African Grey Parrot: The Ultimate Guide (2020)

Tori Rhodes
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African Grey Parrot

The Ultimate Guide (2020): Everything You Should Know

The African Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is a beautiful bird native to Central Africa. It is the only species of parrot that is commonly found in the wild in Central Africa.

Currently, they are found in tropical mainland Africa, the Senegal River valley, and the island of Bioko (formerly known as Fernando Po). Their diversity is found in tropical climates, around the equator and in areas with abundant tree cover.

In the wild, they can live from 35 to 50 years. This means that they are considered completely full grown after their 5th birthday. In captivity, African Grey parrots are expected to live up to 60 years if given proper care.

The African Grey parrot is one parrot that deserves the title of being the best talker. With their ability to speak words in context, they are also exceptionally intelligent.

They have a great personality, are bold, curious and even aggressive at times. Highly social, the African Grey attracts buyers with their acrobatic ability and their ability to play tricks on humans.

With all these characteristics, the African Grey is often kept in captivity far ahead of its natural time. It is a common misconception that African Greys have a life expectancy of 60 years while in captivity. After 5 years, all African Greys are well-equipped to survive in the wild.

Origin and history

Where do African Grey Parrots come from?

The African Grey Parrot is native to the dense forests of Africa, particularly Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Zaire, and Uganda.

There are 13 sub-species of African Grey Parrots according to the African Grey Parrot Society International (AGPSI).

The most common are the Congo, Timneh, and the Grey Parrot.

There is also a mutation/hybrid of the African Grey Parrot, known as the Lilac Crowned Parrot, which is found in the pet trade.

African Grey Parrots are found in tribal villages along the edges of rainforests, and are considered as important as food, if not more, by the local people.

They have a long history of domestication and are kept as pets by the traditional people of the African rainforests. These traditional people, who call the Grey Parrot the cuguacu, train them to pull down palm nuts and hunt for other food items.

According to legend, the African Grey Parrot is the only animal that stayed with the prophet Mohammed during his mystical night flight to heaven.

The man who discovered the first African Grey Parrot in the US, Lewis G. Liniclot, was a Brooklyn retail merchant who had been searching for grey parrots for several years.

Native region and natural habitat

The African greys are originally from the Central sub-Saharan regions of Africa between the Sahara desert to the north and the rain forest region to the south. They usually inhabit mountainous regions.

Temperament and personality

African Grey Parrots are known to be the cute, quirky and enjoyable pet to own. They are beautiful and fun to be with, making for a wonderful companion.

The Grey Parrot is very loyal, intelligent, sensitive, and affectionate. The African Grey Parrot is the second-most-studied bird in the world behind the pigeon. It shows emotions such as excitement, anger, fear, impatience and affection just like humans. Parrots also have the ability to memorize words or phrases and repeat them. This is a very endearing quality.

Grey Parrots are very good entertainers and very talkative, especially when kept in pairs or with other pets. Parrots are known to express their feelings, which gives them a personality very similar to humans. While Parrots are very emotional, they are very strong birds and do not break easily.

Your African Grey can use the bathroom in the same place and can be left home alone without any worries, especially if you teach it to spend some time in the cage by itself.

Behavior and training

The African Grey Parrot has been described as a big, silly, clown due to their outgoing personality which many times will get them into trouble.

They may displace things, loudly rip apart paper, or scream out loud for no apparent reason, which can lead to a frustrating experience for the owners.

They love to hang upside down on their owners and show off. However, they can be properly trained for good behavior.

First and foremost, daily attention is very important. Most African Greys are stay-at-home pets and are expected to have human presence.

This bird will naturally be able to sense the moods of its owner, and a change in the behavior of the owner is often immediately answered by the changed behavior of the bird.

If you are upset or anxious, they will respond with screaming or other attention-seeking behavior.

This can be a problem when the stress stems from work, school, or any other area where the bird cannot offer a solution.

If the parrot cannot cool off from their natural desire for attention, this could lead to aggressive behavior.

As a result, the African grey parrots should never be left alone; forcing them to adapt to a single owner more than likely will cause behavior problems.


Are you wondering what are the best toys for African grey parrots that they can play with?

When it comes to providing your parrot with toys and some type of environmental enrichment, you should consider the following things.

Speech and vocalization

Speech and certain vocalizations are learned rather than innate, but parrots are capable of producing human speech (a range of three to six words or more) by imitating people.[31] Parrots are capable of discrimination and imitation, but this is not the same as purposeful communication.

In the wild, male budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulates), for instance, are known to make soft twittering sounds in the presence of threatening birds of prey such as sea eagles.[32] By imitating the sounds of the eagles, male budgerigars may be able to avoid being scouted by these predators.

Although birdsong and parrot calls may contribute to the development of birdsong in parrots, in certain cases they may be redundant.[33] An example of this is with budgerigars, where the young of both sexes will spontaneously develop their own song.[34] Although they are not mature enough to reproduce, and do not fully understand the functional properties of birdsong, they have a song of their own, and are even able to integrate into flocks.

Characteristics and colors

The African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is a popular kind of parrot all over the world. The African parrotlet is a small parrot with a length from about 13” to 16” and a wingspan of around 19” to 22”. You can see them in the wild, in Southern parts of Africa, in forests as well as in zoos. Their longevity is around 50 years or more.

These parrots are usually grey with patches of darker grey or black feathers. The African parrotlets are also very colorful when it comes to their beaks. Their beak is the same color as the feathers of their body. But what makes the African grey parrot stand out is the grey patches on their eyes.

The African parrotlets are usually very intelligent. But they are also very stubborn and reluctant to do anything that they don’t like, even for training. This makes it a bit more difficult when it comes to training.

African Grey Parrot Care

African Grey Parrots are not very costly and hence they make one of the most popular pet in the United States. Amazons are large parrots with a quick and fascinating feather color-changing abilities. Their intelligent and chatty personality makes them one of the most adored pets.

They are intelligent, curious, active, and will develop a special bond with their owners. If you are searching the best parrot pet, an African Grey Parrot is a must-have.

Their life span ranges from 40 years to 50 years. And hence, it is best to provide them with ample time to spend and to love them.

As a pet, they require a lot of your time and patience. The amount of time you will spend with them depends on how much is your time.

If they don’t get enough time from you, they might tantrum.

Before you bring your African Grey Parrot home, there are some things you must consider and factors to take into account.

Factors to Consider before Buying an Amazon Parrot

There are many things and factors that you need to take into consideration before you get an Amazon. Determining the best African Grey Parrot for your companion is dependent on the issues you are facing at your home.

Do you have enough time to spend with him/her?

How much you know about parrot care?

Diet and nutrition

What does it eat?

The African Grey Parrot diet is varied.

In the wild, it eats any part of approximately 150 tree species , nuts, fruits, flowers, buds, seeds, leaves and shoots. They also eat insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, locusts, caterpillars, and spiders.

Nuts, fruits, flowers, buds, seeds, leaves and shoots. They also eat insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, locusts, caterpillars, and spiders. Captive parrots are given a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, sprouts, greens, and cooked meats.

It helps to soak nuts and seeds in water to make it easier for the bird to digest.

Avoid hard or unnatural food like dog food, dried fruits, seeds, nuts, tough vegetables and bread.

Avocado is poisonous to birds, so avoid feeding your parrot anything with avocado content.

Natural and organic treats are also good for African Grey Parrots. Such items do not contain preservatives and artificial coloring and flavoring are added.

The cage should be cleaned daily to prevent any contamination or infection.

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Health and common conditions

In good health, a Parrot can live to be 60-70 years old depending on its species. They have naturally long life spans and typically require your guidance and care for 15-25 years. The African Grey parrot is the longest lived species, forming extremely strong bonds with their owners, and can live to be 80-100 years old.

Like usÔÇÖbirds are also susceptible to illness and infections. Some of the common conditions that affect birds are Conjunctivitis (AKA Pink eye) is a common eye infection in parrots. It is commonly caused by bacteria or allergies. Symptoms of Conjunctivitis include discharge from the eye, crusting, redness, squinting, and external swelling. Conjunctivitis is not contagious for humans, but it can spread between animals. When grooming your bird, be sure to sanitize anything that comes into contact with its face and be sure to wash your hands before and after interacting with it.

Several other conditions can affect your bird.

Psittacosis, better known as Chlamydiosis, is a bacterial infection that is commonly found in birds, specifically Psittacines or cockatoos. However, African Greys, Amazon Parrots, Macaws, Mynahs and Parakeets are also known to develop Chlamydiosis. Symptoms for Chlamydiosis include nasal discharge, diarrhoea, weakness and loss of appetite.

African Grey Parrot as a Pet

There are occassions when the owners can take in hand the responsibility of caring of the pet. An African grey parrot can make a difference in any environment; to the extent it is qualified to do the job. African grey parrots need training to have a chance to deliver what is expected of them. Training is indeed the main purpose of bringing in an African grey parrot. These parrots are said to help children cope with learning behavior problems. This is through the patient training that draws the bird for the part it is expected to play.

The Upbringing of the Bird

African grey parrot is a talking bird that can be taught to talk. However, it is not an easy matter. This means the owner has to invest time and resources to groom the bird and train it. The easiest approach to teaching a parrot to talk is to do it when the bird is young.

Lessons in Affection

A well brought up parrot is always a companion. This means the owner has to dedicate quality time to the bird. It is this attention that brings on affection from the bird as a motivation for an owner for the bird. The parrot can sometimes be too much for the owner. It is for this reason that the owner has to spend quality time interacting with the bird. This will help achieve a high level of affection from the bird. A well brought up parrot is a companion.