Learn about the Cape Parrot also known as the Un-Cape, Brown-Necked, and Grey-Headed parrot.
Most Cape parrot owners say these birds are sweet, gentle giants.
Description and Explanation
Information about the this species is hard to find. They are rare in captivity and also in the wild.
These parrots are all members of the African Poicephalus group of parrots. The Cape Parrots here in the U.S. are now often called Un-Cape parrots. Two of the sub-species are the Brown-Necked and the Grey-Headed Parrots.
These parrots are generally dark green on their back and wings and light green on their lower abdomen. Females have a narrow band of orange feathers on their forehead that the male only has when young. The head and neck of two of the species are listed below.
Both sexes will have orange on their shoulders and upper wings as they mature.
The Brown-Necked Parrot has a more blue-green tinge to its body feathers.
The Grey-Headed Parrot has more of a silver-gray head and neck.
There are conflicting interpretations of the classification of this species due to the existence of three geographically separated but closely related forms that differ in habitat, size and plumage. The dominant view of the ornithological community, especially in Africa, considers these as two species, with the temperate, montane forest dwelling Cape Parrot, P. robustus distinct from the savanna species, P. fuscicollis, including the Brown-necked Parrot, P. f. fuscicollis of West Africa and the Grey-headed Parrot, P. f. suahelicus of eastern and southern Africa.
The name Cape Parrot only applies strictly to the form in South Africa. The name Un-cape Parrot has gained limited popularity as a general name for the two savanna forms (as "Brown-necked", used by most sources, is an inaccurate description of the "Grey-headed" form in the east African savanna).
Personality and Behavior
In doing research for this page, I could only find positive information about the Cape Parrot species. They are supposed to be a bit like the Jardine’s, but less nippy, more laid back and can learn to talk just like other parrots.
Most owners Cape parrots say they love people and love attention. Someone on the Blue Crowned Conure list just adopted her Un-Cape parrot. She absolutely loves it.
One of the breeders of the Un-Cape said no Cape parrots has never bitten her, not even a wild one. Everyone reports on the Cape’s sweet disposition. One owner has said that they snuggle like Cockatoos, play like Amazons, are smart like African Greys, and will learn tricks like a Macaw.
Cape Parrots are much like conures in having a playful personality that requires lots of toys for playing, attacking and chewing so that they don’t get bored. These funny birds are real entertainers and a joy to have.
Visit our Parrot Bird Toy page for some unique toys at great prices! Click on the picture below.
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Your Cape/Un-Cape parrot should only have pellets make up 70 - 80% of their diet. We like the Totally Organics Pellets that we carry because they are 100% organic and don't even have artificial vitamins in them. This is important if you have a bird with allergies. We also carry Harrison's Organic Pellets.
I suggest that you pick one that is organic and not artificially dyed. Anything artificial has to be cleansed by the kidneys before it can be used. A lot of pellets are just junk.
Switching Birds To Pellets article
You should add some seed blend along with vegetables, beans, rice and a little fruit, again preferably organic. The Totally Organics All In One Seed Mix is a great choice!
CAUTION: Never give your parrot alcohol, avocado or chocolate - these can kill your parrot! Also avoid asparagus, eggplant, cabbage, caffeine products, junk food, milk and cream, raw potato, and rhubarb (including the leaves).
No matter what the manufacturer of pellets say, most experienced parrot breeders and owners will tell you that parrots on an all pellet diet are not as healthy as those that get a variety of healthy foods.
Any chemicals or artificial coloring makes their kidneys work hard to filter it all out. Who knows what may have been sprayed on all that stuff?
Get some quality organic pellets and dehydrated fruit, vegetable, nut and seed mixes available here.
When fresh fruits and vegetables are not possible, dehydrated fruits and vegetables are great! Many birds love to crunch on dried fruits and veggies.
The best thing about them is that they don't spoil, so you can leave them in the cage for hours or even days. This is handy when you are trying to get them to accept fruits and veggies.
When you are going to be home with them, you can moisten them with warm water to provide fresh-like fruits and veggies. Boy does this come in handy when you are traveling or on an outing!
See the Lixit Bottles we sell at competitive prices here!
We provide bath water in the morning and sometimes in the evening on warm days, but we only leave it in there one to two hours so that they don’t drink nasty water all day.
Do invest in a water bottle. You will avoid lots of potential health problems by insuring they have clean water to drink that hasn’t been bathed and pooped in.
If your Cape parrot has not used a water bottle before, you will need to provide both a water bottle and a dish until you see that they are drinking from the bottle.
Lixit makes a glass water bottle that has a wire instead of a spring that keeps it on the cage if you are worried about safety. (Some birds get their foot or beak stuck in the spring attachment on other bottles.)
We have several cages at competitive prices! Below are just a couple examples of some unique cages we have.
The Cape parrot, like conures, need lots of room to climb and play. They need lots and lots of toys and they need to be rotated out so they don’t get bored.
A minimum of an 18x18x24 cage is really best and that would be with lots of "out" time. If the bird is going to be home alone all day, it will need enough room for a variety of toys and room to swing and play between them. Then I would go with a 24x22x29 cage so it would have more room.
Consider getting a cage with a playpen on top for them to play on when you are home. The more room they have the happier they will be.
Some will argue with me and say that they should be in a small cage so that they will be happy to get out and play with you. We have not found that to be an issue with our birds.
If your family becomes its flock, because you are spending quality time with it, the bird will want to come out and be with you. A large cage will not change his love for you in my opinion.
Cages for Vet Visits and Outings
You need to consider what type of carrier you will use for transporting your Cape Parrot in. You never know if you might break down or may decide to take your parrot with you on a trip. Purchase a comfortable cage for these occasions.
We prefer the Adventure Pack for our birds. Besides it being a nice normal cage, it has a removable canvas cover that works like a tent. You can roll up or keep down as many sides as you wish.
This is very important to keep your bird from getting a chill in winter or overheating in summer.
Here are many of the benefits:
Stainless Steel Cage that looks great.
Removable Cotton Canvas Cover to protect them from wind and sun.
Canvas cover is also a backpack.
Large 8 x 9 door for easy access to your bird.
Collapsible for easy storage when not in use.
Optional mosquito netting.
Cage dimensions are 14"w x 11" d x 17" h.
Bar spacing is 1/2" x 1.5"
Weighs under 5lbs!
Look at travel cages now
If you would like to read about what it is like to own a Cape / Un-Cape Parrot, click on the picture below.
When done reading about the Cape Parrot, visit our Discount Parrot Supply Store