • aggression 
  • poor digestion
  • weight loss
  • and seizures

There’s no cure for PDD, so the treatment can only treat secondary infections like inflammation. 

Infected birds must undergo lifetime isolation to prevent the spread of the virus.

Prevention Tip: Quarantine new birds before introducing them to the flock. 

Being overweight

Your Senegal parrot is prone to heart diseases if overweight or obese. One of the leading causes of obesity in birds is eating too many seeds without enough fruits and vegetables.

But you can avoid it by giving your bird a balanced diet. 

senegal parrot pet

Care Tips for Senegal Parrots

Here are a few ways you can properly take care of your Senegal Parrots:

Socialization and Mental Stimulation

Senegal parrots are social birds who enjoy human interaction. They don’t need a fellow feathery companion as long as you give them enough attention. 

But how much attention does a Senegal parrot need?

It’s best to spend 1 to 3 hours interacting with your bird. You can either talk to them or play with them. 

But you’ll have an affectionate and loyal bird by showering your Senegal parrot with love and affection daily. 

senegal parrot diet and nutrition

Diet and Nutrition

Senegal parrots aren’t picky eaters, but they tend to be overweight. So, you must ensure their diet is balanced nutritionally.

So, what can a Senegal parrot eat?

Senegal parrots in the wild mainly feed on fruits, vegetables, grains, leaf buds, and seeds.

What fruits can Senegal parrots eat?

We compiled a short Senegal parrot food list to help you find the right food for your bird. Here are some of the vegetables that are edible for parrots like Senegal.

  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Cucumber
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas

On the other hand, these are the vegetables they’d love to eat. 

  • Spinach
  • Watercress
  • Field lettuce
  • Poppy
  • Chickweed
  • Dandelions
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Endives
  • Sweet potatoes 

Those in captivity would benefit from having pellets as 70% of their diet.

But you must ensure that the pellets are high-quality and tailored to Senegal’s nutritional needs. 

Can Senegal parrots eat cucumber?

Yes, Senegals can have cucumbers as part of their diet, but you must prepare them to make the flesh readily available to the birds.

Cucumbers are packed with nutrients and water, which benefit your bird’s health. And you can serve it either raw, boiled, mashed, or sliced. 

Can Senegal parrots eat peanut butter?

Parrots can eat peanut butter but contain a carcinogenic substance called aflatoxin. Therefore, it can be harmful to parrots. 

senegal parrot cage size

Senegal Parrot Cage Size and Housing Accessories

How big of a cage does a Senegal parrot need?

The minimum cage size for Senegal parrot is 20 x 20 x 28 inches. But your Senegals would love it if you could give them a larger bird cage, aviary, or spacious room. 

Your birds can get bored in a cage without mental stimulation and socialization. 

So, here’s a pro tip for fighting boredom! Give them lots of toys that can stimulate them and keep them occupied, like:

  • Bells
  • Balls
  • Wooden toys
  • Chewable leather
  • Foot toys
  • Climbing ropes
  • Chains
  • Swings
  • Perches

Grooming and Hygiene

Good hygiene is crucial not just for your bird’s health but for your family as well. Keeping your bird and cage healthy takes time, patience, and sweat. But these are all part of the responsibilities you must carry out should you pursue being an avian parent. 

But how often do Senegal parrots poop?

Bird poop frequency varies depending on their diet, exercise, and health, but medium-sized parrots like Senegals poop around every 30 minutes. 

So, bathing should be part of your routine at least twice a month. If your bird is noticeably dirty, bathing once every other week should be enough.

It’s essential for feather maintenance and skin hydration. 

Now let’s talk about molting. 

How often do Senegal parrots molt?

African Senegal parrots 1 to 2 times a year. And their advantage over larger parrots is their molting process only lasts a couple of weeks. 

Exercise 

Senegals need at least an hour a day outside of their cage to play, fly, interact and explore. They’d love to climb and show off some tricks and acrobats. 

It’d be even better if you could provide them with swings, ladders, and other toys outside their cage to have more fun. 

Rest

Birds need adequate rest as much as we do. So, part of caring for them is ensuring they get a good night’s sleep. 

How much sleep does a Senegal parrot need?

Senegals need around 12 to 14 hours of continuous sleep, which can be supplemented with naps during the daytime. Therefore, Senegals are diurnal, active in the day but turn into sleeping beauties at night. 

How do Senegal parrots sleep?

Wild Senegals usually roost before sunset and wake at dawn. And like most parrots, they can sleep with one foot or hang upside down. 

How to Bond With Your Senegal Parrot

Here are some tips for creating a stronger relationship with your bird should you pursue purchasing a Senegal.

1. Place your Senegal cage in a centralized location

By putting your bird’s cage in living rooms or dens where people often hang out, there’ll be more opportunities for interaction. That can also make your Senegal bird feel part of your family.

Never put them in the kitchen because they’re sensitive to smells, especially with Teflon-coated cooking wares that are toxic to birds. Avoid locations in your home that experience significant temperature changes.

2. Separate your Senegal parrot from other birds

Parrots may bond more with their fellow avians than you if you’d introduce them too early.
So, if you want to establish a strong bond with your Senegal parrot pet, we recommend keeping him away from other birds first.

3. Talk to your parrot

Senegals are intelligent parrots; the more you talk to them, the higher the chances they can speak. So, try greeting them whenever you walk into the room.

You can also help stimulate their brain by playing music, singing to them, and reading books aloud.

4. Feed your Senegal with treats with your hands

Feeding your birds using your hand can help to foster positive relationships and build trust. So, the next time you offer your Senegal some treats like sunflower seeds, it’d be best to hand feed him.

5. Play games together

Birds enjoy games like peek-a-boo, chasing, and fetching. So, if you have time, try incorporating those games during your bonding time.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Senegal Parrot

Are Senegal parrots good pets?

Senegal parrots have earned a good reputation for their outstanding pet quality, relative quietness, and calm temperament.

They can be comical and entertaining too and learn some words and tricks. However, they can become one-person birds who may not want to interact with other family members.

Are Senegal parrots good for beginners?

Senegal parrots are great pet birds for beginners due to their easygoing personalities. They’re also easy to tame and highly trainable!

Are Senegal parrots cuddly?

Hand-raised and well-socialized Sennies are affectionate and playful with their owners. However, wild-caught and poorly-socialized birds are more likely to be skittish and feel distant from their humans. 

Are Senegal parrots nippy?

Yes, Senegal parrots can be nippy sometimes due to fear or stress. Therefore, biting itself isn’t the only problem.

Parrots need 1 to 3 hours of socialization time. So, if they won’t get enough of it, they may feel stressed, bored, and sad. 

How can I make my Senegal parrot happy?

Toys are a must for Senegals if you want to keep them happy. You can give them macaw-sized toys such as bells, balls, perches, wooden toys, chains, and swings. 

Why do Senegal parrots hang upside down?

Hanging upside-down is a sign that your bird feels secure, happy, and healthy because he’s comfortable enough to do a vulnerable stance. Parakeets, parrots, and cockatiels commonly do this playful action. 

Do Senegal parrots pluck?

Feather plucking and screaming are usually due to boredom. Poorly socialized birds which lack daily enrichment and those unhappy with their environments may also exhibit this behavior.  

Can Senegal parrots see in the dark?

Parrots can’t see properly in the dark because their eyes have fewer rods and more cones. Therefore, their light-sensing photoreceptors are low, meaning they have poor night vision.

This isn’t a massive problem for them though, since they’re diurnal birds active during the day and sleep at night. 

How loud is a Senegal parrot?

Senegals can produce 89 decibels of noise, so they’re typically considered one of the quietest parrots. They tie with Red-bellied and Meyer’s Parrot in terms of average decibel level and are less loud than Macaws and Sun Conures.

Are Senegal parrots good for apartments?

Since Senegals aren’t screamers, they make a good option for those living in a larger apartment. But budgies, cockatiels, parrotlets, Pionus parrots, lovebirds, Bourke’s parakeets, and mini macaws are more suitable for apartment living. 

Is Senegal Parrot the Right Pet For You? – The Final Verdict

Senegal parrots are more easygoing, calm, and quieter than other parrots but can also be comical and entertaining. They’re the epitome of beauty and brains.

So, if you’re looking for a bright bird with a colorful personality and decent talking ability, they may be the one for you.

But, these African Senegal parrots tend to become one-person birds. On top of that, they can bite pretty hard when angry or upset and may injure children with sensitive and tiny skin.

If you want to know other family-friendly bird options, check out this helpful list.

READ NEXT: Top 10 Best Pet Birds for Families

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