Home » How To Care for A Senegal Parrot [Species Profile + Care Needs]
how to look after a senegal parrot

How To Care for A Senegal Parrot [Species Profile + Care Needs]

(Last Updated On: December 23, 2022)

Although relatively small and quiet, Senegal parrots make active, curious, and affectionate pets. So, they prefer a tall cage (62 inches) to explore upwards, as well as plenty of toys and daily interaction.

You’ll need to be committed if you want a Senegal parrot, as they can live for around 30 years.

Senegal parrots thrive when given sufficient attention and pick-up training quickly, making them relatively easy to socialize and teach positive behaviors.

Senegals don’t talk often, but they can learn human words and mimic the sounds they hear.

Senegal Parrot Overview

Here’s some information about Senegals and their features:

  • At 9 inches long and 4-6 ounces in weight, Senegals are small-to-medium-sized parrots.
  • Senegals have beady and piercing eyes, but they’re anything but serious. They’re friendly and curious, needing plenty of interaction and out-of-cage time.
  • Senegals live for about 30 years, which is longer than many parrots of this size.
  • Although not talkative, Senegals can talk and will learn new words with positive reinforcement.
  • Senegals are smart and playful, so you’ll need to provide lots of toys and enrichment.

Types of Senegal Parrots

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

This parrot has a gray/brown head, green V-shaped breast feathers, and a bright yellow belly. Their pupils are rimmed with bright yellow, making for intense and beautiful 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 senegalusSouthern Mali, Guinea, the island of LosYellow-bellied
Poicephalus senegalus versteriIvory Coast, Ghana, West NigeriaRed-bellied
Poicephalus senegalus mesotypusNortheastern Nigeria, Chad, CameroonOrange-bellied

Difference Between Male And Female Senegals

It isn’t easy to distinguish males from females unless you look very closely.

According to Animal Diversity, females 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, so they don’t shy away from human contact. You can expect a Senegal to stand on your shoulder, step onto your hand, and nuzzle up to you.

Senegals are loyal and affectionate parrots, so they often develop a strong bond with one household member. They don’t usually become aggressive toward other, less favored family members.

Although active and friendly, Senegals are relatively quiet parrots, so you rarely hear them screaming.

You’re much more likely to hear whistling or clucking noises. Senegals can learn to talk; if you put the time and energy in, you can encourage your parrot to talk more.

Senegal Parrot care

Senegal Parrot Price

Senegals are more expensive than some Poicephalus parrots, like the Meyer’s Parrot. However, they’re less expensive than other popular parrots like African Greys.

The cheapest way to obtain a Senegal parrot is to rescue one from an organization like Best Friends or Mickaboo. These parrots live for a long time, so it’s not unusual for them to turn up at shelters. You can expect to pay between $200 and $500 when adopting a Senegal parrot.

When buying from a breeder, Senegal parrots cost between $1000 and $4000. These parrots are easy to breed, which explains why they aren’t as expensive as many other parrots. In addition, it’s usually quite easy to find a nearby breeder of Senegal parrots.

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

Monthly Upkeep Costs

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

UpkeepCost per month
Food$15-25
Pet insurance$25
Medications$0-20
Maintaining the environment (cage liners, perches, cleaning costs, small repairs)$5-20
Entertainment$5-25
Total$50-115

This assumes you’re buying food in bulk and planning your parrot’s diet. It also doesn’t include vet visits, so it might be a good idea to budget separately for these. 

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 explore upwards and feel safe.

Giving your parrot out-of-cage time in a spacious 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 your parrot from getting stuck between the bars.

Senegals poop often and make a mess while eating, so the cage will get dirty, so do the following:

  • Change the cage liner daily.
  • 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 illness and disease.

Perches

Provide a Senegal parrot with 3-4 perches – each varied in width and texture and placed at different heights where possible.

Parrots use perches to keep their feet in good condition. They also usually sleep on a perch at night. According to Omelet, parrot-safe perches include:

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

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

What Can I Feed My Senegal Parrot?

To keep a parrot healthy, feed it the foods it naturally 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 your Senegal parrot. You can also include veggies, nuts, and pellets in your parrot’s diet.

Fruit

According to VCA hospitals, Senegal parrots love figs, so include these as a regular treat.

Other fruits that are good for Senegal parrots include:

Fruit can make up about 15% of a Senegal’s diet.

Vegetables

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

Senegal parrots benefit from the following vegetables:

Vegetables should make up about 15% of a parrot’s diet.

Seed Mixes

Seeds can be healthy for parrots, but they shouldn’t make up the entirety of your parrot’s 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, so they should only be fed in moderation. No matter the seed mix, don’t let it exceed 5-10% of your parrot’s dietary intake.

Pellets

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

The benefit of pellets is they’re usually fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. However, some parrots dislike pellets. Pellets should make up about 65% of a parrot’s diet.

Nuts

It’s okay to give nuts to a Senegal parrot but remember that it’s not something they’d eat much of in the wild. Nuts are high in fat, so they should be limited as a treat. You can feed your parrot:

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Brazil nuts
  • Hazelnuts

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

Grains  

Senegal parrots consume maize and millet in the wild, so offering these grains is recommended. As with all foods, don’t go overboard, as your parrot needs a balanced intake of nutrients.

Wild Plants

According to Exotic Direct, Senegal parrots enjoy eating the following wild plants:

Wash any plants/petals with water before giving them to your 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:

  • Caffeinated drinks
  • Alcohol
  • Chocolate
  • Avocados
  • Certain types of shellfish

Caffeine causes a parrot’s heart rate to increase, leading to hyperventilation, seizures, and sudden death. Alcohol can quickly 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, which makes them so playful and able to forage.

That said, you need to give a Senegal enough stimulation. An obvious way to do this is to allow them to forage for their 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 your parrot must work for its food.

Toys

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

According to Lafeber, Senegal parrots tend to like:

  • 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 bring your parrot out of its cage daily so you can spend quality time together.  

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

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

Start by teaching simple words with only one or two syllables, like “Hello,” “Goodbye,” “Well done,” etc.

When the parrot mimics you, you could reward it with a small piece of fig or some affection. Make language learning a positive experience.

Are Senegal Parrots Good for Beginners?

Senegal parrots are good for beginners because they’re easygoing and friendly parrots. Also, given their affectionate temperament, Senegals are less likely to bite or be aggressive.

If you don’t have much time to play with your parrot, a Senegal might not be right for you. A better choice might be a Rosella parrot, as they’re more independent and reserved.