South East African, Brown Headed Parrot

Genus: (Poicephalus cryptoxanthus)

The brown-headed parrot is one of the most common, and recognizable, African parrots. They are not only very common in their homeland, but are favored by lovers of birds all over the globe, leading to them being kept as pets or in sanctuaries. They are called ‘Brown Headed Parrots’ due to their brown heads which usually are more olive in color. However, they derive their Latin name for a different reason; read on to find out why.

Where do Brown Headed Parrots Live in The Wild?

In the wild, brown-headed parrots are found in Southeastern African countries. In this region, they are very common. The geographical region they inhabit stretches throughout countries like Zanzibar, Kenya
Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zululand and South Africa. These genera of parrots are among the toughest and well adapted to be able to survive in the severe, seasonal African subtropics.

South East African, Brown Headed Parrot Map
Brown Headed Parrot Map of Territory

They are usually found in pairs and small groups of 12, though where there is a lot of food available flocks of up to 50 can be observed. Brown headed parrots seem to prefer large, tall trees. They love sitting in tall branches like those of baobab trees that are seen all throughout Africa and are largely camouflaged within the foliage. These lively parrots thrive in broad leaf woodlands, semi-open arid, sparse growth, riverbanks and savannas.

South East African, Brown Headed Parrot
Southeastern African, Brown Headed Parrot – yellow Underwings

Diet of the Brown Headed Parrot in the Wild

Brown headed parrots eat a wide range of berries, seeds and fruit depending on availability and season. They are known to raid millet and corn of farmers fields. Flowers of the coconut, pods of the acacia tree, figs, palm flowers and nectar. They are known to make soft chirps and ‘mumblings’ of happiness when feeding.

How is a Brown Headed Parrot Recognized?

These attractive parrots have distinct emerald green breasts, darker green wings with an almost yellow under lining which is only often seen when the birds take flight. This is how their Latin name was coined: its name, Cryptoxanthus, means hidden yellow; from Greek Xanthos.

They have dark gray beaks and dark olive or brownish heads. Some parrots have dark, grayish yellow eyes, Other birds have pale gray eyes while juveniles always have dark grayish or black eyes, which become paler as they mature to one year olds.

Fantastic Facts About Brown Headed Parrots

Millions of these parrots have been exported to America. “Today, African parrots remain among the most traded species on earth.”

Nat Geo
  • Brown headed parrots makes up a super species that also includes the Ruppell’s parrot, Meyer’s parrot, Red-billed parrot, the Senegal parrot and Niam-Niam parrot.
  • Russian president, Putin is said to own a Brown headed parrot

What is the Breeding Season of the Brown Headed Parrot?

Breeding season can occur anywhere between April and October, depending on the region and specific subspecies. Babies will typically stay with their parents for around two to three years. After that point, they prefer to be more independent, and will take off on their own. They like to build nests in tall trees, and will often use abandoned woodpecker holes if there are any available.

South East African, Brown Headed Parrot
Brown Headed Parrot

What is the Conservation Status of the Brown Headed Parrot?

Their natural habitat is under great strain with humans creating deforestation by relentless commercial logging and the growing charcoal industry. Clearing of land for farming land is also impinging on the parrot’s natural territory.

Countries such as Zululand Kenya and Malawi have almost lost all old, traditional forests. Restoration and conservation has become of primary importance to save brown headed parrots and other indigenous birds of the regions. Customers in emerging markets are creating a demand for hard wood floors and other wooden furniture, often without knowing the cost to nature. More education is needed to stop the slippery slope of destruction of habitat.

Due to their popularity in captivity, there are plenty of these colorful and friendly birds around the globe so that their species as a whole is not in trouble.

Domesticated Brown Headed Parrots

Brown headed parrots should not be trafficked, though the friendly birds, in homes, should be given ample space, stimulus and nutrition for the best life possible. Quieter than other parrots brown headed parrots are favoured for house and apartment settings.

Owners can become attached to brown headed parrots for their friendly and playful characters. They enjoy being picked up if they’ve been introduced to humans from an early age and can learn to perform tricks. Some can learn to mimic whistles and voices.

Experts suggest that brown headed parrots should be housed in the largest cages possible. At a minimum, the cage should be 5 ft x 5 ft x 5 ft or 4 ft x 4 ft x 7 ft, with 5/8″ or 3/4″ bar spacing. Ideally a second cage should be placed outdoors, suitable for outdoors conditions so the bird receives sunlight and a chance to fly. Two perches in a cage will allow the brown headed parrot to exercise.

Learning to Bathe the African head parrots is an important basic skill to keep the bird healthy and clean. Experts suggest allowing the bird to dry naturally in the sun or in a warm room. Providing wooden blocks or natural twigs are recommended for a stimulus and to allow the bird to chew.

Brown Headed Parrots in Literature

A pair of brown-headed parrots adorned with bright emerald belly feathers chirped merrily and chattered like best friends on a branch.

Several brown seed pods, hung beneath them like long, rocking sausages, their cargos bulging, heavy and ripe. At the base of the tree, Jasiri the young lion yawned, stood on tip toes, arched his back and sucked in his stomach curving his whole body in to an ‘n’ shape.

“Be careful, whelp. These seeds pods are heavy. If one falls and hits you, it’ll crack your head in two – crack your head in two, young whelp,” cried the nearest parrot, his wing tip pointing at a quivering sausage.

E.G.Price, The Zambbezi Allies

Three brown-necked parrots burst out of its leaves, flapping all about them in a green frenzy. “Please be careful!” cried the first bird in in a shrill tone.

E.G.Price, The Zambbezi Allies

Q & A

How many years do brown headed parrots live?

Brown headed parrots live up to 30 but often no more than 15 years.

In Which Kingdom does the brown headed parrot belong?

The brown headed parrot belongs in the Animalia Kingdom

What color are the legs of brown headed parrots?

The legs of brown headed parrots are black or dark brown

Are brown headed parrots a threatened species?

Brown headed parrots are of ‘least concern’.

The International Union For Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has marked the brown headed parrot as of ‘least concern’. they do not qualify as threatened.

What class do brown headed parrots belong in?

Brown headed parrots belong in the Aves class.

Do brown headed parrots eat insects?

Brown headed parrots will sometimes eat caterpillars with epidopteran larvae being among their favorite.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fantastic Wildlife