Overview

Distribution

Poicephalus senegalus are found in western central Africa: Cameroon, Chad, Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Guinea, Southern Mauritania, the Island of Los and the Ivory Coast (Hilton 1997; Birdie Boutique 2000).

Biogeographic Regions: ethiopian (Native )

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Range Description

This species occurs through the savanna woodland belt of West Africa, north of the rainforest belt from Mauritania through to south-western Chad, north-eastern Cameroon, and northern Central African Republic. The species undertakes seasonal movements in at least parts of its range, moving into dryer areas during the wet season.
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Physical Description

Morphology

The head of P. senegalus is gray in color, including the beak. The wings, back, tailfeathers and parts of the breast are green (shades of which vary by bird). The green at the breast is in the shape of a "v", making it appear as if the P. senegalus are wearing a vest. The underside (belly) ranges from bright yellow to orange. The eyes, while starting out gray in the young, end up yellow in mature adults. Feet are either gray or pink.

It is difficult to physically distinguish male P. senegalus from female. Usually DNA tests or surgical sexing is required for 100% accuracy. There are however, a few physical traits which may identify the bird as male or female. Female P. senegalus tend to have a smaller head and beak, as well being more rounded at the crest. In addition, the feather coloring of the chest tends to extend the "v" shape further down the belly, stopping between the legs. The "v" on the male only goes halfway down the front and males also tend to have a larger head and beak.

Poicephalus senegalus range from 20-25cm in length (Birdie Boutique 2000; CNC Aviary 2001; Hilton 1997; Welch 1997).

Range mass: 115 to 125 g.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; bilateral symmetry

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Ecology

Habitat

Poicephalus senegalus live on the edges of the savanna, nesting in trees (Hilton 1997) .

Terrestrial Biomes: savanna or grassland

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Habitat and Ecology

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Trophic Strategy

Poicephalus senegalus have a diet that consists mostly of fruit, seeds and grain. They may also eat locust beans and young tree buds.

When in captivity, P. senegalus are usually fed some sort of seed mixture that includes sunflower and safflower seeds, millet, pine nuts, almonds. They may also eat a variety of beans, chickpeas, soy beans, and other fresh vegetables and fruits. Some P. senegalus even enjoy chicken and mashed potatoes, or dog and cat biscuits (Hilton 1997; Welch 1997).

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Life Expectancy

Average lifespan

Status: captivity:
40 years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 40 years (captivity) Observations: One specimen lived for 40 years in captivity (Brouwer et al. 2000).
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Reproduction

Not much information is known about the way P. senegalus breed in the wild, except that they nest in tall trees and their mating season is from September to November.

In captivity, they are housed in pairs in a sheltered aviary. Poicephalus senegalus females sexually mature around the age of 2 years, males at 3 years, although they may not breed until much later (even as late as 6-7 years). Usually between 2-4 eggs are laid at a time and the incubation of these eggs (by the female) lasts for 25-28 days. The young begin to venture out at about nine weeks old, but are not fully independent until 12 weeks (Arndt et al. 1996; Birdie Boutique 2000; Hilton 1997) .

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; oviparous

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Conservation

Conservation Status

Poicephalus senegalus is considered common. Population density varies with the availabilty of food in each area (Arndt et al. 1996).

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s

Justification
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
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Population

Population
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is reported to be often abundant (del Hoyo et al. 1997).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
This species has been heavily traded: from 1994-2003, over 410,000 wild-caught individuals were exported from range states (UNEP-WCMC CITES Trade Database, October 2005). It is one of the most popular avian pets, since it is regarded as a small, quiet bird that bonds well. Due to the large numbers of this species traded, it was the subject of a CITES significant trade review, in which it was listed as of "possible concern" (Inskipp et al. 1988). Nonetheless, and despite international exports of vast numbers of birds, trade does not appear to have seriously impacted this species overall, with no significant national population declines reported.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
The species is listed under CITES Appendix II.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Poicephalus senegalus are viewed as pests by farmers. They often eat seeds from the farmers' fields of maize and millet, or steal peanuts that have been left out to dry. Many P. senegalus are trapped and killed for that reason (Hilton 1997; Poole 1997).

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