The Jardine Parrot introduction guide

Birds Human Classroom

Jardine’s Parrot or the Red-fronted Parrot is another of the many famous African birds that belong to the species Poicephalus parrots having as a difference its size being one of the largest within that group, besides the coloration of its plumage. Not only do they stand out for their beautiful colors, but many enthusiasts of these feathered companions are fascinated by their great personality and all the aspects that make the Jardine parrots so special. However, not everything is so perfect and like any other pet, it has a downside that you can easily control by taking proper care of your pet. That is why it is so essential that you know in depth all the aspects about the species of pet you are interested in, otherwise you will get any surprises later on and it will be your pet that will end up suffering, which is quite common in birds. I mention this to prevent you from getting carried away by other people’s comments or simply thinking that when you acquire a Red Fronted Parrot it will be the same one described in different articles or as that of a human companion. If it were an easy task, it wouldn’t be such a special bird, and that’s why I insist that if you adopt a Jardines Parrot you are devoting yourself to your new pet to give it the best quality of life so richly deserved by one of the best pets you can have. 


This bird is scattered throughout Africa, migrating during the different seasons between various areas but always staying in environments such as lowland rainforest and arboreal terrains. Among these locations are the Congo river basin, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, Liberia, Cameroon, etc. These birds have been present for many years. Although, it was not until the 1800s that a human described them for the first time under the name of Sir William Jardine. Therefore, it is part of the name with which you can find this wonderful African parrot. It is not only one of its common names, in fact, it was its scientific name given in honor of this human, Poicephalus gulielmi, where according to the data “gulielmi” means William. It was most likely more than one aspect of Jardine’s Parrot that captivated this scientist who took one of these birds back home. Unfortunately, some people thought otherwise, leading this parrot species and many others to be in serious danger and decreasing the population in the wild. Even so, today it is possible to visualize one of these birds in nature not only because they are very sociable and go in flocks, as they tend to be a little noisy in this type of environment that can lend itself to this type of behavior.

The Red-Fronted Parrot has several subspecies among which are, Masai Red-fronted Parrot (Poicephalus gulielmi massaicus), Kenya Jardine’s Parrot (Poicephalus gulielmi permistus), Orange-crowned Parrot (Poicephalus gulielmi fantiensis). Not only that, but you can also get it or search for it by other common names besides the ones I have already mentioned like Jardine Parrot and Red-Fronted Parrot, you can find them like Red-Crowned Parrot, Congo Red-Crowned Parrot, or Red Headed Parrot. Its popularity has been increasing in recent years and with good reason. Due to the laws protecting this bird, as well as many others in the same region, they have helped to keep a moderate number of them in captivity and in the wild, as I previously mentioned. Some humans look for them because of their plumage, or for illegal trading while others are called “natives” who influence this type of situation Indeed, as their space or territory decreases, all animals will be affected by activities such as deforestation that affect both the Jardine and other animals that live in the same space. 


Picture from Ken Nickerson

As I have already mentioned, the Red Fronted Parrot is one of the largest birds within the Poicephalus species, and also because of its colors, it is very similar to the Amazon Parrot. As for the rest, because of its personality and attributes, other people usually compare it to the African Grey Congo and the Cape Parrot. In general, Poicephalus birds have many things in common physically, so I advise you to look for a bird of this wonderful species that best suits your lifestyle and the family. Part of these aspects that they usually share between all of them is a prominent and strong beak, as well as a short square-shaped tail. The beak is not usually a problem with many birds as they tend to have a smooth behavior or it is part of their nature. Still, in the case of Jardine’s Parrot, you must be extremely careful in terms of handling, as well as the equipment you give them. You must ensure that your cage is resistant, made of good material so that your bird can not break it and leave a place that is its “hiding place”, so it provides greater security. Following the idea of its size, you should not only look for a resistant cage but one that provides the necessary space for it to be comfortable. This medium sized parrot measures between 10 to 12 inches long and weighs an average of 7 to 11 oz. Although there are much larger birds, this does not mean that you will give it a small space to save expenses when it will be the opposite. The fact that some humans can go in very small cars with clothing as striking as the colors of many birds, that they call “clown cars” may be a funny topic in your community, but for your bird is something that will greatly affect all aspects of their behavior, and is something that will affect you equally in your home. Something that can become a problem is that it is not possible to distinguish them at first sight, even though, they do have differences in their morphology, only they are so minimal, or complicated to detail that the best thing in these cases is to do a test to determine the sex of the bird.

The beak is horn-colored and in some cases, the lower portion has a black shading and the upper portion has a black tip as well. Its eyes are covered by a ring between white or pink, having a red-orange or brown-orange coloring. This color in its eyes is what some say is the difference between the male and the female, however as I mentioned before, it is something very difficult to be able to notice. Its plumage is of a green tone practically in its totality where in some parts of the body there are some spots or patches of black color in the entire area of the dorsum of its body, being part of the head, neck, back, and the superior part of its wings. As far as its wings and back are concerned, this black tone is more noticeable, and it gives a very striking tone to this bird without taking into account what stands out the most, and that for a very good reason they carry it in their name. The reddish-orange color on the top of its head is what finishes giving an exotic and so special touch to this bird that it doesn’t need so much introduction either since it is one of the best birds you can get as long as you give them the proper handling and care. This color between red and orange is present in the head as well as in a portion of its wings, being the front or cranial edge of them.

When they are young, their coloration changes as it happens with many other subspecies. Besides having a paler plumage, the orange tone is absent, the beak is surrounded by black feathers and their eyes are brown. In the lower part of its body, a blue tone can be appreciated, although it is not something that stands out, or is appreciated with a certain ease and there are times that at an adult age this blue tone is maintained. 


The personality of the Jardine is largely the reason why its popularity as a pet has been improving in recent years. They are very active and playful birds, sociable, affectionate, highly intelligent with some independence. Their ability and capacity to speak, or mimic some sounds is something that attracts the attention of many people and that in conjunction with their need to play is undoubtedly a pet that can entertain both family and visitors. Naturally, to get to have this wonderful bird that is described in so many sites you must do your part in everything that concerns its breeding, in addition to the place of adoption. A reputable breeder stands out from the rest due to his interest and dedication to its animals. Certainly, his knowledge of handling them in such early and important stages. A smart and somewhat independent bird is not always a mix you want to have at home. You must leave the space as well as equipment, or toys at his disposal so that he can entertain himself. Your bird can be very happy if you know how to handle it and pay attention to small details, organizing yourself, and having enough discipline. This does not mean that you will leave it alone and you can forget about your pet, if that is the case I advise you not to even bother to get one.

The same goes for their ability to learn words and/or sounds. In their history, I stated that they are usually noisy when they call each other, but it is because of the type of environment they live in. In a home environment, it is different and some authors rate them as a good choice for apartments as they are less likely to cause a disturbance like other birds, such as a Macaw or Cockatoo. Not only should you be careful with what you say near or in front of your Jardine Parrot, but everything that happens in the household because they are capable of copying sounds even from alarms or the microwave.

Everything you may say can and will be used against you. Even the sound of the house phone can give you problems or play with your patience, although for us pets can be quite fascinating. For that reason, it is of extreme importance the handling that you give him from a young age since they are more malleable than an adult. If the case is that you adopt an adult bird you can run the risk of having a problematic pet bird, which would be because of some owners who didn’t know how to handle it or simply wouldn’t bother trying to do something for their pet and decided to take the easy way out. Rescue centers will also let you know about these types of cases or scenarios that sadly continue to happen with any type of pet. If you are one of the few people who take responsibility for fixing the mistake of others I admire you as a human being, however, if you want to avoid being part of the problem and think that you are not up to the task of taking a wild parrot home you better not feel sorry for yourself and save a bird a very bad time that it does not deserve because of the negligence, and ineptitude of some humans. 

Don’t be embarrassed to seek help, it’s not bad if you don’t have knowledge in a specific area and we pets won’t judge you for it. There will always be something to learn and it usually happens even with those with experience so it shouldn’t make you feel bad. The problem lies in the lack of commitment when it comes to raising a bird that is educated and worthy of being envied, just as with young humans, it all depends on breeding, feeding, and handling.


Picture from Mike Grant

To begin with, I will take up the idea of the space and the cage of your new Jardine Parrot. It must be comfortable so a cage that’s proportional to its size or an aviary will cover this aspect without any problem. Another option you have at hand is some room in the house but it should be completely safe for your bird as well as for the other inhabitants of the house, as everyone should be treated equally. Depending on what you can provide, it will depend on how you manage the time you can share with your bird and how long you can allow it to stay outside its cage. Even if they are independent and do not require as much time with another family member, it does not mean that they do not enjoy it or appreciate it. As long as you can share with your Jardine, don’t hesitate to do so. With their laid-back personality and focus on their little world of fun and games it is sure to be a time that both, if not all, will enjoy. To know where to place your new pet’s cage, or how to create a safe space for it I invite you to read my article about the care and management of pet birds where I explain in more detail these important aspects. In case you already have experience in this field, for example, I will not make the text more extensive and cumbersome for you.

Food is of vital importance to any living being and should not be an aspect you overlook. Remember that we pets are seen as young humans, only with our little differences in kinship (We know we are better looking than you humans). In their natural habitat, their diet varies in fruits, seeds, and even insects. Although some of them may be available in your house, it is best to give them commercial foods that are completely natural, so you can avoid any problems with the health of your new pet and make sure you give them something that is of good quality. Seeds alone will not complement your pet’s diet, so I recommend the food that comes is concentrated and has everything your Red-fronted Parrot will need. Anything else I mention here can be used as an appetizer, snack, or treat as long as you don’t overdo it. To be sure that the food or some other aspect is not going to affect your pet bird, it is best to consult with the avian veterinarian who will be the best ally for both your pet and you, its owners or caretakers, to make a health plan that guarantees a full and happy quality of life. Visits to the doctor do not have to be a traumatic event for anyone and you can work on that little by little to avoid exposing your pet to this type of scenario in a very abrupt way. It is recommended for many reasons that you make a habit of these visits since it will allow you to keep under control any possible illness that your bird may contract, regardless of how you care for it. The frequency of these check-ups should be told to you by the bird’s vet and not by a neighbor or a friend, even though your Jardine is the one who chit-chats, among you humans can be very gossipy without having a base or respecting the profession of the veterinarian so that later on you can go with your tail between your legs when it is an emergency. Remember that the one who suffers in these cases is your pet for your experiments, not you. 

Baths, nails, beak, and wing trimming are best done by a person trained to do this type of task, except for the bath, which you can do at home without any problem by following the doctor’s instructions as well as using products that only he authorizes. The Jardine Parrot has a good physical condition that helps keeps them active and in good condition so you will rarely see any problems or illnesses. They can reach 30 years in average lifespan, of course, they can reach more than this but it varies from many things. Having diseases that get out of hand is certainly something that is regrettable and that no one wants to experience. That is why it is remarkably significant to give your pets the best quality of life to guarantee that the time they spend in your care is the best they can have throughout their lives.


The Jardine Parrot is a bird that has been through many things, but due to the efforts of many people, it has managed to attract the attention of good folks who care about them, letting the rest of the world know what wonderful beings they are if they are given the necessary care. A pet is a great responsibility and you don’t need to be a pirate to be able to raise a bird, land lover (jk).

I hope this guide has been helpful and that you have a better idea of what these wonderful birds are like. If you are a lovebird, have any questions, or if you think I missed something please let me know in the comment segment down below.

Professor Whiskers
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