This site is dedicated to our baby Thor (the Thunderbird). There is very little information available about Cape Parrots. They are quite rare both in the wild and in captivity. We hope to gather as much information about Cape Parrots as possible, especially Capes in captivity. Very few were imported prior to the The Wild Bird Conservation Act (WBCA) of 1992 import ban. At last count (2000) there were 396 members of the nominate race left in the wild, and very few in captivity. The two subspecies are doing a little better mostly due to captive breeding programs; still, there are estimated to be only 50 breeding pairs in the United States. In the wild, all three members of the Cape family are in decline.
In captivity Cape Parrots are often referred to as the “Gentle Giants”, they are an extremely intelligent medium sized bird. At least as smart as African Greys, Cape Parrots can learn to talk quite well. They have large powerful beaks capable of cracking any nut but at the same time are rarely known to bite. Capes are very affectionate birds and can be very Cockatoo-like in their demands for attention. A large cage and lots of toys are required to keep these smart and active birds entertained. Expected life span is about 40 years.
The Cape family of parrots have recently undergone a taxonomic re-classification. This re-classification has caused quite a bit of confusion. I will attempt to explain it as briefly as possible.
Cape Parrots are all members of the African Poicephalus group of parrots. Until recently the Cape family consisted of three sub-species: the nominate robustus (P.r.r) from South Africa, the suahelicus (P.r.s) from central southern Africa and the fuscicollis (P.r.f) from south western Africa. Most of the Cape Parrots in the U.S. are from the suahelicus sub-species and some are fuscicollis. To my knowledge there are none of the nominate robustus Capes in the U.S.
Under the new re-classification the nominate robustus is now a separate species from the suahelicus and fuscicollis. The robustus (P.r.) is now the only true Cape parrot. The suahelicus and fuscicollis are now called the Grey-Headed Parrot (P.f.s.) and Brown-Necked Parrot (P.f.f.) respectively. The suahelicus and fuscicollis parrots are referred to as the Grey-Headed family of parrots so technically this site is now “Thor’s Grey-Headed Parrot Page”.
|OLD NAMES||NEW NAMES|
|CAPE PARROT FAMILY||CAPE PARROT FAMILY||GREY-HEADED PARROT FAMILY|
|Cape Parrot (P.r.r)
Poicephalus robustus robustus
|Cape Parrot (P.r.)
Poicephalus robustus a.k.a. Brown-Headed Parrot*
|Grey-Headed Parrot (P.f.s.)
Poicephalus fuscicollis suahelicus
|Cape Parrot (P.r.s)
Poicephalus robustus suahelicus
|Brown-Necked Parrot (P.f.f.)
Poicephalus fuscicollis fuscicollis
|Cape Parrot (P.r.f.)
Poicephalus robustus fuscicollis
|*The Brown-Headed nomenclature is very confusing as there already is a Brown-Headed Parrot (Poicephalus cryptoxanthus) in the Poicephalus group.|
We are just started to get used to the new names ourselves so expect to see both the old and new names used for some time to come. We will continue to use the Cape Parrot name to refer to all three species as to do otherwise would be too confusing.
After some discussion with Cape breeders and owners here in the U.S. I have decided to adopt the following naming scheme:
P.r. South African Cape Parrot
P.f.s. Grey-headed Cape Parrot
P.f.f. Brown-necked Cape Parrot
This should allow us to move to the new names while minimizing confusion to those unaware of the change. The scientific names are official while the common names are not so I don’t believe my minor changes break any rules.
Please note that I am NOT a Cape Parrot expert. Many of the people visiting this site are much more knowledgeable of these birds than I. In building this site I am attempting to gather as much information as possible about these relatively unknown birds. In order to keep this site growing I need contributions from everyone who works with these birds.
This site was first started in March 2000 while we were waiting for our baby Thor to be shipped from his breeder in Austin Texas. We hope you find it interesting and informative.
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