The Meyer's Parrot (Poicephalus meyeri) is a small (about 21 cm), stocky African parrot. Meyer's parrots display a dull brown head, back and tail, green or blue-green abdomen, blue rump and yellow markings. 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.
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 western races P. m. damarensis and P. m. reichenowi lack yellow markings on the head. Belly and rump colours vary according to race from turquise or blue to green.
Range and habitat
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.
Food and feeding
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.
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.
Poicephalus meyeri damarensis
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. The large population, limited pressure from trade and hunting and 6,000,000 kmē 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. Nevertheless, Meyer's Parrots are listed on Appendix II of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), which makes the export, import and trade in wild-caught parrots illegal.
Meyer's Parrots are commonly bred for the pet trade. They are relatively quiet and small.
A three-year-old Meyer's Parrot, kept as a pet
An 11 month old pet Meyers Parrot on top of cage.
Rare "pied" meyeri saturatus hen.