Senegal Parrots

Senegal Parrots Are Striking Little Birds
Senegal Parrots Are Striking Little Birds. Jurgen & Christine Sohns/Getty Images

Common Name:

Senegal Parrot

Scientific Name:

Poicephalus senegalus.


The woodlands of Western Africa.


Medium, at about 10 inches in length from the beak to the end of the tail.

Average Lifespan:

Up to 50 years in captivity.


Hand fed Senegals make extraordinary pets, and are known for being comical and entertaining. They are colorful, relatively small, and have the ability to talk and mimic, although they tend to be considerably more quiet than many other parrot species.

Most well socialized Senegals have very friendly personalities, but potential owners should be aware that Senegals have a tendency to become "one person" birds, and may not desire interaction with other family members. While this is not always true, it does happen on occasion. Having all of the members of the family interacting with your Senegal will help ensure that this one person bonding doesn't occur.


Mature Senegals have grey heads with green wings and chests. On their bellies, they sport a V-shaped patch of color ranging from yellow and orange to red, depending on the subspecies. They are known as "monomorphic", meaning that Senegals of both sexes are identical in color. The dark head is a striking feature on these charming little birds. 


Captive Senegals should be offered a varied diet consisting of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy seeds such as flax, hemp and chia seed, tree nuts, and a high quality formulated pelleted diet.

Consider making Chop as it is a fresh frozen diet that you can learn to make. It's an easy and convenient method of providing your Senegal with a wide variety of vegetables, grains and vegetable protein. As with any companion bird, fresh water in a clean bowl should be provided daily and changed if food and other detritus gets in the water.

An all seed diet should be avoided as feeding nothing but seed is extremely unhealthy and can lead to illness and even be fatal. 


Senegals should be provided with at least one hour a day to play outside of their cages on a play stand or another bird-safe area. Providing toys on the stand with small foot toys, bells, balls, chewable leather and wood toys will  give your Senegal something to do as well as providing her with a bit of time away from her enclosure. They love to climb and can be quite the little acrobats, so many Senegals appreciate a variety of swings, ladder, and other toys to explore.

Senegals as Pets:

Captive bred Senegals are fascinating birds, and have easily made a place for themselves among the most popular pet bird species. Charming and highly trainable, these little parrots have a knack for being a great source of entertainment and amusement for their owners. While they are not nearly as common as a companion bird as African Greys or Cockatiels, they have earned a reputation as being an easy-going and playful companion bird. 

Senegals, or "Sennies" as they are affectionately referred to by many owners, bond strongly with their owners and thrive on daily interaction with them.

Those interested in owning a Senegal should be willing to make time for handling and socialization with the bird every day.

Prospective owners should also plan to invest in a variety of toys and accessories for their birds. Senegals can be strong chewers, so it's a good idea to provide them with some wooden perches and toys to exercise their beaks on.

If you think a Senegal Parrot might be the right bird for you, connect with an adoption and education foundation or parrot rescue and try to set an appointment to visit one. You may find a wonderful match with a bird that is in need of a home. Many birds lose their homes due to unforeseen circumstances so adoption is a wonderful way of providing a home to a Senegal that is in need of a loving family. You may find that one of these African beauties is exactly what you've been looking for in a feathered companion.

Edited by: Patricia Sund