One of the most distinctive breeds of parrot is the African Grey. This gallant bird is known for its stand-out smoky grey tinted feathers that give it such an unusual appearance, and of course, it’s chatty persona.
The African Grey is part of the ‘psittacidae’ family of birds, and includes the ‘Congo Grey’ and ‘Timneh African Grey.’
Congo African Grays are distinguishable for their shiny black beaks and red tail feathers, while the Tinmeh has horn-colored mandibles and deep red tail feathers.
They date back to thousands of years, spanning as far back as biblical times. Notably, they make particularly good family-friendly pets, least of all because of their charming personalities.
As their name suggests, they hail from Africa, usually found in dense habitats such as forests, as well as open woodland areas where they can roam free.
In terms of parrots, the African Grey is medium to large in size, at their peak reaching 12-13 inches from the tip of their tail to their beak. Weighing from 10-20 ounces, they can range in size, however the Congo African Gray is noticeably bigger than the Timneh.
Owning an African Grey
African Grey parrots have a longer lifespan that an average parrot, and typically live to about 50 years old, although some have even reached 75 years! As such, you can expect lifetime companionship with these friendly pets.
This is a bird that benefits from company, since they are particularly sociable. They are best paired in the company of owners who can spend adequate time teaching and playing with them.
In the US, there are more than a quarter of a million parrots imported annually.
The ASPCA helps re-home parrots, however if you decide to buy one from a pet store, make sure they are reputable sellers. The ASPCA advise that chicks should be reared by captive-bred parents and should be able to eat on their own before sale.
Like other parrots, African Greys are known to make noise and chatter. However, what makes this breed particularly famous is their ability to learn hundreds of words and imitate sounds.
Extremely intelligent, they are known to replicate sounds of telephones, doorbells and other household noises. They are so smart that they have even been found to mimic accents of the people around them!
Caring for your African Grey
Although bubbly and chirpy, the African Grey can be a sensitive parrot, and will find comfort being placed in a quiet spot in your house.
They enjoy seeds, nuts, and lots of fresh green vegetables, as well as the occasional bit of leftover salad as a treat.
Due to their origin, this is a bird that requires plenty of exercise. They should therefore spend a minimum of one hour (or two) outside of their cages evert day, with plenty of opportunity to fly around and enjoy stimulation from chew toys and interaction from owners.
Health and Wellbeing
A common issue that this breed suffer from is calcium deficiency, which you can address by ensuring that have calcium rich cuttlebones for them to enjoy. Like other birds, they are prone to feather picking and feather disease, as well as certain vitamin deficiencies too. A good diet and plenty of opportunity to exercise is therefore key.
Thinking about adopting a bird? Here’s what you should know in advance.