Meyer's Parrot

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Meyer's Parrot
In Zimbabwe
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Superfamily: Psittacoidea
Family: Psittacidae
Subfamily: Psittacinae
Genus: Poicephalus
Species: P. meyeri
Binomial name
Poicephalus meyeri
Cretzschmar, 1827
Meyer's Parrot, range and races

The Meyer's Parrot (Poicephalus meyeri) is a small (about 21 cm, 90-130g), stocky African parrot. Meyer's parrots display a dull brown head, back and tail, green or blue-green abdomen, blue rump and bright yellow markings on the carpal joint of the wings. Most subspecies have some yellow on the top of the head as well. Forshaw (1989) recognizes six subspecies of P. meyeri which vary in home range, size and in markings, including the extent of yellow markings on the head and wings and intensity of turquoise markings on the abdomen and rump. The name commemorates the German ornithologist Bernhard Meyer.[2]

Taxonomy[edit]

The six subspecies are:

  • P. m. meyeri (Cretzschmar, 1827) — s Chad to w Ethiopia
  • P. m. saturatus (Sharpe, 1901) — Uganda and w Kenya to w Tanzania
  • P. m. matschiei (Neumann, 1898) — c Tanzania, se Congo, Zambia and n Malawi
  • P. m. reichenowi (Neumann, 1898) — c Angola to s Congo
  • P. m. damarensis (Neumann, 1898) — n Namibia, s Angola and nw Botswana
  • P. m. transvaalensis (Neumann, 1899) — Botswana, Zimbabwe and n South Africa

The aces P. m. damarensis and P. m. reichenowi lack yellow markings on the head and P. m. transvaalensis may have little or not yellow on head. Belly and rump colours vary according to race from turquoise or blue to green.

Range and habitat[edit]

Meyer's parrots are native to the plateau woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa where they occur in several woodland types including miombo, savanna woodlands, wooded grasslands and forests bordering watercourses or agricultural land. They are found in high densities in the Okavango Delta region of Botswana.

Behaviour[edit]

Food and feeding[edit]

Their wild diet includes fruits, seeds, nuts, berries and cultivated crops. Seeds of the various leguminous trees of the African woodlands are especially favoured, providing their staple food in some areas. Although they normally travel in pairs or small flocks, wild Meyer's Parrots may gather in much larger numbers where food is plentiful. In drought years they wander in search of food.

Breeding[edit]

The Meyer's parrot nests in tree cavities. The eggs are white and there are usually three or four in a clutch. The female incubates the eggs for about 28 days and the chicks leave the nest about 60 days after hatching.[3]

Conservation status[edit]

P. m. damarensis in Etosha National Park

Meyer's Parrots are still common in the wild, although numbers have decreased locally following destruction of woodlands. The IUCN Red List classifies the Meyer's parrot as Low Risk/Least Concern.[1] The large population, limited pressure from trade and hunting and 6,000,000 km² home range of the species make these birds unlikely to face extinction in the near future. The trade in Meyer's Parrots that have been bred in aviculture is legal. Meyer's Parrots are listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna. Appendix II listing means the species can also be taken from the wild and traded in 'limited' numbers.

Pet parrots[edit]

Meyer's Parrots are commonly bred for the pet trade. They are relatively quiet and small and are able to learn a dozen of words.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Poicephalus meyeri". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael (2003). Whose Bird? Men and Women Commemorated in the Common Names of Birds. London: Christopher Helm. p. 234. 
  3. ^ Alderton, David (2003). The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Caged and Aviary Birds. London, England: Hermes House. p. 223. ISBN 1-84309-164-X. 
  • Forshaw, Joseph M. and William T. Cooper. 1989. Parrots of the World. Third (Revised) Edition. Landsdowne Editions, Melbourne.
  • Jordan, Rick and Jean Pattison. 1999. African Parrots. Hancock House, Blaine, WA.
  • Wirminghaus, J.O., Meyer's Parrot. In: The atlas of southern African birds. Vol. 1: Non-passerines. 1997. ISBN 0-620-20729-9.