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Senegal Parrot FAQ


List of Frequently Asked Questions About Senegal Parrots

This is a compilation of  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) by several members of the Senegal mailing list.

1.How can I tell the sex of my Senegal?
2. Are there different sub-species of Senegal?
3. When will my Senegal's eyes turn yellow?
4. How much should my Senegal weigh?
5. What is a Senegal's lifespan?
6. How noisy are Senegal's?
7. How big should my Senegal's cage be? What about Bar spacing?
8. I've heard that Senegal's are one-person birds. Is that true?
9. Will a Senegal get along with my other bird(s)?
10. Will my Senegal learn how to talk, whistle, mimic sounds?
11. Should my Senegal have a Senegal(?) friend?
12. Why is my Senegal walking around with its wings hung low, squawking strangely, head bobbing, and regurging?
13. What sorts of toys will my Senegal like?
14. What should I not feed my bird?
15. Why is my Senegal's beak peeling?
16. Why is my Senegal grinding his/her beak?
17. Why does my Senegal pin his/her eyes? What does it mean?


This FAQ was compiled for the purpose of providing useful information to curious Senegal parrot owners. However, the content of this FAQ only represents the experiences/opinions of various members of the Senegal email list. Therefore, it should be taken with a grain of salt. We are not licensed veterinarians and so the information provided in this FAQ should not be used to diagnose any avian illnesses. In case of illness, take your bird to a vet. Furthermore, the compilers and authors of the information in this FAQ cannot be held responsible in the unfortunate circumstance that you choose to follow the advice and something bad happens. Please use common sense.


Q1..How can I tell the sex of my Senegal?

A - There is an excellent resource on the WingsCentral website that addresses this very question. The information has been compiled by Rex Sheasby and Jean Pattison. To View This Resource, Please Click Here.

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Q2.. Are there different sub-species of Senegal?

A - It is generally recognized that there are 3 subspecies of Senegal Parrot. They are: (1) Poicephalus senegalus senegalus: This is known as the nominate race and has a yellow belly; (2) Poicephalus senegalus versteri: This has a red belly; (3) Poicephalus senegalus mesotypus: This has a orange belly.

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Q3.. When will my Senegal's eyes turn yellow?

A - Senegal's are born with very dark eyes, and their eyes stay dark for several weeks. Over the first approximately six months of a Senegal's life, their eyes begin to lighten to a gray color. Between six months and a year, the Senegal's eyes usually turn some shade of yellow - from light/pale to intense, deep gold. There are occasional Senegal Parrots whose eyes remain some shade of grey.

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Q4.. How much should my Senegal weigh?

A - Senegal weights vary considerably. To know if your Senegal is a proper weight, there should be sufficient muscle on either side of the keel bone (breast plate). The bird should not bulge on either side of the keel bone (know as "birdie boobies"), nor should the keel bone protrude excessively with concave breast muscle on either side. That said, there is an excellent resource, again provided by Senegal list member Rex Sheasby. To View This Information, Please Click Here.

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Q5.. What is a Senegal's lifespan?

A - The average lifespan of Senegal Parrots is between 20 and 30 years, though there are parrots from this specie that can live much longer with proper care.

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Q6.. How noisy are Senegal's?

A - Somewhere along the line, the typical response to this question has become, "Senegal Parrots are quiet birds, suitable for apartment living." We're not sure where this rumor got started, but be assured that Senegal Parrots are absolutely capable of creating noise louder than a cockatiel and softer than a cockatoo. Some of us can can clearly hear our sennies calling to us when we are outside of the house. That said, they do not typically make a lot of noise often, but there are times of day or circumstances that will cause them to vocalize. 

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Q7.. How big should my Senegal's cage be? What about Bar spacing?

A - Bar spacing for a Senegal should be no more than 3/4" spacing. Anything larger than that may allow for your bird's head to get through, and they may not be able to get their head back in. When selecting a cage, width is more important than height. Many members of this list keep their Senegal's in cages that are at least 22-inches wide with a variety of perches varying in circumference and material.

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Q8.. I've heard that Senegal's are one-person birds. Is that true?

A - No. Mass labeling any parrot species as one-person birds is completely counter-intuitive to all of us who are compiling these FAQ answers. None of us has a one-person Senegal, or any other species for that matter. 

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Q9.. Will a Senegal get along with my other bird(s)?

A - Maybe, but don't count on it. This appears to be a question that can only be answered on a bird-by-bird basis. 

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Q10.. Will my Senegal learn how to talk, whistle, mimic sounds?

A - In a word, yes. Your Senegal will very likely learn to do one of those things or several of those things. Many talk, many do not. Those who do talk either do so clearly, or not-so-clearly. Many people describe their Senegal's voice as tin-y or robotic. Senegal Parrots that live with other birds often learn to mimic other birds. They can learn many electronic beeps and whistles. It really depends on the bird.

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Q11.. Should my Senegal have a Senegal(?) friend?

A - Generally Senegal Parrots are very independent self entertaining birds and do not require a companion. Before please see the question "Will a Senegal get along with my other bird(s)?" for more information.

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Q12.. Why is my Senegal walking around with its wings hung low, squawking strangely, head bobbing, and regurging?

A - Congratulations, your bird is in love. This is commonly referred to as the skirt dance. It is a courtship display. Flattering though it may be, it is not a behavior to encourage your bird to continue, as it can lead to frustration, which can lead to aggression. Redirecting your bird's attention to something less amorous is a good idea.

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Q13.. What sorts of toys will my Senegal like?

A - Like most birds, Senegal Parrots love to chew! They are also very smart and like to "figure things out" Small to medium sized, soft wood chew toys are great and should always be available for your Senegal. In addition foraging toys that require your bird to work to find the treat are a great way to keep your companion entertained.

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Q14.. What should I not feed my bird?

A - Never feed your bird avocado, chocolate, coffee or alcohol. In general anything that is not healthy for a person should not be given to your bird. Foods high in sugar, salt and dairy products should be avoided. Please see the FAQ on bird nutrition for more information.

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Q15.. Why is my Senegal's beak peeling?

A - Senegal's beaks do flake or peel on occasion and this is normal. Excessive peeling or any deviation or abnormality of the beak may be an indication of health problems and should be referred to your avian vet immediately.

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Q16.. Why is my Senegal grinding his/her beak?

A - Beak grinding is the sign of a happy, content bird! Usually most Senegals will grind their beak at night just prior to going to sleep. This is a normal process that helps keep their beaks healthy. 

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Q17.. Why does my Senegal pin his/her eyes? What does it mean?

A - Pinning of the eyes is a sign of interest or attention. This shows that your parrot is very interested or excited. 

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