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Afrotropical parrots
Lesserj lg.jpg
Jardine's parrot, (Poicephalus gulielmi)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittacidae
Subfamily: Psittacinae
Rafinesque, 1815

Psittacinae is a subfamily of Afrotropical or Old World parrots; the eleven species are found in two genera. Among the species is the iconic grey parrot. These parrots are native to sub-Saharan Africa, the island of Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula.

The Poicephalus are usually green birds with different colored heads; the larger Psittacus are light grey with red tails.

African parrots (at least the grey parrot) have been known in Europe since Roman times.[1]

The African parrots, unlike their Neotropical cousins, are polyphyletic: Agapornis of Africa and Madagascar was found to be the sister group to Loriculus of Australasia and Indo-Malayasia and together they clustered with the Australasian Loriinae, Cyclopsittacini and Melopsittacus. Poicephalus and Psittacus from mainland Africa formed the sister group of the Neotropical Arinae and Coracopsis from Madagascar and adjacent islands may be the closest relative of Psittrichas from New Guinea.[2]


This subfamily, together with its sister subfamily Arinae of Neotropical parrots, constitutes the family Psittacidae, one of three families of true parrots.

Image Genus Living Species
African Grey Parrot RWD2.jpg Psittacus Linnaeus, 1758
Poicephalus gulielmi -Birds of Eden, South Africa-8a.jpg Poicephalus Swainson, 1837

Traditionally, the genus Coracopsis (vasa parrots) is included in this subfamily, but recent molecular studies show that they are within a different family.

An extinct prehistoric monotypic genus Bavaripsitta has been described.

See also


  1. ^ Boehrer, Bruce (2010). Parrot Culture: Our 2500-Year-Long Fascination with the World's Most Talkative Bird. U. Penn. Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-3793-1.
  2. ^ Schweizer, M.; et al. (Mar 2010). "The evolutionary diversification of parrots supports a taxon pulse model with multiple trans-oceanic dispersal events and local radiations". Mol Phylogenet Evol. 54 (3): 984–94. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2009.08.021. PMID 19699808.

External links

  • Taxonomy of Poicephalus parrots
  • An overview of African parrots on
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