Yellow-fronted Parrot - Poicephalus flavitrons

The Breeding Experience

Yellowe-fronted Parrot
Yellowe-fronted Parrot

Main Characteristics

The Yellow-fronted parrot is an Aethiopian endemic species. Its natural range, according to the literature, is limited to some isolated areas. Possibly thanks to distance and difficulties to access the areas of its occurence in the region, which are for a long-term disturbed by local clashes, the Yellow-fronted parrot is not endangered in the wild. 


Yellowe-fronted Parrot
Yellowe-fronted Parrot

Breeding

I have kept Yellow-fronted parrots (Poicephalus flavifrons) since 2010.

Yellow-fronted parrots (Poicephalus flavifrons)
Yellow-fronted parrots (Poicephalus flavifrons)
Yellow-fronted parrots (Poicephalus flavifrons)
Yellow-fronted parrots (Poicephalus flavifrons)

They are placed in an indoor cage, 90x70x140cm, with a nesting box, 30x35x25cm, vertically oriented with an entry hole 8 cm in diameter. 

The box is situated outside the cage, with small side doors for checking and manipulation purposes. The temperature is kept above 15 degrees Celsius. 

My parrots quickly became accustomed to their new environment and they became beloved pets of the whole family. 

They are fed on a mixture of grains for large parrots and different fruits. Occasionally, they get vegetables, children´s biscuits and vitamin and mineral additives. For their favorite food they are willing to leave the safety of their home, to take a flight and then return to their cage. 

They are most active in the morning and in the evening. They clean, feed and communicate together noisily. During the day, the couple mostly sits patiently side by side on their perch and rest. They spend the night sleeping with heads between wings on their back.

Yellow-fronted parrots (Poicephalus flavifrons)
Yellow-fronted parrots (Poicephalus flavifrons)
Yellow-fronted parrots (Poicephalus flavifrons)
Yellow-fronted parrots (Poicephalus flavifrons)

The first Rearing

From 11 November 2011 I witnessed the courtship of the couple. When the male began to court the female, he pressed himself towards the perch and fluttered his partially spread wings. He fed the female and mounted her repeatedly, during which both birds whistled gently.

From 18 November the birds were mating. The female encourages the male by crouching on the perch and by taking short sideways steps. The male mounts the female´s back, places his tail under the female and partially hangs his wings down alongside her body. He then rubs the reproductive regions by intensive movements. Occasionally he changes the side from which his tail is placed under the female. 

The birds hold themselves by their beaks, feed each other and produce a roaring ever stronger sound that gradually crescendoes and then comes to an end. The male gets off the female, the birds press gently and offer food to each other. 

Couple mating
Couple mating

The mating always takes some five minutes. At the beginning it occurred in the mornings, but the frequency of the mating rose gradually, until at times it was repeated after a couple of minutes only.

Soon both birds began to regularly visit the nesting box. They enlarged the entry hole slightly, and from splintered pieces of soft wood they prepared a fine material, that filled the bottom of the box.

The female spent more and more time in the box, and from the end of December she left it only minimally.

On 3 January 2012 a change of her behaviour and general appearance was observed - she was very quiet, seemed to be very shy, and looked unkempt with ruffled feathers.

At even the smallest disturbance she retired into the box. The male dwelled in the box more often too. 

That afternoon I found the first egg. 

On 6 January and 9 January the second and third eggs were laid. The freshly laid eggs weigh 9-9.5 grams and are 31 - 32 mm long and 24-25 mm wide.

First eggs
First eggs

After laying the first egg, the female spent nearly all of her time in the box and left it for a couple of minutes only. Occasionally, she palpated and turned the eggs very gently. She did not do this with her beak but with her tongue. 

The male visited and fed the female in the box. He spent most of his time on the perch in front of the entry hole. 

As late as 2 February the birds mated occasionally.

On 6 February 2012 the first chick hatched and announced itself by a silent peeping. 

On 7 February the second chick hatched. After hatching the chicks weighed 6 grams and were 52 mm in length.

The new-born
The new-born


The female warmed both chicks and also the last egg which I removed on 12 February because it was not fertile. 

Both parents alternated in feeding the hatchlings. They fed them at a minimum every 30 minutes day and night. This frequency diminished gradually. 

The chicks opened their eyes after day 15. The following day, the closed rings were placed on.

In the age of three weeks
In the age of three weeks


At the age of 9 and 1/2 weeks the chicks began to peer from the box. The parents were feeding them through the entry hole and it seemed that they were tempting and encouraging them to leave the box for their first journey into the cage. Three days later the first chick left the box for several minutes. Soon the second one followed. 


The chick peering curiously from the nesting box.
The chick peering curiously from the nesting box.
The first steps outside
The first steps outside


At the beginning, the chicks were returning to the box regularly, 12 days later for the night only. 

After one more week, they stayed in the cage out of the box. Very soon they started to feed themselves. 

6 weeks after leaving the box they were separated from the parents. 

On 7 November 2012 I found 3 eggs laid by the second pair which I keep. 

One of the eggs was not fertilized. 2 chicks hatched on 24 and 27 November. 

The first couple had a new lay of eggs between 24 and 30 November 2012 and the chicks hatched on 24, 25, 27 and 29 December.

Birdies
Birdies
Feathered chicks
Feathered chicks


The youngsters differ from the adult birds by less pronounced coloration, which starts to resemble that of the parents at the age of one year - the ocre-yellow areas are more highlighted, and they have brighter yellow color. 

During the day, they are very active, they spend much time by symbolized fights. They feed and clean each other. Nevertheless, during perching, resting and sleep, they sit at a distance from each other. In their choice of food, they do not differ from the adults. 

They keep their shy temperament, and only sometimes demonstrate enough trust to accept a piece of their favorite children´s biscuits from hand.

The young indipendent parrots
The young indipendent parrots
The young indipendent parrots
The young indipendent parrots

Artificial Incubation

In the following years I was able to successfully artificially incubate eggs and hand raise the chicks. The eggs were placed into an incubator soon after their brood and kept at a temperature of 37.2 degrees Celsius and a relative humidity of 55 - 60%, with usual regular turning. 

After the signs of internal pip occurred the eggs were sighted in the bottom of the incubator with slightly lower temperature and relative humidity 65-70%. In 23 - 27 days of incubation the external pip occurs with hatching in 28 days of incubation. 

The hatching is very vigorous with the baby freeing itself from the shell completely in a few minutes after beginning to break through the egg shell.

During the first 12 hours, the faeces from the inner reserve of the newborn chick can be seen. When it stops, the feeding must begin. First, small amounts of not more than one or two drops of a thin formula are given every 30 minutes day and night, with a gradual rise in the quantity and thickness of the formula and increased time lapse, never giving the next feed before the chick completely empties its crop.

After a week, the intervals are usually 3 hours with 8 hours´ rest during a night. After a month, the food is given 4 times a day, in 6 weeks 3 times, in 8 weeks 2 times a day.

From the age of 9 weeks, the chicks are offered a grain mixture with baby biscuits and some chopped fruits and vegetables and learn to drink from the bowl. In 10 weeks I only feed them in the morning, with complete fledging during next 2 or 3 weeks. The young parrots begin to form couples in 3 years, and in 4-5 years they are able to breed.

In the following years I was able to successfully artificially incubate eggs and hand raise the chicks .The eggs were placed into an incubator soon after their brood and kept at a temperature of 37.2 degrees Celsius and a relative humidity of 55 - 60%, with usual regular turning.

After the signs of internal pip occurred the eggs were sighted in the bottom of the incubator with slightly lower temperature and relative humidity 65-70%. In 23 - 27 days of incubation the external pip occurs with hatching in 28 days of incubation. The hatching is very vigorous with the baby freeing itself from the shell completely in a few minutes after beginning to break through the egg shell.

During the first 12 hours, the faeces from the inner reserve of the newborn chick can be seen. When it stops, the feeding must begin. First, small amounts of not more than one or two drops of a thin formula are given every 30 minutes day and night, with a gradual rise in the quantity and thickness of the formula and increased time lapse, never giving the next feed before the chick completely empties its crop.

After a week, the intervals are usually 3 hours with 8 hours´ rest during a night. After a month, the food is given 4 times a day, in 6 weeks 3 times, in 8 weeks 2 times a day.

From the age of 9 weeks, the chicks are offered a grain mixture with baby biscuits and some chopped fruits and vegetables and learn to drink from the bowl. In 10 weeks I only feed them in the morning, with complete fledging during next 2 or 3 weeks.


Artificial feeding


2018 young parrots
2018 young parrots

The future

The Yellow-fronted parrots are very friendly, beautiful and non - demanding birds in captivity. They pay back our care with their nice temperament and by the joy from their breeding.


Our articles

The first breeding experience published
The first breeding experience published

Text and Pictures

Dr. Daniel Jedlička

abies.nana@seznam.cz