African Grey parrots are known as the most intelligent, the best speakers, the most neurotic and also to be a very “shy” parrot specie. They have an average lifespan of 40 to 60 years and make excellent pets. The African Grey parrot grows, in general, up to 14 inches in length.
While they outperform other species in terms of their talking ability, the African Grey parrots reveal a keen spirit and skill for biting, feather plucking, but at the same time, they show a great emotional love for their so beloved owner.
There are mainly two kinds of African Grey sub-species you will find on the parrots world:
The Congo African Grey and the Timneh, both from the Africa continent. The first parrot specie, the Congo African Grey, is larger, lighter colored and has a bright red tail. The second parrot specie, the Timneh, is physically darker with maroon colored tail. The main personality difference you’ll see between the two parrot species is this: Timnehs are less shy and potentially more neurotic than Congos!
African Grey Parrots Talking Ability
African grey parrots are known to be the best talkers among the whole parrot world. They have a true ability to speak and imitate all manner of sounds and whistles, and they can even say “Hello NAME!” very easily. However, you must be aware that not all Grey speak well or at all.
So, your goal is to make them start talking at their early age, and mostly since their first year of age. Since the Congos are bigger in size, you should expect them to have a talking ability higher than the Timnehs, and sex will make no difference in terms of achieving a better talking pattern.
African Grey Parrots Feather Plucking
African Grey are known as great pluckers. But why do they pluck in the first place? Well, there are a number of reasons I could come up here, but are just a few you should consider: not enough human interaction; too much attention; because they got emotionally abused by someone who hit on their cage; a unique frightening experience; dietary imbalances or environmental problems – like the air being too dry or smoking around an African Grey Parrot.
Some people would recommend that as soon as you experience feather picking problems with your African Grey, that you should take him immediately to the vet. But, the more you learn about parrot training on your free time the more you’ll save on bills to the vet, because parrot behavior explains most of the common problems you are experiencing with your bird, because this is usually where most of the problems lie.
The African Grey Parrots are know to be intelligent, and the truth is that if you do not stimulate their intelligence, you will end up facing plenty of feather picking problems or even other abnormal behaviors you had not experienced before. Take it like this… Parrots are like small babies who need your beloved attention and care. But like a spoiled child, too much attention can cause an African Grey parrot to behave on a very feather plucking manner.
Are African Grey Shy Parrots?
Just like the child I have told you about before, the African Grey Parrots are the type of parrot species who like to bound to one person and socialize with her. Once you stimulate their social needs, you will be stimulating their intelligence, and sense of belonging.
Once an African Grey feels like he belongs to you and the environment where you live, they will never become shy parrots. In general, once the African Grey gets emotionally attached to you, they will protect you in the house as the most beloved one.
African Grey Biting
An African Grey Parrot Bites for many different reasons. Usually this happens as a source of outcome from the environment where the parrot has been raised. Since they tend to act like a newly born child, then if you are the best lover on the African grey mind, chances are that he will not bite you. On the other hand, if you show any signs of fear around him, he will be more inclined towards the biting.
Another cause around biting is when an African grey parrot starts mouthing your fingers. No matter how strange this might seem to you, the truth is that there appears to be a great sexual stimulation, mostly for adult male Grey, related to preening.
If your parrot keeps biting you, then give them a make repressive “eye contact” with the parrot and say immediately after that the word “NO”. This will give more discipline to your African grey parrot.
At the same time, you should always avoid yelling or striking, because strong negative actions do not work so well with parrots in general. Your goal is to be the leader around the house, but without ever using your “fire guns” to avoid the biting.
African Grey parrot is not for beginners
African gray parrots are one of the most sought after parrots in the pet trade. There is much to love about grays. They are highly intelligent and are known to be the best talkers out of all the parrot species. These endearing qualities unfortunately often lead to people purchasing an African gray without truly understanding its complex needs.
Before you decide whether or not owning an African gray parrot is for you, you should arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible in order to make an informed decision.
The African Gray has been called the “cadillac of parrots”. Whilst it is easy to romanticise this amazing bird, they are not for the beginner. After you have experiencing with other companion parrots species you will be ready to try your hand at an African Gray.
African Gray Diet
African grays can suffer from low calcium levels so ensure to include calcium rich foods like rapini, turnip greens, broccoli and collard greens. The birds also enjoy carrots, apricots, figs, parsley, bok choy and kidney beans. Like all parrots, African grays love sprouts.
You can easily grow your own sprouts at home using sprouting kits, or simply buy them regularly from fruit and veg stores. Sprouts will sour quickly so make sure you remove soiled foods. Sunflower seeds and flax seeds can also be included in the diet. Brown rice and pasta can also be offered as well as cooked lean chicken and cuttlebone.
Foods That are Dangerous to African Gray Parrots
The following foods should never be fed to an African gray as they are toxic to the bird:
– Apple Seeds
The above foods are all extremely dangerous to African Grays and other parrots and should never be offered or left laying around for easy access. Foods that should not be fed, but are not deadly, include dairy foods that contain lactose (birds can not digest lactose) and salt.
African Gray parrots make wonderful companions. Once you understand how to care for an African Gray you will be able to enjoy a life long bond to a very special bird.
African Grey Parrot Facts
- African Grey form very strong bonds with their owners and can even respond to your different emotions. When you are sad, a bonded African Grey will comfort you.
- African Grey are most well known for how well they speak. Their speech is very clear and easy to understand. They can even learn over 5000 words and mimic any sound! However, some of them never speak at all.
- African Grey Parrots will suffer with poor health, hyperactivity, persistent screeching, a bad temper, biting, continuous feather plucking, lethargy and self mutilation if they do not receive the proper nutrition.