Coracopsis vasa ............................................................. By Gideon Scheepers


The Greater Vasa Parrot is a very unusual parrot. They have very peculiar traits as far as parrots go. They change colour, go bald, chicks hatch at 18 days, take dust baths, and look like they escaped from Jurassic Park.


Greater Vasas are approximately 50 cm tall. Plumage is brownish black with a greyish tinge above and on the wings. The under tail coverts are grey with black shafts.

Range and Habitat

From the islands of Madagascar and Comores off the East Coast of Southern Africa, these weird birds, are of great interest to both the aviculturalist and Ornithologist. They are generally seen in small groups in the daytime, but flock together to roost at night. They are forest and savannah dwellers.In the wild they eat fruits, berries, seeds and nuts, and will also raid cultivated crops.

Housing in Aviculture

They should be given a longish flight, as they love to fly as well as access to the outside and an earth floor as they will take a dirt bath, or a water bath and you can see them sunning themselves frequently. They can be housed in suspended aviaries as long as a large dish filled with washed sand is supplied and replace regularly.

Breeding in Aviculture

The first recorded breeding can be attributed to Antonio De Dios from the Philippines, when in 1988 4 of his 12 pairs laid but only 2 chicks were reared. Normally a very quiet birds, but they do tend to become vocal during the breeding season. As the breeding season approaches the female's feathers will change from grey to a light brown. She will also lose her head and facial feathers leaving the head a strange yellow colour.

At this time the Cloaca enlarges and is visible in both birds. The hen becomes aggressive at this time and the male is the submissive one. She becomes very demanding, expecting the male's full attention. If the male is disinterested she will chase him relentlessly until he gives in and feeds her or mates with her. In South Africa some aviculturists put two males to a female, so that one can rest while the other tends to the hen.
Two nest boxes should always be supplied during the breeding season; we have not observed them roosting in the Nestboxes other than at breeding time. The male has a hemi-penis, which protrudes when mating begins, they lock into place and mating continues.

Normal clutch size for the Greater Vasa is 2-3 eggs. Also unique to this parrot is their incubation method. Pairs have been known to bury their eggs or chicks in the nesting material in the nest box. Incubation lasts only 18 days. When the chicks hatch they are tended for 7 weeks after which they are independent. When handreared, babies wean easily and are independent in 10 weeks. Chicks are long, leggy and resemble Australian Parakeets. They have rather large upper mandibles with prominent round feeding pads located at the tip of the mandible instead of at the base.
Chicks are extremely vigorous eaters, and handrearing them is quite a task.

Pet Quality

They make great pets, learn to talk, always seem happy and are very endearing as pets. If acquired young they learn to love being held and scratched much like a cockatoo but do not seem to demand it.

Other Specie of Vasa

Lesser Vasa
C.nigra nigra

They differ mainly by being smaller at about 35 cm, and weight about 260-300 grams.

Comoro Vasa
C. v. comorensis

They are lighter in colour than the nominate race , brown under the tail coverts , they are 48 cm tall

Western Vasa
C.v. drouhardi

These are grey, rather than brownish grey, darker below and lighter under the tail. They are about 50cm long and weighs about 405-565 g


I do not know of any mutations. If you know of any please contact me at Gideon. and send a photo if possible



Although all reasonable efforts have been made by Thomasriver Aviaries to validate the accuracy of the information contained in this site, Thomasriver Aviaries shall not be held responsible for any errors in, amendments to, or any damages arising from information supplied as aforesaid. Thomasriver Aviaries does not give any warranties as to the accuracy and completeness of the information and shall not accept liability whatsoever for the use by any party of such information. No claims whatsoever shall be accepted for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the information by any party. We are not responsible for any bites due to our birds when they are viewed or bought, you take full responsibility when you handle the birds.


This site contains information, which is protected by copyright. All rights are reserved. No part of information contained on this site may be photocopied, reproduced, or modified into an alternative format, or translated to another language without the prior written consent of G.Scheepers. No party may reproduce or publish this information, in whole or in part, under its own letterhead or brandname

Free Counter