The Meyer's is quiet and gentle.  (Cuddles, courtesy of A Parrot Place.)

THE MEYER'S parrot offers many of the same good pet qualities as the cockatiel. The smallest member of the Poicephalus family of African parrots, which also includes the Senegal and the Jardine's parrot, the Meyer's wears conservative grayish-brown feathers on its back, head and upper breast. A light blue or green lower belly and yellow spots on the wings and crown give it a more colorful front. The six subspecies vary only slightly in size and coloring.

Country of origin: Burundi, Chad, Cameroon, Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda,Zambia.

Size: Small but plump, 8-9 inches long and about 120 grams (a little over four ounces).

Personality: Playful, acrobatic, generally even-keeled and easy to tame. Quiet voice. A good bird for children and apartment dwellers.

Talking ability: Poor to moderate.

Meyer'sMeyer's parrot warning an intruder away from the nest. (Thanks to Feather Your Nest.)

Average lifespan: 25-30 years

Additional reading:

What owners say:

IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT when Myles first saw my son, and it's been that way ever since. He likes me, too, because I feed and clean, rub his head, and lay him in the palm of my hand and kiss his belly; once in a while I am gifted with a little regurgitated food. Myles is a very moody bird. He reacts to fast movement by pinching or outright biting if one is unlucky enough to be within beak distance. Forget a short, quick drop in elevation or a little puff of air in his face for correction, as this only results in further biting and a very angry Myles! He warns with a hiss and a growl, and lunges forward if one gets too close. We've learned to just leave him alone when he's in a bad mood or over excited. Myles is convinced that violins, in particular, are going to hurt him and he launches himself in any direction away from them, screeching as he goes. He even looks alarmed to hear or see violin players on TV. The other side to this moody little fellow is a sweet, cuddly friend who makes irresistible peeps. He loves to take showers with us or nestle up on the couch for a good movie- especially if there is popcorn involved! He is fascinated by our parakeet, but would injure Harry if given the chance (no chance, Harry is too fast). --Jean Semprebon, Montpelier, Vt.

I GOT PETEY from a family where he was lost in the shuffle of small children, cats, dogs and guinea pigs. I promised him that he now had a permanent home and it was instant love. He immediately renamed himself BirdBird and will argue that point. He has a large vocabulary which includes, "Lay down," for the dogs; "Come here, Pretty, Pretty, Pretty Birdie," "Leave it alone," for the Senegal whose cage he shares, and the old rock song "Bird, Bird, Bird, Bird is the Word," which he sings all the time. He is loving, cuddly, and also very jealous of the other birds. He loves to sit on top of the refrigerator with his wings spread and march back and forth. Did I mention that I now have 15 different types of parrots? Bird Bird is one of my favorites. He has one of the most wonderful personalities that I have ever seen in a bird. --Nell Clayton, Valdez

I GOT MY exceptionally moody and lovable Meyer's, Robin, from a local bird farm because no one else wanted a handicapped bird. Robin has the most perfect attitude for our family. Anytime anyone other then me goes near his cage he hisses. He makes this delicate whistling noise when he wants attention or to get out and stretch his wings. I am able to touch and caress hime even though he does continue to bite me but I don't think with the intention of hurting me anymore. Robin also loves to make this tiny ear-splitting noise that just drives my bulldog, Coa, crazy. She gets so scared she runs to her room until she thinks it's safe to come out again.--Marisella C.

SIX MONTHS AGO baby Kaiya hatched. At 7 weeks I was finally introduced to her. She was very quiet and shy and her clutchmate was entirely in charge of their space. I was able to spend an hour with her and another hour the next day. We took to each other immediately. I was a first-time parrot owner and she became "My little girl" and I began a new life. I have no idea how I ever lived without her. She filled a void in my life that I had no idea ever existed. If or when I ever get another parrot (which I would love dearly), nothing could ever compare to my baby girl Kaiya. --Kelly Wheeler,

I BROUGHT YUMBI home four years ago. He was just weaned and was adorable in his clumsy, babyish way. Falling backward off his perch watching my budgie do low passes over his head was typical. He has matured into a sensitive, affectionate and beautiful bird. He'll never be a talker but he's a great mimic of household sounds like the telephone and the microwave, does great raspberries and a pretty decent cockatiel imitation. On sunny mornings he'll roll through his repertoire of whistles, chirps and miscellaneous noises and it's quite pleasant to hear. No squawking and screeching for him. He loves having his head scratched and while he's clearly attached to my husband and me he's not overly clingy and can amuse himself with toys or his latest demolition project while we go about our business in the same room. Right after I got him I was telling a fellow bird owner about my new pet and he said something that made an impression on me: "I have nine parrots, two of them Meyer's. If I had to keep just one, my only decision would be which Meyer's'." I understand completely. --Gay Anderson, Long Beach, Calif.

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