The African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is an Old World parrot in the family Psittacidae. There are two known sub-species of the African grey parrot, the Congo African grey parrot and the Timneh African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus timneh). The African grey parrot is one of the most talented talking/ mimicking birds on the planet, giving it quite a reputation among bird enthusiasts. This parrot is one of the oldest psittacine species kept by humans, with records of the bird dating back to biblical times. Understated beauty and a brainy no-nonsense attitude are what keep this parrot at the peak of popularity.
Geography: Savannas, coastal mangroves, woodland, and edges of forest clearings in their West and Central Africa range.
Song / Call: Click to hear the African Grey Parrot
Size: 13 inches, adults weigh between 418 to 526 grams.
Lifespan: African grey parrots may live for 40 – 60 years in captivity, although their mean lifespan in the wild appears to be somewhat shorter at about 23 years.
Sexing: African Grey Parrots are difficult to visually sex. We do our best to determine gender (97% accurate), but cannot guarantee without DNA testing.
Temperament: There’s a reason why the African grey is often considered the poster bird for parrot intelligence – not only is this bird inclined to amass large vocabularies, African greys have also demonstrated an aptitude for recognizing the meaning of words and phrases. An African grey will need plenty of toys that challenge their intelligence, such as foraging and puzzle toys. African greys seem especially affected by stress and commotion in their environment and can be put more at ease by placing one corner of the cage against a wall as opposed to in the middle of a room.
Breeding: Don’t expect your pair to get right to breeding as soon as they move into their new home. At worst, it will take a few years even for a bonded pair to produce their first eggs. Therefore, some careful nudging in the right direction to encourage breeding will help shorten the wait. Feed your birds with a superior diet to make sure they produce robust chicks from large clutches. A poor diet will result in fewer eggs and sickly young birds.
Diet: African grey parrots are more prone to deficiency in vitamin-A/beta-carotene, and therefore benefit from eating vegetables high in beta-carotene, such as cooked sweet potato and fresh kale. Vitamin D deficiency is another concern, especially for greys on a poor diet. Offering a balanced pelleted diet as an African grey’s main diet will help prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A grey that consumes a pelleted diet generally does not need vitamin supplements added to its food.
Special Considerations: Most bird keepers believe that only an experienced bird enthusiast should keep a grey. They are complex parrots, highly sensitive, and more than a little demanding. They are also charming and brilliant, but this match of sensitivity and brains can lead to behavioral issues. They are creatures of habit, and even a small change in routine can make a sensitive grey unhappy. They are prone to plucking and chewing their feathers, among other bad habits. Anecdotally, the Timah African Grey Parrot has a hardier attitude and maybe better for households with a lot of people coming and going. The Congo African Grey parrot prefers a little less chaos.
If there is not a gender option listed for this bird on our website, that particular species is ‘monomorphic’, which means we’re unable to determine gender without DNA testing. DNA testing is an additional $50 per bird to be tested. If you want us to do our best without DNA testing, just make a note in the comment section of your order letting us know your preference. Please note that if no DNA testing is ordered, we are unable to guarantee a preferred gender but will do our best.