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How To Care for A Senegal Parrot

(Last Updated On: June 4, 2023)

Although small and quiet birds, Senegal parrots make active, fun-loving, and affectionate pets.

Senegal parrots live for 30+ years in captivity. They thrive when given one-on-one attention and pick-up training quickly, making them relatively easy to socialize and teach positive behaviors.

Senegals don’t talk often but can learn some human words and regularly mimic sounds. However, Sengals are among the quietest parrot species, rarely squawking and screaming for attention.

Senegal Parrot Overview

Here’s some basic information about Senegals and their features:

  • At 9 inches long and 4-6 ounces in weight, Senegals are small parrots.
  • Senegals have beady and piercing eyes, but they’re friendly and curious.
  • Pet Senegals live for 30-50 years, while wild Senegals live for 25-30 years.
  • Although not natural talkers, Senegals can talk and learn new words with training.
  • Senegals are smart birds, so they need challenge and engagement.

Types of Senegal Parrots

The most common Senegal parrot is the yellow-bellied Senegal (Poicephalus senegalus senegalus).

They have a gray/brown head, green V-shaped breast feathers, and a bright yellow belly. Their pupils are rimmed with bright yellow, accounting for their intense eyes.

All Senegal parrots have a gray/brown head, green V-shaped breast feathers, and yellow-rimmed eyes, but their belly color varies between subspecies.

Senegal Parrot TypeOrigins Color
Poicephalus senegalus senegalus.Southern Mali, Guinea, the island of Los.Yellow-bellied.
Poicephalus senegalus versteri.Ivory Coast, Ghana, West Nigeria.Red-bellied.
Poicephalus senegalus mesotypus.Northeastern Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon.Orange-bellied.

Difference Between Male And Female Senegals

It isn’t easy to distinguish males from females, but there is some sexual dimorphism if you look closely.

According to Animal Diversity, female Senegals often have slightly smaller heads and beaks than males and slightly longer green ‘V’ shapes on their breasts.

Senegal Parrot Personality

Senegals are friendly, active, and curious birds, so they don’t shy away from human interaction. You can expect a Senegal to stand on your shoulder, step onto your hand, and nuzzle closely to you.

Senegals are loyal and affectionate parrots, often developing a strong bond with one person. However, they rarely become aggressive toward other, less favored family members.

Although active and communicative, Senegals are quiet parrots, so they aren’t prone to making high-pitched squawks and screams like macaws.

You’re likely to hear whistling or clucking noises. Senegals aren’t the best talkers. However, if you put in the time and effort, Senegals can develop a modest vocabulary of words and phrases.

Senegal Parrot care

Senegal Parrot Price

Senegals are more expensive than some Poicephalus parrots, like Meyer’s.

The least expensive way to obtain a Senegal parrot is to rescue one from an organization like Best Friends or Mickaboo. You can expect to pay between $200 and $500 when adopting a Senegal parrot.

Senegal parrots can cost $800-1200 from a specialist breeder. Senegals are relatively easy to breed, which explains why they aren’t as expensive as some better-known species.

The initial cage and basic supplies (bowls, perches, toys) will cost $300-400. In addition to the outlay costs, consider the ongoing costs of keeping a Senegal parrot (food, vet bills, etc.)

Monthly Upkeep Costs

The table below summarizes the ongoing monthly costs of keeping a Senegal parrot:

UpkeepCost per month
Pet insurance$25
Maintenance (cage liners, perches, cleaning costs, small repairs)$5-20

This assumes you’re buying food in bulk and planning a parrot’s diet. It doesn’t include vet visits. Given the wide variances in vet bills, it’s recommended that you take out pet insurance.

How To Take Care of A Senegal Parrot

When taking care of a Senegal parrot, these are the areas that must be managed:

Living Environment

Senegal parrots need the following to live comfortable and enriched lives:

Cage Requirements

Senegals are small-to-medium-sized parrots, so we’d recommend a cage size of roughly 36 “w x 25” d x 62 “h. The added height enables the bird to traverse upward and feel safe.

Giving the parrot out-of-cage time in a spacious, safe room daily is advisable.

The ideal bar spacing is 5/8″, but if you can’t get this, 3/4″ spacing is usually okay. Don’t exceed 3/4″ spacing to prevent the parrot from getting stuck between the bars.

Senegals poop often and make a mess while eating. The following must be done regularly:

  • Change the cage liner as needed.
  • Wash food and water dishes daily.
  • Sanitize the entire cage at least once per week.
  • Sweep or vacuum around the cage 2-3 times a week.

Keeping the cage clean will minimize unwanted smells and help prevent sickness.


Provide a Senegal with 3-4 perches, each varied in width and texture and placed at different heights.

Parrots use perches to keep their feet and claws in good condition. They also usually sleep on a perch at night. Parrot-safe perches include the following:

  • Birch.
  • Willow.
  • Sycamore.
  • Elm.
  • Hawthorn.
  • Natural hemp/cotton rope (trim it if it becomes stringy).

You can get pedi perches, which can help to keep a parrot’s claws filed down.

What Can I Feed My Senegal Parrot?

To keep a parrot healthy, feed it what it eats in the wild.

According to World Species, the Senegal parrot is a frugivore/granivore. So, their diet mostly consists of fruit, blossoms, seeds, and grain (maize or millet).

Below, we’ll explore how to feed these food groups to a Senegal parrot. Also, you can add veggies, nuts, and pellets to a parrot’s diet.


According to VCA hospitals, Senegal parrots love figs, so include these as an occasional treat. Other fruits that are good for Senegal parrots include the following:

Fruit can make up about 10% of a Senegal’s diet.


Parrot-safe veggies are an essential source of nutrients, antioxidants, and fiber. Include orange-colored vegetables because they’re a rich source of beta-carotene.

Senegal parrots benefit from the following vegetables:

Vegetables should make up about 10% of a parrot’s diet.

Seed Mixes

Seeds can be healthy for parrots, but they shouldn’t make up the entirety of their diet. According to BSAVA, parrots fed only seed mixes develop nutritional deficiencies and behavioral problems.

This is most likely if you get a cheap seed mix packed with only sunflower seeds.

Sunflower seeds are high in fat and should only be fed in moderation. Regardless of the seed mix, don’t let it exceed 5% of a parrot’s dietary intake.


Parrot pellets can be fed in addition to (or instead of) seed mix.

The benefit of pellets is they’re fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. However, some parrots dislike pellets because they taste bland. Pellets should comprise about 60-70% of a parrot’s diet.


Giving nuts to a Senegal parrot is okay, but they’re high in fat. You can feed a parrot:

  • Almonds.
  • Cashews.
  • Brazil nuts.
  • Hazelnuts.
  • Pine nuts.
  • Walnuts.

Feeding these over the winter will help birds develop extra body fat to stay warm.


Senegal parrots consume maize and millet in the wild, so offering these grains is recommended.

Wild Plants

Senegal parrots enjoy eating these wild plants:

Wash any plants/petals with water before giving them to a parrot. Also, be aware that some plants are toxic to parrots, so always check the plant’s safety.

What To Not Feed A Senegal Parrot

Certain foods are toxic to Senegal parrots, so keep them out of reach:

Caffeine causes a parrot’s heart rate to increase, leading to hyperventilation, seizures, and sudden death. Alcohol can lead to poisoning due to a Senegal parrot’s fast-paced metabolism.

Chocolate is toxic to parrots because it can lead to heart issues, liver damage, and seizures. According to the New Zealand Veterinary Journal, chocolate is fatal for wild and domestic parrots.

do senegal parrots make good pets?

How To Entertain A Senegal Parrot

According to Royal Society Publishing, Senegals have a strong visual field, hence why they’re so playful.

That said, you need to give Senegals enough stimulation. An obvious way to do this is to allow Senegals to forage for food. You can buy a ‘forage wheel’ from a pet store.

Alternatively, you can hide food under lettuce or kale leaves throughout the cage so that a parrot must work for its food, which it’ll greatly enjoy.


Another way to keep a parrot busy is by buying (or making) toys. While some parrots might not be particularly interested in toys, they’re essential for Senegals. Senegal parrots like these toys:

  • Acrylic toys with bells.
  • Puzzle toys.
  • Swings.
  • Ladders.
  • Perches.
  • Balls.

Interaction And Play

While Senegals love to play with toys and learn tricks, they’ll enjoy spending time with you. That’s why it’s important to let the parrot out of its cage daily so you can spend quality time together.  

A Senegal parrot will enjoy flying around a spacious (and parrot-safe) room. It’ll also enjoy standing on your shoulder and stepping on and off your hand.

As mentioned, Senegals aren’t the most talkative birds, but they can learn to talk if trained, especially if you positively reinforce this behavior with treats and affection.

Start by teaching them simple words with 1-2 syllables, like “Hello,” “Goodbye,” “Well done,” etc.

When the parrot mimics you, reward it with a small piece of fig or petting.

Are Senegal Parrots Good for Beginners?

Senegal parrots are good beginner birds because they’re easygoing with friendly personalities. Also, their affectionate temperament makes Senegals less likely to bite or be aggressive.

If you don’t have much time to play with the parrot, you could get it a same-species companion. Alternatively, a Rosella parrot could work because they’re more independent and reserved.