Cape Parrot
Poicephalus robustus

Lorito Robusto

32 cm. medium length and a weight between 300 and 400 g..

The Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus) has the head, neck and throat Brown olive-yellow olive color, with darker spots (almost black in some birds), especially in the crown; lores and cheeks blackish; pale red frontal band, is present, occasionally, in males (generally evident in females).

The mantle feathers and scapulars dark green opaque, bright green-edged; rump bright green.

Coverts on the leading edges of the wings, Since the carpal joints at the base of the primaries, bright orange red; upper wing coverts, dark green to black, with lighter green edges; below, the feathers of the wings Green and blackish. The primaries and secondaries black top, dark brown below. High area of the chest, stomach and vent, bright green; the thighs orange red glossy. Upper, the tail black; undertail, dark brown.

Some birds (around the 10%) have feathers yellow in the plumage spread.

Bill color horn; irises dark brown to reddish brown; legs bluish grey.

The females, generally (Although not always), they have well defined orange red frontal band.

The youth lack of color marks orange red envelope the wing-coverts and the thighs, but tend to show a bit of red in the forecrown.

  • Sound of the Cape Parrot.
[audio:HTTPS:// Robusto.mp3]

Subspecies description:

Taxonomic status:

In a study initiated in 1992, the taxonomic status of Lorito was revised Robusto (Poicephalus robustus) (Gmelin), and two species were proposed; Poicephalus robustus, restricted to montane forests of southern Africa, Poicephalus fuscicollis suahelicus, with wider distribution in wooded areas, and Poicephalus fuscicollis fuscicollis, similar to the Poicephalus fuscicollis suahelicus ostensibly, but with discontinuous, restricted to a narrow range of forests and West Africa.

  • Poicephalus robustus robustus (Gmelin, 1788) – The nominal species
  • Poicephalus robustus suahelicus (Reichenow, 1898) – Of larger size the species nominal, the male has the head and the neck a silvery gray and lacks the reddish frontal band. The female has orange colouring in the the thighs and in the shoulders and in the cere, while the male not. Blue tint in the rump.
  • Poicephalus robustus fuscicollis (Kuhl, 1820) – The smaller subspecies. With more blue tones, especially in rump and bottom of the back.


They live in a variety of forest types, including Red Mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) (for example, in Gambia), riparian forests (for example in Ghana, Zimbabwe), Savanna Woods (for example, Nigeria, Ivory Coast), in montane forests at altitudes of 3,750m (for example, East of Zaire), in lowland forests (for example, South Zaire).

Birds of the South Africa they have favoritism by the Acacia mearnsii and Podocarpus forests at altitudes between 1.000 and 1,700 m, separating attitudinally and ecologically in the subspecies suahelicus, It occurs in lowland forests.

Birds of the South Africa (also perhaps other species) they form communal roosts before spreading to power remote areas (until 90 km) in small flocks.

Sometimes seen separately but more usually found in groups of up to 20 birds (sometimes 50). It forms mixed flocks with peers.


The nest in hollow trees (including in Brachystegia, Adansonia or Podocarpus) between 6 and 12 meters above the ground.

The season of breeding varies with the town. In Gambia, According to reports, breeding takes place between the months of February and April, While in Zimbabwe It is estimated to be between the months of March to June, and between October and November. In South Africa, breeding occurs in June and from August to October.

The laying tends to be of 3 - 4 eggs.

During the courtship the male feeds the female making exaggerated turns his head and dropping their wings to form a kind of layer around the lower half of your body. The pair shows a strong union ties and they spend much time grooming each other.


In Zimbabwe, In addition to daily trips in search of food, seasonal movements are performed in search of Uapaca and fruits of Sysygium.

Feed of fruits of ficus, Olea capensis, Mimusops caffra, Acacia molissima, Melia azecdarach, Terminalia, Calodendron capense and Commiphora, the consumption of seeds has also been recorded from the Acacia mearnsii, Monotes glaber and the fruits of the Parinari curatellifolia. However, they may prefer the pulp of fruit, discarding the seeds and grains of the seeds.

Has been feeding of millet in Zimbabwe and Malawi, of peanuts harvested in Gambia and, occasionally, visiting gardens of Apple trees, but numerous enough to be considered a plague serious nowhere.

Birds of the South Africa feed almost exclusively on fruit of the Podocarpus, long as they are available.

Use the peak to climb between the branches when they feed in the trees; They also feed on the ground. The Cape Parrot make daily trips to secret locations for drinking water.


Probably occupy three zones separated, in the West, South-Central and South of Africa.

In West Africa, are from Gambia and South of Senegal to the East of Ghana and Togo.

In the Center-South of Africa, from the southwest of Congo, South and East of Zaire, Southwest of Uganda, Rwanda and from the center of Tanzania to the North of Namibia, North of Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

In South Africa from the North-East of Transvaal to the Province Eastern Cape.

Flocks of foraging roam unpredictably and can remain away from traditional sites for weeks. Sometimes they make seasonal movements in relation to the availability of food, for example, in the northern savannas of Ghana.

Local and most unusual in the range, Although more numerous and frequent in Ghana.

Distribution of subspecies:

  • Poicephalus robustus robustus (Gmelin, 1788) – The nominal species
  • Poicephalus robustus suahelicus (Reichenow, 1898) – Are distributed by the center of Angola; Southeast of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and South of Tanzania until Zimbabwe, North of Mozambique, and far northeast of South Africa; the three subspecies can mix in populations along the lower part of the Congo River.
  • Poicephalus robustus fuscicollis (Kuhl, 1820) – Are distributed from the South of the Senegal and Gambia to the North of Ghana


• Current red list of UICN: Least concern

• Population trend: Decreasing

In 1988 included for the first time in the red list of threatened species by the IUCN as least concern species.

The size of its current population is estimated at less than 1.600 birds in their natural habitat.

Why not join this parrot species in critically endangered is due to the subspecies This include a broadcast area vastly greater to the of the nominal species, whereupon, This leads to a growth in the population of subspecies and the decrease of the nominal species. The subspecies occupy all the Central Africa and Western, while the Poicephalus robustus only lives in some provinces of South Africa as they are Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo.

Over time the Poicephalus robustus, they have drastically dropped its population due to the uncontrolled felling of the forests of Sandalwood to manufacture furniture. Reaching there only two per cent of the forest of Sandalwood.

Area of diffusion of the Poicephalus fuscicollis and Poicephalus robustus
Area of diffusion of the Poicephalus fuscicollis and Poicephalus robustus

In captive the Cape Parrot is found in small amounts in several countries of Europe and without many successful advances of breeding, so the first objective to preserve the nominal species is to control the logging of forests, Since the Cape Parrot they have to travel many miles to feed, as there is no food have to descend to feed from the crop fields where many die because they are hunted by the owners of the fields. Forests are also needed in the life of the Poicephalus robustus since they nest in cavities of the trees, they feed on.

The legal and illegal trade It is another point to be highlighted in the conservation of this species. From 1998 countries with more legal exports have been Tanzania, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Côte d'Ivoire. What makes think that the nominal species It has been the least affected in the terms of trade while the subspecies they have been the most affected and the most marketed. This you can tell watching the broadcast area of the subspecies and the countries with more exports made.

The diseases they are also a major threat, above all in the nominal species. The disease of PBFD or beak and feather disease (Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease virus) is that more deaths has caused to the Poicephalus robustus.

Lorito Robusto in captivity:

It is very similar in nature to the Grey Parrot.
Its capacity of imitation is still not well known since, for years, It has been very difficult to achieve in poultry.

Not advisable to keep mixed aviaries. Are quiet Depending on your type of poultry rearing (natural or by hand) and previous experiences, they can be quite confident and curious, even without being hand reared do not usually take to commit themselves. As pets they are very Welcome to, Smart and affectionate, with a very good character.

The captive breeding of this species may be the last hope of saving her from the mass extinction. The number of specimens in captivity is low, But enough, If handled properly to strengthen the species.

In terms of their longevity, According to sources, a Cape Parrot lived 29,7 years in captivity. In captivity, These birds can be raised from the 5 years of age.

Alternative names:

Cape Parrot, Brown necked Parrot, Brown-necked Parrot, Cape or Brown-necked Parrot, Gray-headed Parrot, Grey-headed Parrot (English).
Perroquet à cou brun, Perroquet du Cap, Perroquet du Cap ou P. à cou brun, Perroquet robuste (French).
Graukopfpapage, Kap Papagei, Kappapagei (German).
Papagaio-de-bico-grosso (Portuguese).
Lorito Robusto, Loro de El Cabo (Spanish).

Gmelin Johann Friedrich
Gmelin Johann Friedrich

Scientific classification:

Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittacidae
Genus: Poicephalus
Scientific name: Poicephalus robustus
Citation: (Gmelin, JF, 1788)
Protonimo: Psittacus robustus

Cape Parrot images:


Cape Parrot (Poicephalus robustus)


– Parrots of the World – Forshaw Joseph M
– Parrots A Guide to the Parrots of the World – Tony Juniper & Mike Parr


(1) – To Brown-necked Parrot at Jurong Bird Park, Singapore By Peter so [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
(2) – Cape Parrot at Benvie, Karkloof, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa By Alan Manson [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
(3) – Youth, captive, friendly Poicephalus robustus fuscicollis by Bob Corrigan – Flickr
(4) – Male Cape parrot (Poicephalus robustus). Image credit: Cyril Laubscher –
(5) – Cape parrot flying low over to wild plum tree. Africa's most endangered parrot like never before... (Rodnick Biljon) – nationalgeographic
(6) – Area of diffusion of the Poicephalus fuscicollis and Poicephalus robustus By Juan Caparrós (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sounds: Daniel Danckwert (Xeno-canto)

0/5 (0 Reviews)
0 0 vote
Rate the input

Sharing is caring!!

Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
PHP Code Snippets Powered By :
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x