Un-cape Parrot has enjoyed limited popularity as the common name for two subspecies of the Cape Parrot Poicephalus robustus. Certain authorities have elevated the two non-South African races to the rank of species based on unpublished chemo-taxonomic data. It is difficult to find a rationale to separate the Eastern and Southern races (which are sympatric) based on visual and distribution differences alone, and while the West African race is smaller and more distinct. South African biologists have promulgated the division, perhaps to gain greater protection for the South African populations of the animal. As proposed, the South African subspecies, would remain Poicephalus robustus robustus, and the East African race suahelicus and the West African race fuscicollis would be P. fuscicollis suahelicus and P. fuscicollis fuscicollis, respectively. At least some taxonomists and aviculturists would prefer that the awkward common name not be used, and suggest Poicephalus fuscicollis fuscicollis as the "Brown-necked Parrot" (not to be confused with the "Brown-headed Parrot', P. cryptoxanthus), and P. fuscicollis suahelicusas the "Grey-headed Parrot" (not to be confused with the Grey Parrot, Psittacus erithacus).
The division of the Cape Parrot (P. robustus) and the Un-cape Parrot (P. fuscicollis) as separate species is controversial, and further clarification is needed.
Un-cape Parrot (Poicephalus fuscicollis)
- Poicephalus fuscicollis fuscicollis: Brown-necked Parrot
- Poicephalus fuscicollis suahelicus: Grey-headed Parrot
The two subspecies of the proposed P. fuscicollis differ from the nominate form in the colour of their head and neck; the suahelicus has a grey head and fusccollis has a grey/brown neck. All three subspecies have dark green upper parts, light green lower parts and have orange on their shoulders. Juvenile birds have orange foreheads, which is retained on adult female parrots and is lost from the male parrots on maturity. This sexual dimorphism enables adult birds to be visually sexed. Even biologists familiar with the subspecies cannot always visually separate individuals to their respective races.
- Taxonomy of Poicephalus parrots
- Cape Parrot FAQ