How to Care for a Senegal Parrot

The comical, brightly colored, and intelligent Senegal Parrot makes a great pet. However, think before you leap! (Or, in other words, read this how-to.)


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    Consider wisely. Senegals can make good pets, but that's only if you give them daily attention, quality vet care, a sizeable (and expensive!) cage, many, many toys, daily attention, a healthy pellet diet supplemented with fresh fruits and veggies, at least an hour of out-time daily, and daily attention. You'll also have to put up with noise, mess, and a certain disregard for "rules".
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    Get your Senegal from a reputable source. Never buy from a pet store or "backyard breeder", as these sources often give you unhealthy birds, bad advice, and contribute to the pet overpopulation problem. Reputable breeders might be expensive, but they're your best bet for a friendly, healthy pet. But don't overlook bird rescues, where you can find plenty of wonderful birds needing homes.
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    "You are what you eat." Hopefully, if this phrase was true, your Senegal would be mostly compromised of high-quality pellets. Pellets should make up about 70% of your Senegal's diet. Healthy veggies like kale, broccoli, parsley, and hot or sweet peppers should make up about 20% more, and treats (fruits, nuts, very small amounts of dairy, etc) should make up no more than ten percent. Never feed your Senegal toxic or highly unhealthy foods like junk food, chocolate, or avocado.
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    Have a good sized cage. Senegals need roomy cages. The minimum size is 20" long by 20" deep by 28" high, but bigger is always better. Due to their clever dispositions, pick a escape-proof one (though some senegal parrot owners may realize "escape-proof" isn't necessarily true). Toys are very necessary - get lots of them, including puzzle ones and plenty of destroyable ones. And add some basic essentials like food and water containers (preferably stainless steel), a seed guard, and wooden and rope perches.
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    Be sure to take your bird to the vet. Prevention is a thousand times better than a cure. This is certainly true in the case of the Senegal! Because of parrots' natural tendency to hide their sickness until they're practically dead, your Senegal will need yearly birdy-well checks which, unfortunately, will require expensive but sometimes life-saving blood tests. The vet's is also a good place to get your Senegal's nails and wings trimmed, something that (in the nail's case) is necessary and (in the wings' case) mandatory for your Senegal's safety.
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    Decide on one or two. Single Senegals are rather clingy. This is true for all singly-kept parrots - you become their friend, occasionally their focus of existence, and often girlfriend/boyfriend, at least in their minds. If you keep a pair of senegals, the cost will increase but you will have to spend much less time with them. If you're very busy or work often, a single Senegal is not for you, and if you work all day or travel often even a pair isn't the right match. You'll need to give your single Senegal at least an hour of out-time each day, and take him out whenever you're going to do something that requires sitting down or staying at home for a long time (using the computer, watching TV, etc). Pairs will need less attention, but if you want to form any bond with them, they'll need daily out time too.
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    Enjoy your Senegal! They're loyal, inventive, funny, silly, beautiful, loveable, and faintly bizarre pets that - if you're dedicated - you'll love.


  • Read "Birds for Dummies" by Gina Spadafori and Dr. Brian L. Speer! It's a great book for first-time bird owners, but can teach old hands a few tricks too.
  • As mentioned above, singly-kept Senegals can sometimes think of you as their mate. Because of this, they may become highly protective, jealous, and/or aggressive toward your actual S.O. They may also bond with your S.O. or family member instead of you, and that behavior will be directed toward you. If these problems occur, contact an experienced Senegal owner who can help you, and consider this when deciding whether to get a Senegal or not.


  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (you can just call it PTFE, and it's also known as Teflon as that's the most common brand of it) is a chemical often used in non-stick cookware, self-cleaning ovens, and heating pads. When any of these items are heated, the PTFE gives off fumes that are fatal to parrots. Because of this, get rid of any items that you suspect or know to contain PTFE, or at the very least never allow your Senegal in the kitchen and keep these items far away from him.

Things You'll Need

  • A Senegal Parrot.
  • A sizeable cage.
  • A lot of toys!
  • High-quality pellets and healthy veggies and treats.
  • Ideally prior parrot experience, as Senegals are fairly difficult to keep.
  • Your landlord's permission, if you have one, and the agreement of all members of the family (non-humans excluded).
  • Time to spend with your Senegal! This should be at least three hours a day for a single Senegal, less if you have a pair.
  • A strong sense of humor.

Article Info

Categories: General Bird Care | Parrots