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Parrots in the Wild

Meyer’s Parrot Poicephalus meyeri

by LOUISE WARBURTON Meyer’s or Brown Parrots are Africa’s most widely distributed parrot species. They are found in six geographical variations, ranging across Central Africa, south to the northern tip of South Africa. The race found in Zambia is the Poicephalus meyeri transvaalensis. Observations showed there to be considerable colour variation between individuals, some having a yellow crown, others with very little yellow at all. The Meyer’s in the photograph were seen coming to drink in Katue

National Park, Zambia, in late September. The drinking flock eventually numbered eight, and they were joined by Long-tailed Starlings and Black-cheeked Lovebirds. In the Nanzhila region Meyer’s parrots were commonly observed, usually in flocks of 4 or 6 birds calling noisily as they flew between feeding trees or to water. They were found across all the regional habitat types which covered grassland plain, miombo, mopane and riparian vegetation and were often observed feeding on the sausage fruit of the Kigella africana tree, Combretum seeds and Julbernadia pods. Local people report that flocks of over 40 Meyer’s visiting their maize fields at cropripening is not uncommon. Little is known about their ecology in the wild; it would certainly be very interesting to study the factors behind this species’ success. Listed as a CITES II species, Meyer’s Parrot is not considered to be globally threatened, although numbers in northern South Africa and parts of Zimbabwe have been considerably reduced by habitat destruction.

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Parrots in the Wild - PsittaScene Issue 11.4 Nov. 1999