Rüppell’s Parrot

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here
fast facts

About Rüppell’s Parrot

9 inches
up to 35 years
Bird Species
Gray with details
Vocal, Natural calls, Talkative, Mimics, Chatterer, Moderately quiet
Social, Affectionate, Friendly, Cuddly, Fun, Silly, Energetic
Comparable Breeds
Meyers Parrot, Senegal Parrot
Rüppell’s Parrot General Info

One of Africa’s most distinct birds, the Rüppell’s Parrot is one of a kind in every regard: from their truly elegant and mysterious appearance, all the way to their affectionate and charming personality. Even though they’re often overshadowed by their much more popular cousins such as the Senegal or Meyer’s parrots, the Rüppell’s parrots have a lot to offer as well. With their goofy, cute behavior, these lively little birds are quickly becoming popular in the world of pet parrots.

Rüppell’s Parrot is a very affectionate pet, with a tendency to develop a strong bond with one particular owner.

Native Region/Natural Habitat

These parrots are found in a moderately sized region in Africa, mostly spanning parts of Namibia and Angola, all the way to Luanda. They thrive in a variety of habitats, most of which are dry and arid. These include dry riverbed woodlands, steppe, and thornveld, as well as areas with tall trees. Sadly, these parrots have been decreasing in the wild, mostly due to extensive trapping for the pet market, most of which are unregulated and illegal. Today they are a protected species.

Overall Description

The Rüppell’s Parrot belongs to the Poicephalus family, which it shares with the popular Jardine’s parrot, Cape parrot, Senegal parrot, and similar breeds. Naturally, they all share a set of similarities in their physical appearance. Their robust, stocky build, powerful beaks and distinct reddish eyes are all the easily recognizable signs. The adults reach an average length of 9 inches (22 centimeters) and will weigh around 5 ounces (130 grams). Although short and stout, these little parrots still have a lot of energy and are very nimble. This will require a lot of space for exercise, which in turn helps avoid obesity.

Speech and Sounds

All Poicephalus parrots are known as talkative and vocal birds. Similar to this, Rüppell’s Parrot is quite the talker. Even so, this breed is much quieter than its cousins. They can learn to repeat a few basic words or phrases, and they have melodic and shrill natural calls. Their vocal nature might not make them suitable for apartment living when all things are considered. When raised from a young age, it is considerably easier for them to pick up some words and repeat them in a goofy voice. These parrots are also very receptive to music, which brings out their fun and almost clownish personality.


Rüppell’s Parrot is one of the more unique sights in aviculture, with colors and combinations that are rarely seen. The body is almost entirely dark gray, with the distinct yellow patch on the leading edge of the wings. Females are different, as they have a dark blue colored rump and lower back. Another distinct detail is in the eyes. With a red and black mix, their eyes give a particularly mysterious, even a grumpy aspect to their appearance. One look at a Rüppell’s Parrot and you’ll instantly see what all that fuss is about!

The colors of the Rüppell’s parrot are one of the more unique in the aviculture.

Care and Feeding

In their natural habitat, these parrots feed on the various parts of plants – buds, shoots, nectar, flowers, seeds, pods, fruit. They also eat melon and insect larvae. For your pet, besides the commercial seed based mix, you can add a variety of cooked foods, such as beans and pulses, corn and other vegetables. Provide a lot of parrot toys – these birds can get quite mischievous at times, so you’ll need to make sure they spend that energy productively. With adequate care, the Rüppell’s Parrot can live up to 35 years.

Health and Common Conditions

Rüppell’s Parrot is a robust bird that will prove to be a healthy and strong pet. Most Poicephalus breeds are not too demanding in terms of care they require. But if neglected, they can develop a few common issues, like loss of feathers, apathy and, psittacine beak. With attention to details and optimal living conditions, these problems won’t bother your precious pet.

With their goofy, cute behavior, these lively little birds are quickly becoming popular in the world of pet parrots.

Personality & Behavior

Rüppell’s Parrot is a very affectionate pet, with a tendency to develop a strong bond with one particular owner. They will depend on social interaction and will enjoy your attention more than anything. Tickles and cuddles are a treat for them and they’ll welcome handling. These adorable birds are fun, goofy and very friendly. They are perfect for single owners, as their devotion to one person can lead to jealousy towards other family members. With their many lovely qualities and impressive lifespan, they can be a good choice for companions.

Photo credit: Gunter Nuyts/Shutterstock; Krzysztof Blachowiak/The Internet Bird Collection; Charles J Sharp/Wikimedia Commons;

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

More by Angela Vuckovic