Until recently, the Cape Parrot was
classified as a single species with three subspecies in different areas: the nominate, Poicephalus
robustus robustus, from South Africa; the southeast African, P. r. suahelicus and the West African, P. r. fuscicollis.
The latter two were sometimes referred to as the "Un-cape"
The largest of the African
Poicephalus species, they have red on the
wing/"shoulders", grey heads, green bodies and
disproportionately large grey upper beaks. Unusually for
birds, the female/juveniles are more colourful with a red
Recently DNA evidence has confirmed that
the subspecies from South Africa (above) is in fact a
separate and distinct species, still called the Cape Parrot,
P. robustus. Unlike the other two, its habitat is
temperate montane forest.
The remaining prior subspecies, both
living in savannah habitats, have been split out into one or
two (depending on authority) new species: the Brown-necked, P.
fuscicollis (fuscicollis), from West Africa
(above) and the Grey-headed,
P. suahelicus (or P.
fuscicollis suahelicus) from southeast Africa.
Both names are confusing since another Poicephalus
species is called the Brown-headed (both having greyish
brown heads/necks) and several African parrots have grey