African Grey Parrots
Scientific Name: – Psittacus erithacus
Origin: They are rampant in the Central and West African rainforest and some parts of the Gulf of Guinea
Average Lifespan: They can live up to 40-60 years
Size: Medium, measures from around 25 up to 36 cm from head to tail
Color: The Congo Grey has light grey feathers and red tails while the Timneh Grey specie are darker with charcoal grey feathers and color maroon tails.
Sounds: Can mimic and speak words like humans accurately
Interaction: Both Congo grey and Timneh are social but Timneh’s could be more adept with humans
Photo: Papooga | Flickr
Physical Characteristics of the African Grey Parrots
Aside from the two species that differ in color, another thing that separates the Congo Grey from the Timneh Grey is their weight with the former being the heavier one with weigh measurement ranging from 380 to 554 grams while the Timneh Grey is lighter (300 to 360 grams). Aside from the grey and reddish shades, the African Greys have also white accents on their feathers. Sometimes the red markings on their feathers are scattered on the different parts of their body.
These mutation is rare and African Grey parrots that have red scattered throughout their feathers are considered as exotic type of African Grey or sometimes tagged as the “King” or “King Greys”. Other mutations of the African Grey are: the Albino, Lutino, Incomplete Ino, Grizzles, Parino, and Blue-White tailed. They have 4 fingers on each of their claws in which the two are facing front and two are backwards. You can identify a male from a female through their size. Males are much bigger by 12-14 inches at length. Also, female African greys have narrower heads than males, their neck is more slender too.
Personality and Temperament
African grey parrots are extremely intelligent. They make excellent pets for those who understand their background and personality. The Timneh Greys are friendlier to humans than the Congo Greys and can adapt to new environment better than other medium-sized parrot specie of its kind but both are highly sociable. If acquired since little, they could go more than being social. They can be trained to speak like how humans speak.
These bird types could get bored easily that is why it is important to keep them active and entertained. If they have been bored and inactive for quite sometimes, it could affect their behavior and will try to do things to entertain themselves (whether it could harm them or not) like chew things and pluck their own feathers.
Health and Care
Those who would like to keep African Greys as pets must be a previous pet bird owner and are already knowledgeable about the recurring bird care requirements for the African Greys. Since this specie could live up to more than 5 decades, you will be sure to have a lifelong companion as long as you keep the healthy.
African greys feed on palm nuts, bird seeds, fruits, and some kinds of leaves. Pet birds tend to be fed with the regular bird seeds and pellets which lacks calcium that is highly important to nourish the African Greys. Some would feed this bird with finely grind egg shells mixed on their semi wet and soft foods.
History and Background
These parrots are also known as Red-tailed grey parrots. They species originally came from the African rainforest on the western and central part reaching some of the islands in the Gulf of Guinea. These were once very rampant in the African countries, but due to the deforestation and pet trade practices, the population of this bird specie has been going down significantly.
Aside from being naturally fond of human, bird lovers are fascinated with this specie because of their excellent capability to copy human speech. In 1977, an African Grey parrot named Alex was the first ever parrot to show incredible cognitive skills. He showed off how he was able to name hundreds of different objects, colors, as well as action words. This began when Dr. Irene Pepperberg wants to discover more what African Grey parrots can do. She believed that the intelligence of an African Grey parrot is not juts limited to mimic human sounds but she actually believed that there is more to that and she had proved it. Alex lived for 30 years.