Family: Psittacidae (parrots, lovebirds)

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Species indigenous to southern Africa

Agapornis lilianae (Lilian's lovebird) 

The Lilian's lovebird mainly occurs in a small area from Zimbabwe to Zambia and Mozambique, preferring mature Mopane (Colosphermum mopane) woodland and riparian forest. It mainly eats grass seeds, but it may also feed on agricultural crops, flowers and fruit. It is highly sociable and gregarious, foraging on the ground in flocks of up to 600 birds! Its breeding habits are little known in the wild - it is thought to be a monogamous, loosely colonial nester. It mainly nests in natural tree cavities, where it lays about 4-5 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for about 22 days. The chicks are cared for by both parents, staying in the nest for about 44 days.

Agapornis nigrigenis (Black-cheeked lovebird) 

The Black-cheeked lovebird is a rare vagrant in southern Africa, as it has only been reliably recorded once, at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Its distribution is highly localised, with its population restricted to south-western Zambia (because of its small, localized population, it is now considered Vulnerable). It mainly occupies Mopane woodland, but also Acacia woodland and agricultural areas - it is never far from water. It mainly eats grass seeds, especially Echinochloa colona (Jungle rice), with the rest of its diet largely made up of leaves and flowers.

Agapornis roseicollis (Rosy-faced lovebird) 

The Rosy-faced lovebird is found exclusively in Namibia, but it is a popular cage bird worldwide, so escapees can be found outside its wild range. It lives in various types of woodland, often with rivers nearby. It eats mainly seeds, the rest being largely made of fruits and, rarely, flowers. It lives in noisy gregarious colonies, which use many different types of nesting sites. It lays 4-6 eggs, which are incubated by the female only, for 23 days. The female broods and feeds the chicks, while the male does all the foraging.

Poicephalus cryptoxanthus (Brown-headed parrot) 

The Brown-headed parrot is found only in the top half of southern Africa, where it is common in Zimbabwe and northern Botswana. It lives in various types of woodland, usually near water. It prefers to eat seeds and nuts, as well as fruit, flowers and, rarely, insects. It nests in tree cavities, sometimes made by woodpeckers and barbets, where it lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by the female for 29-31 days. The chicks are fed by both their parents, who regurgitate the food upside down, to help facilitate regurgitation. The brood stay in the nest for 60-84 days (In captivity), and, once they have left the nest, may still be dependent on their parents into the next egg-laying season.

Poicephalus fuscicollis (Grey-headed parrot) 

The Grey-headed parrot is uncommon yet widespread, occupying an area from Tanzania to Zimbabwe. It occurs in a variety of woodland habitats, including Miombo. Mopane and riparian woodland, feeding almost exclusively on fruit. It nests in natural tree cavities, usually in the trunk or in the underside of a branch. Here it lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated solely by the female for 28-30 days. The male contributes by providing food for the female and chicks. They learn to fly when they are about 68-83 days old, only becoming fully independent 4-5 months later.

Poicephalus meyeri (Meyer's parrot) 

The Meyer's parrot is found only in the northern half of southern Africa, where it is common in Zimbabwe and northern Botswana. It lives in various types of woodland, usually near water. It prefers to eat seeds and nuts, as well as fruit, flowers and, rarely, insects. It nests in tree cavities, sometimes made by woodpeckers and barbets, where it lays 2-4 eggs, which are incubated by the female for 29-31 days. The chicks are fed by both their parents, who regurgitate the food upside down, to help facilitate regurgitation. The brood stay in the nest for 60-84 days (recorded in captivity), and, once they have left the nest, may still be dependent on their parents into the next egg-laying season.

Poicephalus robustus (Cape parrot) 

The Cape parrot is endemic, endangered and highly localised, being found in small patches of Afromontane forest in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. It feeds exclusively on fruit, mainly foraging in the early morning and late afternoon. It nests in pre-existing tree holes, especially in Podocarpus (Yellowwood). The felling of yellowwood trees is the main reason for its Endangered status, as it results in difficulty in location of nesting sites, leading to a poor reproductive rate. The female lays 2-5 eggs, which are incubated by by the female only, for 28-30 days. The chicks stay in the nest for 55-79 days, after which they may remain with their parents for about one year. For information, visit the Cape Parrot Working Group.

Poicephalus rueppellii (Rüppell's parrot) 

The Rüppell's parrot is near endemic to Namibia, occurring in habitats ranging from riparian woodland to Acacia as well as palm tree stands. Its diet varies according to time of year, eating a range of plants and occasionally insects. It nest's in tree cavities (especially cluster leafs and Acacia), either natural or excavated by woodpeckers. Here it lays 3-5 eggs, which are incubated for about 24-30 days, mainly by the female (recorded in captivity). In captivity, the chicks stay in the nest for about 50-51 days. Its population numbers are threatened by the cage bird trade - an estimated 600-1000 birds are exported annually to South Africa and Europe, about 60-70% of which die while in transit.

Psittacula krameri (Rose-ringed parakeet) 

The Rose-ringed parakeet is not indigenous to southern Africa, but is rather and introduced species, with feral populations centred around Durban and Johannesburg. It occurs in a wide variety of habitats, ranging from savanna to riparian woodland, however it is most common in parks, gardens, farmland and other man-made habitats. It is highly sociable and gregarious, feeding mainly on fruit and seeds. It nests in tree cavities, either natural or made by barbets, but also uses rock crevices, buildings and nest boxes. Here it usually lays 3-4 eggs which are incubated mainly by the female, for about 28 days. The chicks stay in the nest for about 6-7 weeks, becoming fully independent a few months later.

 
 

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