Meyers Parrot (Poicephalus meyeri)

Meyers Parrot

[order] PSITTACIFORMES | [family] Psittacidae | [latin] Poicephalus meyeri | [authority] Cretzschmar, 1827 | [UK] Meyers Parrot | [FR] Perroquet de Meyer | [DE] Goldbug-Papagei | [ES] Lorito de Meyer | [NL] Meyers Papegaai | [copyright picture] Ben Broughton


Monotypic species


The genus Poicephalus comprises 10 species of small and medium-sized parrots, which collectively are distributed over much of Africa south of the Sahara Desert. The genus is characterized by parrots that are compact and stocky; have head coloration that is often distinct from body coloration; have relatively large heads, square tails, and relatively large bills (Poicephalus means, literally, “made of head”); and are either sexually dimorphic or monomorphic depending on species.

Physical charateristics

P.m. meyeri: both adults grey/brown with yellow stripe across crown; blue/green lower breast to tail coverts and rump, variably more blue than green; yellow thighs, bend of wing, lesser wing coverts and underwing coverts; underwings where flight feathers are pale grey suffused with yellow; tail brown. Bill dark grey. Cere bare and brown/grey, eye ring brown/grey. Eye orange/red. P.m. transvaalensis: both adults as in meyeri, but with paler head and upperparts; little yellow or absent across crown; lower underparts more blue; bright blue rump. P.m. damarensis: both adults as in transvaalensis, but in general paler; yellow band across crown absent. P.m. reichenowi: both adults as in meyeri but darker brown in colour; yellow stripe across crown absent; undersides of flight feathers dark grey. P.m. matschiei: both adults as in reichenowi but with less yellow band across crown; underparts washed with blue; bright blue rump. P.m. saturatus: both adults head and upperparts darker brown; green rump, suffused with pale blue; undersides of flight feathers dark grey.

Listen to the sound of Meyers Parrot

[audio: Parrot.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

recorded by Derek Solomon

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 21 cm size max.: 24 cm
incubation min.: 25 days incubation max.: 30 days
fledging min.: 55 days fledging max.: 65 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 3  
      eggs max.: 4  


Africa : Central, Southcentral, wide central African distribution, from Eastern Sub-Subsahara southwards to Northern South Africa.


Woodland, from dry savanna, gallery and riparian woodlands to secondary growth around cultivation; also dry Acacia scrub with taller trees (especially Baobabs Adansonia digitata), usually near water. Also woodland dominated by cluster-leafs (Terminalia spp) and munondos (Julbernadia spp), and bushwillow (Combretum spp) and Acacia savanna, and riparian miombo (Brachystegia).


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

Feeding habits

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.

Video Meyers Parrot


copyright: Alex Garcia


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Generally common to very common and is most abundant parrot in some parts of range (e.g. Zimbabwe and Angola) although scarce in other areas and absent from some apparently suitable habitats. Decline reported from some parts (e.g. Transvaal) though to be result of habitat destruction. Also persecuted in some localities owing to damage to crops (e.g. in middle Zambesi because of damage inflicted on ripening Ziziphus berries).
Meyers Parrot status Least Concern


Sedentary, but in drought years they wander in search of food.

Distribution map

Meyers Parrot distribution range map

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