African Grey Parrots (Phsittacus Erithacus)

The African Grey is a very intelligent parrot. They are generally excellent talkers and have fantastic and distinct personalities. 

They are perhaps the most popular and widely kept species of pet parrots, and it's not hard to see why!

There are two main recognized sub-species of African Grey.  The Congo African Grey and the Timneh African Grey. 

They come from different areas of Africa and have some slight physical differences. 

The Congo Grey has an all dark grey/black beak whereas the Timneh Grey has a light coloured patch on its upper mandible. 

african grey parrotThe Timneh is also slightly smaller in size and has a duller red tail than the Congo. 

The average life expectancy of an African grey is approximately 50-70 years.

Greys are well known for their talking abilities and can build up a vocabulary of hundreds of words, phrases and noises. 

Research has proved that Greys are intelligent enough not just to mimic, but to actually understand human language and communicate wants and feelings among many other clever things. 

Some people are put off of african greys because they think that they are 'cold' and too independent.  But, while greys are more independent, they are also extremely affectionate and loving.  They provide hours of entertainment and joy. 

African Grey Parrot facts

A. Talking African grey parrots

1. When do greys parrots start talking?

In rare cases, 3 month old Greys have been observed trying to "talk." Generally, for the first nine months in their new home,

Greys are absorbing the sounds around them and will expand their vocabulary of whistles and sounds. By their first birthday they should be talking quite well; if you have been taking the time to work with them. Greys are very social: they enjoy talking with you.

2. Is it hard to teach a african grey parrot to talk?

Greys are considered the most intelligent of talking birds. There are three basic methods of teaching, but a key element is the strength of the bond between owner and pet. Greys will build a "family" vocabulary : learning the names of family members or other pets, and  picking up frequently repeated expressions. (Watch your language!) You may make, or use pre-recorded cassette tapes, or CDs, to train your bird while you're away. Third, you may use repetition to "drill" your bird on words and phrases you want it to learn. 

3. How large can africans grey parrots vocabulary be?

A greys vocabulary can be immeasureable.A skilled talker would have about 200 words. At minimum you could probably expect a vocabulary around 100 words.

4. Do grey parrots understand what they're saying?

In a contextual sense, apparently yes. For example, if you're coming home, your Grey won't say "goodbye;" similarly, if you are leaving for work in the morning, the bird knows better than to say "hello." African Greys can also count numerically and recognize shapes and colors. 

B. Greys as pets

5. Do Greys make good family pets?

Yes. African Greys are noted for the sociability and will bond with anyone who spends time with them , even other pets. At the same time, if one family member spends most of the time with the bird while others essentially ignore it, the grey may become a "one person pet." It's also important to remember that, in the early stages of their life, African Greys are "children," and, like any other pet , a cat or a dog ; they need to learn the rules of your home. There are several approaches to training and "discipline."

C. African grey parrots health and feeding

6. What about my parrot health and feeding - any special needs?

African Greys are a hardy, healthy species with a life expectancy of 70 years and more. Balanced diet is important, but not particularly challenging. The worst thing I think you can do is feed your Grey bird seed.It has virtually no nutritional value. Calcium supplements in the form of cuttlebones are helpful. Diet isn't the only factor. Make sure your grey has lots of opportunity to exercise ; in and out of the cage. (You can clip the bird's flight feathers to limit his/her flying ability.)

D. African grey parrot supplies

7. How big my parrot cage should be? What about toys, perches, etc?

This may depend on your bird's wingspan, but generally speaking, a cage two feet deep, 30 inches (1inch=2.54cm.) across and 30 inches high will comfortably house your Grey. Perches, toys, bells and talk-back toys encourage exercise in the cage. Additionally, your Grey should have a perch and play area outside the cage ; you can arrange it beside or atop the cage; and needs to be allowed out of the cage when family members are home. 

E. African Grey parrot behavior

8. What will l do my african grey parrot when I go on holiday? 

You can give your parrot to a friend to look after when you are away or you can board him/her at a bird store.In both of cases the problem is that the bird can be stressed because he/she will miss you. He/she will be troubled and probably will begin to eat nothing.But also how the bird will react depends on the bird's personality.If you decide to leave your Grey with a friend or board at a bird store, do a test run. 

Let your friend or the vet take care of the bird for few days while you are still home.  So in case of a problem, you will be close by.This way you can see how your bird will react.If you want to board him/her at a bird store look for one that requires a certificate of health, that way your birds won`t get infected while they are away.

You can also leave your parrot at home.What is sometimes hardest for them is change of location.But `definitely` someone must come to your home for feed,clean and check on your bird.Your parrot also needs to get attention for few hours each day.


 African Grey parrot