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African Gray Parrot

Last updated date: 17th Apr 2024
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What is a Gray Parrot?

Gray parrots, commonly referred to as African greys, are indigenous to rainforests of central Africa, ranging in a band through the continent from Côte d’Ivoire to western Kenya. The biggest parrot in Africa, this species adorns silver feathers, a white mask, and a bright, shiny, reddish tail. Males and females seem almost similar in appearance. Grey colour parrot may have colourless stunning than other parrots, but African grays are bright in other ways such as:

  • gray parrot are among the smartest birds in the world

  • They are the greatest imitator of human speech among the 350 or so known parrot species.

  • Research revealed that the African grey bird has cognitive skills equivalent to that of a five-year-old child.

  • This species will also help members of their species, in fact, strangers, without expecting their kindness to be reciprocated.

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Common Names

African grey parrot, Grey parrot, Congo grey parrot, Congo African grey parrot with a scientific name called: Psittacus erithacus.

Adult Gray Parrot Size

Measuring around 13 inches, weighing just below 1 pound.

Life Expectancy of Gray Parrot

On average, 40 to 60 years in captivity.

Behavior of African Grey Parrot

African grays are tremendously social species, flying across the sky in noisy groups and roosting in huge flocks in the middle of the treetops each evening. They feed in smaller groups of around 30, eating foods like oil palm nuts and the berries of the cola plant, clutching them in their claws and ripping them open with their powerful beak. The birds will also often time raid human crops, like maize.

Grey colour parrot species have been pets for about thousands of years—there are chronicles of these birds as household pets during biblical times. It has a captivating capacity to reason and an unnatural talent for appropriately imitating words and phrases. Surprisingly, African grey birds can also understand human speech, which has enabled them to slingshot this bird to stardom in the pet trade. A well-trained African grey colour parrot can learn hundreds of phrases and sounds.

Mating of African Grey Parrot

The married parrots that mate for life starts searching for mates between 3 and 5 years of age. A pair will find pre-existing tree cavities in which to create a nest, lay a clasp of about three to four eggs, which are hatched by the female. Grey parrot parents are attentive, constructing well-built nests and nourishing their chicks together.

African Grey Colors and Markings

True to its name, African greys usually sport grey feathers, some with a bewitching thin, pale edging.

Species of African Grey

There are two subspecies, Congo African grey and Timneh greys.

  1. Congos: This bird species is about a third larger than Timnehs. Congo African greys sport shiny black beak and bright red tail feathers

  2. Timneh: Timnehs greys possess deep maroon tail feathers and horn-coloured mandibles.

Care & Feeding For an African Grey Parrot

There’s a reason why the African grey bird is often regarded as the poster bird for parrot wisdom — not only is this bird predisposed to gather up a huge vocabulary, but also illustrate an aptitude for perceiving the meaning of words and phrases.

African greys require a lot of toys that challenge their wisdom, such as puzzle and foraging toys. Nutri-Berries are ideal for foraging. This complete food amalgamates a balance of grains, proteins, nutrients, seeds, and other minerals in the shape of a berry. Given the fact that seeds and grains are mostly whole and formed into a berry shape, it motivates African grays to hold, nibble, and even have fun with the Nutri-Berries. This imitates the foraging that African greys do in the wild.

African grays appear to be particularly affected by stress and chaos in their atmosphere and can be put at ease by placing one corner of the cage against a wall as opposed to in the centre of a room.

African grey parrots are more inclined towards deficiency in vitamin-A/beta-carotene and thus benefit from consuming vegetables high in beta-carotene, such as fresh kale, carrot and cooked sweet potato. Deficiency of Vitamin D is another issue, particularly for grays on a poor diet. Providing a balanced, pelletized diet, such as Nutri-Berries, as the main diet component of an African grey enables averting off deficiencies of vitamin and mineral. A grey that eats a pellet diet usually does not necessitate vitamin supplements added to the food.

How to Keep African Grey Bird Happy?

A medium- to large-sized parrot, African grey bird requires sufficient living space. Minimum cage size must have a 2-foot by 2-foot footprint and 3 feet in height. Larger cages are more favourable though.

In absence of adequate training and interaction, a gray bird may become discontent and demonstrate self-mutilating behaviours, such as feather-plucking. Thus, the owner must ensure to provide a pleasing environment to a gray parrot.

This species prospers when they get ample opportunities for playing with toys, communicating with their owners, and learning phrases and tricks. Expect to spend some quality hours each day training and talking with your African grey. Many owners also report that gay parrot enjoys watching television or listening radio when they are left alone.

African grays are known to be a bit sensitive and easily affected by stress and ruckus. They may feel calmer and composed if the cage is placed in a quiet corner rather than in the middle of the room.

What to Feed Your Africa Grey Bird: Nutrition of African Grey Parrot

In the wild, African grays eat flowers, fruits, vegetables, leaves, insects, and bark. Ideal food for an African gray in captivity is a superior-quality, designed pellet supplemented with fruits such as melon, mango, and pomegranate. Also, offer fresh vegetables, including leafy greens such as arugula, kale, sprouts, watercress and healthy seeds like hemp and flaxseed that will help keep your African grey healthy and thriving.

Many grays take delight in a variety of snacks and treats, such as nuts and healthy table foods such as salad, steamed green beans, and breakfast toast.

Provide your bird with a half cup of pellet-based parrot mix and a ¼ cup of fruits and vegetables regularly and adapt the quantity as per their appetite. Eliminate and reject all uneaten fresh food by the end of each day.

Common Health Problems Associated With African Grey

African grays can be predisposed to vitamin-A and vitamin-D deficiency, calcium deficiency, feather picking, feather illness, respiratory infection, psittacosis, and psittacine beak.

Vitamin deficiencies can be controlled by ensuring your bird eats a wide range of fruits, as well as vegetables high in beta-carotene, such as carrot, kale and freshly cooked sweet potato.

Feather-picking is generally the manifestation of a bored bird that is not receiving enough exercise, attention, or mental stimulation. 

Exercise Required For African Grey Bird Health

Sufficient amounts of activity are crucial in order to maintain the health of a grey parrot. Pet gray parrots must be allowed to spend at least 1 to 2 hours out of their cages with extraneous exercise and ensure to offer them with enough bird-safe chew toys to enable them to exercise their mighty beaks.

Pros of African Grey Bird Health

  • Social, friendly, though not like being cuddled.

  • Wise, can understand and speak hundreds of words, phrases and sound.

Cons of African Grey Bird Health

  • Needs ample attention and mental stimulation.

  • disposed to be one-person birds not the prominent family pet.

Where to Buy An African Grey Parrot

Gray parrots can be bought from a local breeder and see if you can meet with them, see first-hand and how these birds interact in a home environment.

Natural Habitat of African Grey Parrot

The Timneh African grey (TAG) is smaller than the more well-liked Congo African grey (CAG). It consists of darker gray, nearly black, with a horn-coloured beak, and its tail manifests colour from maroon to dark gray or black.

African grey parrots usually inhabit savannas, woodland, coastal mangroves, and peripheries of forest clearings in their Central and West Africa range. Though the bigger of the African grey subspecies is known as the Congo African grey, this bird really has a much wider natural range in Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania and southeastern Ivory Coast. The TAG is found in a smaller area beside the western edge of the Ivory Coast and across southern Guinea. 

FAQs on African Gray Parrot

1. What is the Origin and History of African Grey Parrots?

Answer: The African grey bird is native to the equatorial areas of Africa, taking into account the nations of Angola, Congo, Coast, Cameroon, Ivory Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda. The species' most preferred habitat is dense forests, but it is also commonly observed at the peripheries of forests and in open savanna areas.

2. What is the Temperament of a Grey Parrot?

Answer: African grays are thought to be the most intelligent of the parrot species. Many grow to be tremendously sweet, warm-hearted and devoted particularly toward their owners, and the species is known for being highly sociable.

However, a grey parrot that is neglected or bored is an unhappy bird. An angry or broken-hearted bird will call out its unhappiness. Thus, this bird requires its caretaker to provide lots of mental stimulation.

A highly brilliant bird is also a complex bird. Although it is quite social and demands communication, it is not mandatorily a cuddly bird. Some of these birds are inclined to become "one-person" birds, even if owners make all possible efforts to make them socialize with all members of the family. 

3. What is the Speech and Vocalizations of an African Grey Parrot?

Answer: Pet African greys pick up on words, phrases and sounds very quickly. One African grey is even known to have "blown the whistle" on a woman's love affair by frequently calling out the other man's name in front of her husband and using the cheating wife's voice.

Like toddlers, African grays also have a tendency for repeating everything they hear. So, it's suggested to watch your words around these birds. African grey birds are proficient at picking up and repeating any sounds they like, including telephone ringtones, oven alert bells, fire alarms, squeaky doors, and vehicle backup chimes.  Owners need to be very watchful about what these birds hear—once a sound is learnt, it is nearly impossible for the bird to "unlearn" it.

The African grey does not have a reputation for being a loud screamer. It can be soothing for owners residing in apartments or condos, though disappointed birds may scream their dissent for being neglected and can get noisy.

4. What is a Macaw African Grey Parrot?

Answer: A macaw can be any size about 80 to 90 cm, depending on species type. There are a couple of smaller species of macaws, known as mini-macaws, which are just similar in size as that of an African grey. African grays, to most people, are reputed to just have a perfect size. The tail is short and red, which doesn't impose any issue.

However, African Grays are wiser than Macaws. They have been documented to have the same level of intelligence in some cases like that of a 5-year-old child. African Grays possess the best mimicry of all parrot species and are also studied by prestigious universities like Harvard and others for their remarkable abilities. 

5. How to Distinguish Between a Male and Female African Grey Parrot?

Answer: You can spot and specify males and females apart once the birds have reached adolescence, at least 18 months of age. A male African grey's tail persists to be solid red, while a female's red tail feathers become finished with silver. The undersides of a male gray wing get dark, while that of a female's remaining light. Other fine gender distinctions include: a male has a narrower, slender head, while females are disposed to have longer necks, with bigger, rounder heads. If you find these differences too minute for you, you can get a definitive answer with a DNA test or surgical sexing process.