Animal-World > Birds > Parrot Species > Meyer's Parrot

Meyer's Parrot

Brown Parrot

Family: Psittacidae Meyer's Parrot, Poicephalus meyeri, picture of a juvenile Meyers also called the Brown Parrot"Max" a juvenile Meyer's ParrotPoicephalus meyeriPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Iain Simpson
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We live in Cheltenham (in the west of England) and for four months we have been the proud owners of a Meyers Parrot named Cupcake. He was only five months old... (more)  Geoff. Bland

  The Meyer's Parrot, or Brown Parrot, is a small parrot that is very attractive and entertaining!

   Among the African parrots, the Meyer's Parrot Poicephalus meyeri is definitely an attractive bird. When in flight it seems as if the sunshine reflects on all their colors. They look like various gemstones found in Africa. The light reflecting off their turquoise feathers will remind you of an exquisitely cut blue sapphire. This small parrot is also known as the Brown Parrot.

   The Meyers is a calm and even bird by nature and is an excellent choice for a family with children. These small parrots adapt well and are not intimidating. They enjoy all their humans and will maintain relationships with all the members of the family. These are sweet birds, not shy or timid, but curious. They tend to like all people, even strangers. Many birds say "you must love me" but the little Meyers says "I'll always love you."

   Meyers are pleasant be around, pretty to look at, and fun to watch. This is a "go with the flow" parrot that is easy to have and be around. They enjoy interactive and foraging toys, and like anything that is a puzzle. They are very playful and their antics will make you laugh. They can figure out how to dangle from anything and will hang upside down. They frequently lie upside down and play with their feet. If you give them a hand held toy they will use it as a juggler would use a ball. This is quite funny and being natural comics, they enjoy your laughter.

   The noises of the Meyer's Parrot are little, and that makes them a great apartment or condo bird. Their calls are musical and enjoyable to hear. It is said by many that their vocalizations are quite mesmerizing. Meyers do learn to say a few words and some have developed a pretty good vocabulary. They are expressive in their antics and their calls. So you will learn to understand their language, and there won't be a noise problem.

   The Meyer's Parrot enjoys the attention of its humans, but is quite content playing with his toys. Because they have a more independent nature, they don't require as much affection or attention as some of their African Counterparts. There is less mess, destruction, noise, and demand associated with having these comical small parrots, making them great for pets.

To learn more about parrot care, see:
Bird Care: How to Take Care of a Pet Bird

Geographic Distribution
Poicephalus meyeri
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  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Psittacidae
  • Genus: Poicephalus
  • Species: meyeri

Scientific name

   Poicephalus meyeri


   The Meyer's Parrot or Brown Parrot Poicephalus meyeri was first described by Cretzschmar in 1827. It is widely distributed throughout Central and East Africa. It inhabits most of the timbered country including the savannah woodlands. There are six subspecies of Meyer's:

  • Subspecies: Poicephalus meyeri meyeri - Meyers Parrot
  • Subspecies: Poicephalus meyeri reichenowi - Angola Brown Parrots
  • Subspecies: Poicephalus meyeri damarensis - Damaraland Brown Parrots
  • Subspecies: Poicephalus meyeri matchiei - East African Brown Parrots
  • Subspecies: Poicephalus meyeri transvaalensis - South African Brown Parrots
  • Subspecies: Poicephalus meyeri saturatus - Uganda Yellow-shouldered, Kenya Meyers


   The Poicephalus meyeri is on the IUCN Red List for Endangered Species as Least Concern (LC).


   The plumage of the Meyer's Parrot or Brown Parrot is mostly brownish-grey with yellow patches on the bend of the wings and thighs and depending on the subspecies also on the head. Their abdomen is green or a vivid blue or turquoise and the rump can be blue or turquoise. The upper side of the tail is brown and the underside is dark gray. Their feet are dark gray. The eye (periophthalmic) rings are black and the bill is black.

   This is a small and stocky African parrot, averaging 8 - 10 inches (21 - 25 cm) in length. Their wing length is about 5.5 to 6 inches (141 - 149 cm). They weigh about 3.5-4.7 ounces or 100-135g

   There are six subspecies of Meyer's with varying degrees of yellow coloration on the crown and wings, with some types even having none. All have a grayish brown upper body with a bluish green chest, with green under-parts and blue on the topside of the rump. While these birds may appear drab at first glance, their colors upon closer inspection are astounding and beautiful, especially the chest and rump which have a lovely iridescence. Eyes in the mature birds are orange-red, with a grayish black beak.

   Unfortunately, captive birds are often impossible to classify as they are commonly interbred. One major reason being the unavailability of a true and unrelated species mate, as well as a lack of understanding of the different sub-species. In order to preserve the sub-species, it is hoped that breeders make an attempt at matching up same-species birds. Meyer's Parrot is related to another popular African Parrot, the Senegal Parrot Poicephalus senegalus.

Care and feeding

  In the wild the Meyer's parrot eats a variety of seeds, nuts, vegetation, and wild berries.  They have been known to destroy seed crops.

   For your pet, name brand staple seed mixes are available at your local pet store or super market. These contain a mixture of canary grass seed, white millet, yellow millet, oats and groats and red millet, niger seed and linseed. Some higher quality seed mixtures come with thistle, anise, rape, sesame, and safflower seed. Vitamin pellets with iodine in them are sometimes present to prevent thyroid problems. Pellet mixes are also available.  Store seed in a dark but airy place. Don't use plastic bags, cloth bags work better.

   Additionally, remember your Meyers can eat anything nutritious that you eat. Offer fresh foods such as eggplant, green peas, cucumber, young dandelion greens, sweet corn, beet greens, carrots, unsprayed lettuce, green peppers, sorrel, spinach leaves, tomatoes and zucchini. Fruits that are suitable are: Pineapples, apples, apricots, bananas, most other fruits.

   These little guys are prone to gain weight so leafy vegetables and fruit are very good for him. Additionally a little meat for protein and a cuttle bone for calcium should be used. Avocado and chocolate are considered toxic for birds and sugar and salt should be avoided.

   The Meyers enjoy their baths and whether you use the sprayer on the kitchen sink or a commercial bird bath, they should be bathed frequently. Otherwise their feathers will dry out and they will itch which can lead to feather destruction.


   Provide a roomy cage with the minimum dimensions of: 20" long x 20" deep x 24" high. The ideal size is: 40" long x 20" deep x 32" high. Preferably a cage with horizontal bars to make climbing easier. A cage with a play pen top is good for these little guys as they do enjoy independent play and their own territory. A perch hanging from the ceiling on top is also great added bonus for these fellows.

   Place two or three different diameter branches in their cage for perches. A concrete perch as the top perch in the cage will prevent their nails and beak from becoming overgrown. One problem with the Meyers is their beak does have a tendency to overgrow and a concrete perch that they can file their own beak on or chew on will eliminate that problem. A swing, foot toys as well as chewy wood toys should be provided to keep them entertained.


   The basic cage care includes daily cleaning of the water and food dishes. Weekly you should wash all the perches and dirty toys, and the floor should be washed about every other week. A total hosing down and disinfecting of an aviary should be done yearly, replacing anything that needs to be freshened, such as old dishes, toys and perches.

Meyers Parrot"Draven" Photo courtesy: Shawna Ellis
"Draven is a rather quiet bird, never screaming but
finding other ways in which to get treats and attention.
He is very clever! He makes strong associations
household noises which he mimics, such as beeping
like the microwave, or squeaking like the front door
when you put on your shoes to go out. While he doesn't
talk very clearly, he knows a few words and often
chatters to himself ... He does not enjoy cuddling as do
some parrots, but is still very pleasant company
and a fun pet even if he can be aloof at times... .


Social Behaviors

   In the wild, the Meyers Parrot is generally seen singly or in pairs although there are frequently in larger parties of 10 – 20 when food is plentiful. Being seen singly may account for their more independent nature in captivity. They entertain themselves quite well alone.

  Meyers Parrots like all humans and are a great family pet. Their little noises are considered soothing. They are not as dependent on their humans for entertainment as most parrots and therefore not as demanding.


   You should give a new arrival a few days to get use to you, your voice and its cage before trying to handle it. A hand fed baby will not need much taming and can often be handled right away, but be patient and go slow. Allow them to hear your voice, get the scent of you.

   Remember that taming and training a bird takes patience, never 'punish' your pet! This only serves to destroy the trust you've spent so much time building. For more information on training your parrot, see Parrots: Handling/Training.


   The Meyers is quite content to play with his toys. They love handheld toys, except they will usually lie on their backs and play with them with their feet. They love hanging, swinging and climbing. They need wooden toys to chew on and welcome new things to play with.

Sexing - Sexual Differences

   Females look like males, and if gender identification is important (for example for breeding birds) DNA / Feather or surgical sexing is recommended.


   In the wild breeding takes place toward the end of the rainy season which occurs in the fall in Africa. Meyer's Parrots nest in a hollow tree at a considerable height from the ground. The clutch comprises two or three eggs, each being laid at two day intervals. Both parents will incubate the eggs with only one leaving the nest at a time for food. The chicks will fledge approximately nine weeks after hatching.

   Meyer's Parrots are ready to breed when they are about 3 to 4 years old and breed quite readily in captivity. Breeding season in the United States starts around March and goes through June. If they are to be bred in captivity they should be provided a spacious aviary with non-toxic leafy branches for perching and entertaining. Chewing these branches will minimize boredom and give the birds some beak exercise. There is no reason not to put toys in their aviary.

   Some breeders have reported success with a nest box of the following dimensions: 18 inches high and 8 to 10 inches square. If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes placed in various locations within the aviary will allow the parents to make their own choice. Suitable nest-box litter would be decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings, peat mixture, or other suitable materials.

Potential Problems

   A Meyer's Parrot that is well cared for will seldom become ill. Though it is often difficult to determine illness, some visible signs of illness to be aware of are:

  • ruffled plumage
  • listlessness
  • drooping wings
  • sagging body
  • extreme mood changes
  • having no appetite
  • bulges in feathering
  • partially closed or watery eyes
  • swelling of the eyelids
  • rasping
  • difficulty breathing
  • excessive saliva
  • dirty vent
  • any change in the feces not apparently diet related.

   Some of the more common illnesses are:

  • Psittacosis (chlamydiosis or parrot fever)
  • bacterial, viral, or fungal infections
  • feather picking (results of boredom, poor diet, sexual frustration, lack of bathing)
  • allergies
  • chewing flight and tail feathers by juveniles
  • beak malformations in chicks
  • Papillomas
  • kidney disease (gout)
  • toxicity
  • heavy metal poisoning
  • lipomas in older birds.

   If you notice any of this bird illnesses in your Meyers, immediately provide a warm, draft free, secure environment kept at about 86°F (30°C). Place food and water close to the perch where it is easily accessible. An ailing parrot should be taken to a avian veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.


   The Meyer's Parrots easily bred in captivity and they are readily available. They are moderately expensive, probably because of their wonderful nature.


Author: Clarice Brough CAS, Cheryl Galloway
Lastest Animal Stories on Meyer's Parrot

Geoff. Bland - 2004-07-19
We live in Cheltenham (in the west of England) and for four months we have been the proud owners of a Meyers Parrot named Cupcake. He was only five months old when we bought him and in the short time since then he has learned a great deal. He can imitate the telephone and the sound of the curtains being drawn and he cries pitifully when left alone. However, what particularly amuses us is his behaviour during our meal times. As soon as he sees the table being set he comes to the bars of his cage and chirps at us for food. He loves peas and baked beans and he is particularly fond of toast (which he dunks in his water pot before eating). So far he has not said an intelligible word - but he chats away happily in his own robotic language and clicks his tongue as a greeting each time we come into the room. He enjoys riding around on my shoulder but, when thwarted, he can really bite!

George Crouchet - 2003-07-31
My very good friend and parrot club member raises cockatiels and lovebirds. She has one pair of Meyer's that always produces 4 eggs and hatches them all. This year I decided to adopt one of her chicks from the first clutch of the year. Visiting her frequently, I was able to determine which baby I would get. It was the one who wanted out of the cage so he could see things better. All that his 3 siblings wanted to do was try to get under each other in a corner of their cage. Considering the rather odd noise the Meyer's make, I decided to name my new friend Squeek. Squeek is all of 12 weeks old; I have had him for 3 weeks now and his twice daily formula feedings are slowly fading to just one. It is too bad that as adults they do not retain their covet feather edging in green. What attracted me to the Meyer's was how soft their feathers were. They feel like feathered bunnies. Squeek, my new best friend for life.

B A COBILLAS - 2003-07-22
I have a 3yr old male Meyers named Cara (italian for my love). We were told that he was a she when he came home just after weaning(2000). He will not answer to any other name but Cara. He can be onry at times, especially if his feelings are hurt. He is a very sensitive little guy and quick to let you know you are in the wrong. He may be little but his bite is big. I know because in 3yrs Ive had 2 chances with fate. He too is a chatter box. His favorite is "get me out," pause for response and if none then "right now," pause for response "a-n-y-bod-y-?" Where he learned these we guess off the radio I leave on when we are not at home. He loves spicy foods and I mean HOT. He will laugh and then give you a quick kiss. So word of advise if you give your baby any peppers in the meal do not let your bird kiss you. He loves to dance upside down in his cage and listen to the beat of the music. Cha Cha Cha. Over all. He is a JOY to have around. I would not change a thing with my little guy.

Amy - 2008-03-22
Almost three years ago I adopted Kokiya (long story how he got such a crazy name) from a pet store that claimed he couldn't be sold. All his chest feathers were plucked and he had a rather nasty biting habit. Watch out fingers! Yet, I fell in love with him anyway. I have a soft spot for the under dog I guess. So, I brought him home and spent the first few weeks forcing love on him. He bonded with me immediately. Men however are another story. He really has to know your face or he'll nip rather hard at your hands and ears. It must be something with the deeper voice. I wonder often if he was mistreated. He's my love though. He's a frisky little bugger. Doors and almond shells are his favorite things to shred. In fact come fall, he'll sneaky steal almonds from the nut dish. I try so hard each year to keep him from eating to many. They're fatty, but this little bugger will sneaky steal them if I turn my back for an instant. His chest is fully feathered again, and his biting habit is down to a minimum. He has become a real lover. A fearless lover. He lives with 5 rescued cats, and all of them respect him like part of the pack. I guess it has something to do with him chasing them! It's so funny to watch. As far as talking, Kokiya hasn't mastered any words. I don't think he'll ever be a talker, but he has learned many whistles, and loves to mimic the train, my laugh, and any sound the TV beeps out. At night he goes, night-night, getting up to his perch and yawning with his wings. So smart! He'll greet anyone coming in the door and always beeps to say goodbye when they leave. He loves to take walks in the summer (or drives), loves his head petted, and will make it known if he feels shunned. I never thought he would grow into the lover he has, but now he demands attention, seemingly never getting enough. And holy crap, just try to shower without him! Shower time is one of his favorite daily rituals. If he hears the water turn on, he knows it's time to get clean-clean and will ring his bell or cluck/beep until I bring him into the bathroom . . . I could just go on and on. I'm so thankful I didn't turn away from his bare chest three years ago. By looking at him you could never tell at one time he was a scared, bare chested, little guy that spent his first two years living in a pet store attacking anyone that tried to bring him out of his cage. Every day it's a new adventure with him. What a great friend he's become, seriously. I highly recommend this breed to anyone that's looking for a smaller parrot to become part of their family. They make the dearest of friends, and will lighten up the gloomiest of afternoons.

Dolly and Brad - 2008-02-27
My husband and I adopted a Mayers parrot 2 years ago when she was 6 months old. We named her Lolita, she is the Queen of the house. I will say she is my princess and a Miracle bird. This bird survived twice from a Hawk.

Well, one day at the beginning of spring my husband put Lolita outside in her favorite tree just to hang up while he was going to his shed to look for some utensils. He heard Lolita making noises and screaming, so he came out and saw a huge hawk trying to get her. Lolita, at that time, had her wings a little longer than usual so she tried to fly inside the house. But our sliding glass door to the kitchen was closed, so she crashed into it. Then my husband scared the Hawk and saved her. She was very scared that day, probably after 5 hours she came herself. Another time we decide it not to clip her wings for one year, that way she can fly inside the house. Bad idea. It was winter this time, but this day it wasn


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