The African Grey Parrot is a very popular pet for a number of reasons.

These birds are very smart and a good choice for almost any household.

Appearance

This parrot has grey plumage and a whitish grey head with black tail feathers. It has an average length of 10 to 14 inches, and a weight of 400 grams or 14 ounces. Some of these birds can grow up to 20 inches long.

Lifespan

An African Grey can live up to 60 years of age in captivity. The average age for these parrots is around 40 years.

Types of African Grey Parrots

There are a couple of different types of African Grey parrots that each has their own distinctive physical characteristics, including:

  • Congo African Grey: This particular African Grey species is the most popular. These parrots can measure 15 inches in length with a wingspan of up to 20 inches. They have gray feathers that get progressively lighter as they go back to the tail.
  • Timneh African Grey: The Timneh African Grey is significantly smaller than its Congo counterpart, growing up to just 10 inches long. It has a gray coloration on its stomach and legs, with some pink on their upper body. The rest of the bird is covered in black feathers.

Personality

African Grey parrots are known for being exceptionally smart birds. They can, however, be quite temperamental at times. These animals thrive on a steady routine that does not change. Altering this bird’s routine in even a small way can cause it to become quite upset.

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You will need to remember that these birds require a lot of time with their owner outside of the cage. You should try to devote at least 1-2 hours of close contact with your bird on a daily basis.

One of the unique things about this parrot is that it will often develop a favorite person in the house. You should be able to tell who it looks best just by the way it interacts with them.

You can get away with some light petting, but you don’t want to be too rough with these birds. You might end up getting nipped at if you aren’t being gentle enough with them.

These birds are capable of repeating words or even entire phrases after hearing a person say them one time. Once they have reached one year of age, their vocalizing capabilities become more apparent. It is possible, however, for these birds to start mimicking their human owners from a fairly early age.

Natural Habitat

The African Grey parrot is naturally found in the savanna regions of West and Central Africa. They are known for making their nests in densely wooded areas as well as mangroves along the coastal regions.

Caring for African Grey Parrots

1. Diet

When these birds are in the wild, they tend to eat a lot of seeds, berries, and a variety of fruits. You can feed your parrot mostly pellets to keep it healthy, but it is important that you get the right ones.

You also need to make a point of giving your bird other things to eat on a daily basis, but not in large quantities. Some unsalted tree nuts make for a good snack, and their high fat content is good for these birds.

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You don’t want to forget to give your bird some fruits and vegetables as well. Leafy greens like collard, kale, and romaine are recommended. This will serve to supplement your bird’s diet so it stays as healthy as possible on a regular basis.

Some of the best fruits to give an African Grey include berries, plums, pears, and apples. Make sure that you don’t give them anything with seeds or pits, as this can actually be fatal for the bird.

2. Environment

African Grey parrots require larger cages due to their size. If you have a young parrot that is still fairly small, you can get away with a cage that measures 24 by 24 by 28 inches. As the parrot starts to grow, you will need to upgrade the cage to something larger. The bird needs enough room to spread its wings comfortably.

Room temperature is ideal for these birds, and it is crucial that their enclosure is a ways off the floor. You don’t want to keep one of these birds by any drafty areas in your home, including vents or windows.

Toys are absolutely necessary with African Greys, so you will want to have at least a few good ones in its cage at any given time. This will provide your pet with mental stimulation so it doesn’t get bored and start acting out.

3. Common Health Problems

One of the great things about the African Grey parrot is that it isn’t particularly vulnerable to a lot of diseases or health issues. 

These birds do sometimes develop a calcium deficiency though. They can also have breathing problems, which can become fairly serious. As they get older, the risk of Psittacine Beak & Feather Disease increases.

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If your parrot has a calcium or vitamin deficiency, there are certain foods that you can give it to supplement their diet.

4. Grooming

You may occasionally have to trim your African Grey’s flight feathers, nails, and even beak once in a while. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, you can always take it to a veterinarian. You will, however, want to find one that is experienced with exotic birds like this one.

Price

You can buy an African Grey parrot for around $1,000 to $1,500. These birds are fairly pricey, but they life a long time and make for an excellent pet. 

Conclusion

  • The African Grey parrot has an average lifespan of 40 years but can live up to 60 years if properly cared for.
  • These birds are known for their incredible intelligence, and they thrive on a predictable routine.
  • Some light petting is okay, but you have to be very gentle with these birds.
  • You should feed your African Grey a diet that consists mostly of pellets with the occasional seeds, fruits, and vegetables.
  • It is a good idea to keep this bird in a cage that is no smaller than 24 by 24 by 28 inches.
  • Some occasional trimming of the nails and flight feathers might be necessary.
  • African Greys can cost up to $1,500.
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