The genusPoicephalus comprises nine species of parrots native to various regions of the Afrotropic ecozone, including Sub-Saharan Africa, ranging from Senegal in the west, Ethiopia in the east, and to South Africa in the south. Several of the species exist in slightly different forms (or subspecies).
They are stocky birds with short broad tails and relatively large heads and beaks for their size. (Poicephalus, from the Ancient Greek, literally means made of head). Several of the species show marked sexual dimorphism, where the adult male and female birds can be easily identified from variations in feather colouration, but in other species there is no sexual dimorphism or the differences are not so marked. They feed primarily on seeds, fruits, nuts, and leafy matter.
The Cape parrot and red-fronted parrot form a superspecies complex.
The Senegal parrot, Meyer's parrot, red-bellied parrot and the brown-headed parrot are popular as pets because they are easier to keep in apartments, being generally quieter and smaller, than most other companion parrots. Some Poicephalus parrot species are rare and not known or rare in captivity.