If you want a bird that is playful, affectionate and colorful, you may want to take a close look at the Senegal parrot. Although the Senegal comes from Africa, this bird is not quite as vocal or as intelligent as the African grey. However, Senegals can easily learn to speak twenty to thirty phrases in their robotic little voices.
These birds are very playful, especially when handfed. If you want a bird you can cuddle, a Senegal is a pretty good choice. In fact, many Senegals are so people oriented that they will roll onto their backs and snuggle in the crook of your arm or ‘wrestle’ with your fingers by gently grasping them in their beaks. Your Senegal may also follow you in the house as if he is the family dog, hop up onto the coffee table to snatch popcorn from the bowl and beg for treats at the dinner table.
However, the same personality that makes a Senegal a fun and entertaining pet also makes this bird accident prone, so be careful not to step on your bird by accident or let him escape out the door. When you have company, you may want to shut him up in his cage so he doesn’t fly onto the hot stove or fall into the toilet because someone forgot to shut the lid.
While Senegals are not the quietest birds in the world, they are not as loud as many of the larger parrots and often make fairly good apartment pets. However, if your walls are thin, a Senegal may still disturb your neighbors when he decides to really sound off.
Senegals are great family pets and they usually bond well with several people. However, some female Senegals bond tightly with one person and are quite aggressive toward other members of the family. If your Senegal begins to act aggressive toward other family members, you will need to act quickly to stop this behavior. The person your Senegal is most attached to should stay in another room while other family members interact with the bird. Try having other people feed your bird and change his cage, as well. Eventually, your Senegal should tolerate the entire family.
Senegals are fairly healthy, hardy little parrots and can easily live 30 years or more. Be sure to give your bird a balanced diet, with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies. Bean mixes are also popular with these birds, but be sure to remove the mix after a few hours to prevent your Senegal from eating spoiled food.
Finally, even if your Senegal spends a lot of time out of the cage, you will still need to be sure that the cage you choose is adequate. It should be roomy enough for your bird to spread his wings and flap them up and down and tall enough allowing your bird to climb a few feet back and forth. Be sure the cage bars are nice and thick or your bird will bend them out of shape.