BROWN-HEADED PARROT                 
Poicephalus cryptoxanthus   
by Sally Blanchard

» Native to several countries in south east Africa and some coastal islands»                                             
» Most populations seem to be stable although they are declining in some areas of their range and they may have been extirpated from the island of Zanzibar
» There are 3 sub-species: P. c. cryptoxanthusP.c. tanganyikae, and P.c. zanzibaricus 
» About 9"  Green body with brown head. Yellow on inside of wings. 
» Their species name is description - crypto translates as hidden and xanthus translates as yellow so the species name cryptoxanthus means hidden yellow referring to the yellow in the inside of their wings

My experience with Brown-headed Parrots was limited to two birds that I met when I gave consultations with their caregivers. I thought that they were cute but had no idea how cute they could be. One of the Brown-heads had turned quite nippy at a young age but his breeder was one of those that thought early socialization was a waste of time. It is my belief that this is why the bird turned so nippy and not some inherent species trait. This has become even more apparent to me since I have met so many of these little guys since I moved to Colorado.

A nearby aviary where I lived raised Brown-heads and from time to time I used to go there to play with the babies. ( I believe in quality socialization and it is really a joy to be able to play with babies as part of their socialization. I have fallen in love with the Brown-headed species. They may seem somewhat nondescript but when they open their wings, SURPRISE!, they dazzle you with bright yellow and their personality is anything but nondescript. From my experience, I would say that they seem to be the most mellow of all of the Poicephalus that I have met (Senegal, Red-belly, Meyer’s, Jardine’s) perhaps with the exception of the Cape parrot, which is still fairly uncommon as a companion. While they may be able to say a few words in a sort of possessed little voice and learn some sounds in their home, they have a reputation for being one of the quietest companion parrots. 

I have had some in-depth experience with Brown-heads since I bird sit for a few of them from time to time. One of them loves play on the hanging gyms that I have but when he gets tired of that, he flies over and lands on my shoulder and whispers in my ear. I also met one of the cutest Brown-headed Parrots when I was in Canada. The breeder told me that out of all the Poicephalus that she raised, she thought that the Brown-head was the most steady and had the potential to be the best companion parrot. I have bird sat a couple of these Poicephalus and have fallen in love with Brown-headed parrots. I think that they are the ideal companion for people who want a smaller parrot with a lot of personality that is fairly easy to manage.




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