October 19, 2018 PetGuide
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African Grey Parrot

  • Size: 13 inches
  • Lifespan: 60 years
  • Bird Species: African Grey Parrot
  • Colors: Grey, Red, White
  • Sounds: Vocal, Loud, Mimics, Talkative
  • Interaction: Social, Fun, Friendly, Cuddly, Affectionate, Playful
  • Comparable Breeds: Timneh African Grey, Hyacinth Macaw

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Without a doubt one of the most famous parrot species, the African Grey Parrot has been cherished for a long time all over the world. These gentle, fun and talkative parrots are very intelligent and are loved by their owners for their affectionate and entertaining behavior. Being one of the best talkers in the parrot world, they will never fail to surprise you and put a smile on everyone’s face. And with their long lifespan, you can count on a great friend and a lifelong companion.

Did you know that Alex the African Grey, could easily identify colors and objects, count and recognize parts of the alphabet? These intelligent parrots will always surprise you.

One of the so-called “old world” parrot species, the African Grey Parrot is found in a moderately sized region in Equatorial Africa. This region includes countries like the Ivory Coast, Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Ghana, and a few others. Their habitat consists of rainforests, savannas, mangroves, and forest edges. Sadly, they are an endangered species, with a lot of their previous populations nearly gone. Due to the heavy destruction of their habitat, forest clearing, and illegal trapping, these parrots are on a constant decline.

With a unique, robust look, these parrots are always easily recognized. Males and females are nearly identical and will reach an average length of around 13 inches (33 centimeters). With their bulky build and an average weight of about a pound (400 grams), these parrots will require a lot of space and plenty of exercise to keep them healthy and in shape. African Grey Parrot can also be prone to obesity, so a balanced diet and activity are more than needed.

One of the trademark signs and a lovable feature of the African Grey Parrot is their remarkable ability to talk and mimic human speech. They are able to develop a substantial vocabulary with little to no training, and will always be the entertainer in the family. And with their intelligence, they can even go a step further and recognize common objects. One escaped African Grey Parrot from Japan was successfully returned to his owner – because he clearly stated his name and address! Still, their talkative nature might be best experienced in a household environment.

While not full of colors or exotic patterns, these parrots have a lot of details and an elegant charm that makes them beautiful in their own way. As the name suggests, the body is mostly grey, with lighter shades on the belly and darker on the wings and back. The bigger part of the body has a tiny, white-gray pattern which gives them a unique scaly look. Most of the face is white, and their iconic feature is the red tail feathers which provide a great contrasting feature to the overall look. With these simple colors but unique combinations, the African Grey Parrot is an unmistakable charmer.

The red tail of these parrots stands out and makes them easily recognized even from afar.

In the wild, African Grey Parrot thrives on a varied diet of seeds, maize, fruits, berries, and nuts. For your pet, you should start with a commercial seed mix or kibble that is designed for large parrots or African Greys specifically. You can also offer a plenty of cooked foods like beans, corn, sunflower seeds. And of course, fruits and vegetables are healthy treats for your pet.

You should also provide bathing dishes. This ensures healthy hygiene and a cooling off in the summer – two requirements for a healthy parrot.

Robust and bulky, these parrots have little troubles in their life. Their long lifespan of 60 years is a testament to this fact. With enough good care and attention, your African Grey Parrot will be with you for a long time. But, being affectionate and friendly, they will depend on your company. A neglected and lonesome parrot will develop many issues. Good sources of entertainment are the parrot toys. Provide a good bunch of chewing toys, ropes and perches, to keep your parrot always entertained. Be on the lookout for some common parrot related issues: difficult breathing, feather loss, and apathy. Although rare, these signs can point to a bigger problem.

Be careful when introducing new people and new things – African Greys are sensitive to surprising situations.

Among the friendliest parrot species, the African Greys get along well with both people and other birds. They are great family pets, thanks to the balanced traits. These birds can be goofy and entertaining, but also affectionate and very docile. And with the added bonus of their iconic, talkative nature, you can always expect to have fun with your pet. They are a breed that bonds strongly with their owner and this connection can last for many, many years. In general, the reasons why these parrots are so adored worldwide are all the incentive you need to get one for your family– these are wonderful pets and some of the loveliest birds out there!

Photo credit: Richard Susanto/Shutterstock; PTSilly/Shutterstock; cynoclub/Shutterstock

Comparable Breeds

Go to Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth Macaw

  • Size: up to 3.3 feet
  • Lifespan: 50-60+ years
  • Bird Species: Parrot; Macaw
  • Colors: Cobalt Blue; yellow details
  • Sounds: Vocal, Mimicking, Talkative
  • Interaction: Social, Kind, Affectionate, Playful
  • Comparable Breeds: Blue Headed Parrot, Blue and Gold Macaw