Red Bellied Parrot

African Savanna

Location in Zoo

African Savanna
9 in
9 in
5 oz
5 oz

1 year
1 year

Geographic Range

East Africa from northeastern Tanzania, eastern and northern Kenya to central Ethiopia

Scientific Information

Scientific Name:
Poicephalus rufiventris

Lifestyle and Lifespan

Activity Time Frame:
Sexual Dimorphism:
28 days
Lifespan in the Wild:
25 years
Lifespan in Captivity:
25 years


Least Concerned


Parrots are birds who are generally found in tropical habitats in the Americas, Africa, and Australia. Many make a range of vocal calls and can mimic sounds. Their feet are zygodactyly, with two toes in front and two in the back. They are highly intelligent both in terms of logic and social behavior.

Species Specifics

The red-bellied parrot is a medium sized parrot. The male red-bellied parrot is distinguished by a deep orange belly, ash-brown upper parts and bright pale bluish rump. The female has a gray upper breast, pale green lower breast sometimes tinged with orange, and a head that is paler and grayer than a male's. Both sexes have red irises, dark gray beaks and gray feet.

Physical Characteristics

The zygodactyly feet of the red-bellied parrot, with two toes in front and two toes in back, help it to perch on branches of all diameters. The curved beak makes easy work of any fruit or seed.



Dry bush areas and acacia woodlands


There are some seasonal movements but no great migration.


Fruits, seeds and grain.

Ecological Web

As a fruit-eater, spreading seeds is an important role the red-bellied parrot holds. They ingest seeds and as they fly around their range, their droppings help new plants and trees to grow.

Activity and Behavior

Activity Pattern


A swift bullet-like flight just below tree-top level accompanied with a shrill screech is characteristic of this bird.

Social Behavior

Red-bellied parrots live in pairs or family groups of up to 4 birds. They will nest in hollow trees or termite mounds.

Reproductive Behavior

Though sexual maturity is reached at 1 year of age, breeding may not occur until 3 or 4 years of age.


A clutch will consist of 1-3 ivory white eggs which hatch after 28 days. Newly hatched chicks weigh 0.2 oz. Chicks will leave the nest after 63 days and be fully independent after 12-14 weeks.



Red-bellied parrots are listed as Least Concern by the IUCN. They are listed on Appendix II of CITES.


Current Threats

Our Role

The Oakland Zoo has red-bellied parrots on exhibit to teach the public about this special bird. The Oakland Zoo is also partnered with Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue which works to rescue and re-home abandoned parrots. Many parrots are taken from the wild or bred in captivity for selling in the illegal pet trade. Mickaboo and the Oakland Zoo educates the public about the benefits of rescuing your next pet, not buying it.

How You Can Help

If you are interested in having a parrot as a pet, do extensive research before deciding. Parrots are long-lived birds, and may outlive many humans. They require lots of stimulation, enrichment, and attention.If you are determined in getting a parrot, please consider getting a rescued parrot as opposed to a young/baby parrot to avoid the risk of getting a parrot that was smuggled from the wild (a very traumatic experience for birds) and supporting the illegal pet trade. The Oakland Zoo is a conservation partner to Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue, a good organization from which to adopt.

Fascinating Facts

Also known as the Orange-bellied Parrot, Red-breasted Parrot, Abyssinian Parrot.

Juniper, Tony and Mike Parr. Parrots: A Guide to the Parrots of the World. 1998. Yale University Press, p.383.

BirdLife International. 2016. Poicephalus rufiventris. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22685312A93067459. Downloaded on 22 September 2017.

World Parrot Trust, 2017. "Red-bellied Parrot (Poicephalus rufiventris)." Downloaded on 29 September 2017.

Mickaboo, 2017.