When people think about parrots they think about bright colors and beautiful plumage. The Meyer’s parrot, sometimes referred to as the brown parrot, might not be bursting with colors, but they are certainly brimming with personality.
These sweet birds make great pets, so if you are thinking of adopting a parrot, the Meyer’s parrot is definitely worth your consideration.
Meyer’s Parrot Overview
The Meyer’s parrot, or known by its scientific name as Poicephalus meyeri, is native to sub-Saharan Africa where it can be found in woodland and savannah areas. They are still common in the wild but their numbers have decreased due to deforestation which is why it is important that they are bred in captivity.
It is important to adopt one from a legitimate breeder to prevent them from being captured and imported illegally as this would be a real threat to their existence in the wild. The Meyer’s parrot is closely related to the more popular Senegal parrot which have been imported and sold widely across the USA and Europe for years.
Now that we know a little bit about where it comes from, let’s take a look at the Meyer’s parrots’ personality and physical characteristics.
Measuring 9-13 inches, Meyer’s parrots make a great medium-sized pet bird for anyone who doesn’t have the space for a larger parrot. The wingspan of a fully grown Meyer’s parrot is 5-6 inches and they weigh about 120 grams.
The Meyer’s parrot is a subspecies so it is similar to a range of other parrots but is most easily identified by its blue-green belly and yellow head. They also have grey plumage around their heads and face which is probably why they aren’t as popular as other subspecies which have more brightly colored feathers.
One part of the Meyer’s parrot’s personality which makes it a good pet is that they are generally quite quiet. This makes them more suitable for apartments and smaller houses than other parrots, but they will still need plenty of room to stretch those wings.
They’re not the biggest talkers but can learn to say a few words and mimic music. Most of the sounds you’ll hear from them will be screeching which can get pretty loud if they are startled so make sure you keep them in a safe comfortable place if you don’t want to be startled by those shrieks yourself!
The Meyer’s parrot’s lifespan is 25 to 40 years. Like with a lot of parrots, these pets are a lifelong commitment so prospective owners should think carefully before adopting a Meyer’s parrot.
Raising a Meyer’s Parrot as a Pet
If you are totally set on adopting a Meyer’s parrot, here are some things you need to know about raising your new pet.
Like other subspecies of this parrot, the Meyer’s parrot is intelligent, curious and can be very funny. Although they can become a one-person bird if not socialized well, if you make sure that all members of your family spend time with this bird, they make a great family pet.
They love to chew so some good plastic chew toys are a must. Whether they are nippy or affectionate can depend on the individual bird but most will respond affectionately if you give them plenty of attention.
The Meyer’s parrot is also not as energetic as smaller birds and they are known to be more active when they are not being watched so they are a great choice if you are looking for a calmer bird that entertains itself.
These birds aren’t as talkative as larger parrots so don’t expect them to learn long phrases but you can train them to do some tricks like stepping and dancing. Starting training early is important with this species as they must be taught not to chew everything they see.
Parrots need to spend a few hours out of their cage a day and you don’t want them finding wires to chew on so make sure you cover anything dangerous if you haven’t trained them not to chew things.
As mentioned, these birds are comparatively quiet so they aren’t a bad choice for smaller homes and apartments as they are unlikely to annoy the neighbors. Just make sure you have secured their environment when they are outside of the cage so they don’t chew through anything dangerous.
A lot of metal materials can also be toxic to birds so keep a careful eye on them and try to bird proof your home before you let them wander.
Experience Level Required
Although they aren’t a difficult pet to care for and can be quite independent, we recommend slightly more experienced owners for Meyer’s parrots. They need dedicated training to get them through the nipping stage and if you are new to owning parrots you might not be able to weed out this kind of behavior.
Training them not to nip can make the difference between having an affectionate or aggressive pet in the future.
How to Best Care For a Meyer’s Parrot
Experienced bird owners know that a lot goes into bird care. Meyer’s parrots are no exception and there are lots of things you need to know to care for one properly.
Cage Size and Setup
As these birds can shriek when they are startled, it is important that you position their cage in a secure and quiet area where they feel comfortable. Being a subspecies of the same parrot, Meyer’s parrots are suited to the same cage size as Senegal parrots.
They need bar spacing of ¾ - 5/8 inches and a minimum size of 24 inches in width by 24 inches in height by 24 inches in depth. There are plenty of options available for this cage size which will suit a range of spaces in your home.
Meyer’s parrots are also big fans of toys and are happy to keep themselves entertained as long as you give them a range of things to play with, including chew toys, swings and boings. They are avid climbers so horizontal cage bars are best or you can install climbing frames where they can climb to their heart’s content.
The natural diet of a Meyer’s parrot includes fruits, berries, flowers, seeds, and nuts so in captivity they need a range of foods to keep them nourished and healthy.
Parrot seed mixes usually contain the range of seeds and pellets they need. They will also need fruit to make up the other 30% of their diet. Make sure you choose parrot safe fruits and vegetables like pomegranates, grapes and oranges.
A lot of vegetables are also parrot safe including green beans, celery and fresh corn. They can eat other foods, such as cooked pasta and hard cheese, but just as a treat from time to time.
Usually, Meyer’s parrots will lay eggs during the winter. Be aware that male parrots can become aggressive during breeding season. To encourage breeding, you will need to provide a nest box which is big enough to house two full-grown parrots in a secure and quiet part of their cage.
Breeding is relatively straightforward and most owners have found that Meyer’s parrots aren’t too fussy about partners. They are ready to breed when they are 3-4 years old.
Exercise & Playtime
As mentioned, all parrots need two to three hours outside of their cage a day to prevent boredom. When they are in their cage, they need plenty of stimulation from toys and Meyer’s parrots particularly like toys they can climb on, so why not make them a little obstacle course to fill their time while they’re in the cage.
This bird is a good choice for busy owners as they are quite happy to entertain themselves but will still need attention every day.
As a medium-sized parrot, the Meyer’s parrot price is cheaper than other species as their coloring makes them slightly less popular than other subspecies. For this reason, you can get one for around 200 to 600 USD.
One of the main health concerns with Meyer’s parrots is Aspergillosis which is a fungal disease. You can avoid this by keeping your house and cage clean. You will also need to watch out for Bornavirus which can be identified by loss of appetite or vomiting.
Make sure you get your parrot to a vet if you notice any drastic changes in behavior.
As a subspecies, there are several parrots which are similar to the Meyer’s parrot and have different markings and colors.
- Senegal parrot
- Cape parrot
- Red-bellied parrot
- Jardine’s parrot
The Meyer’s parrot might seem like a relatively easy to care for bird, but they do require skilled training and attention particularly in their first few years.
We recommend this pet bird for somewhat experienced owners who know how to train them to become the tranquil pets they can be.