RED-BELLIED PARROTPoicephalus rufiventris
by Sally Blanchard
» A Sexually dimorphic species with the male having a bright orange-red belly and the hen having a dull orangish to greenish belly.» About 9"» Range includes Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and northern Tanzania.» Populations seem stable at this time. Please read beyond this first paragraph. Tony Silva (a convicted smuggler) in his book, Psittaculture, states that Red-bellies are largely unsuitable as pets. He states that, differing from other Poicephalus, “the norm is for them to become highly nippy even when hand-reared from birth, some become extremely vicious as adults.” I often wonder how many companion Red-bellies this man saw before he made this sweeping generalization. I haven't always agreed with some breeders (certainly not all) when they write about parrot species as companions. I have met quite a few adult Red-bellies since I read this statement and it is so much nonsense. My guess is that Mr. Silva had only met poorly socialized production-raised birds that were so prevalent when he wrote his book. Considering that the Senegals are such a desirable companion, it would surprise me that two parrots within the same genus could be so vastly different. I refuse to believe that a well-socialized Red-belly whose gentleness has been maintained by loving caregivers will not remain a trusting and trusted companion. I do believe that some Red-bellies are sensitive to traumas and may develop serious fear behavior. Some of this could cause fear biting but this is not aggression It is clear to me that their tendency for phobic behavior can be related to some element essential to their proper personality development (especially in regards to a sense of security) is missing from the early socialization they receive when they are babies. While not all Red-bellies become phobic, I have worked with a few who have after a traumatic event. This translates into fear — not aggression unless someone continues to pressure them to be handled. Read the general Poicephalus information in this section about how to deal with this problem.