The African grey parrot ability to talk and mimic sounds makes this medium-sized parrot a captivating companion. African grey owners often report that their greys oftentimes talk in context and seem very attuned to their people’s emotions. The African grey parrot is not just a top talker — this bird is also known for its extreme intelligence, which gives them the moniker “The Einsteins of the Bird World.”
Caring for an African Grey Parrot
The African grey is a medium- to large-sized parrot that needs adequate living space. Minimum cage size should have a 2-foot by 2-foot footprint and 3 feet in height. Larger cages are preferable.
Without plenty of interaction and training, an African grey parrot may become depressed and exhibit self-mutilating behaviors, such as feather-plucking.
At first glance, the African grey is a medium-sized, dusty-looking gray bird, almost pigeon-like — but further investigation reveals a bright red tail, intelligent orange eyes, and a stunning scalloped pattern to its plumage.
These birds thrive when they have lots of opportunities for playing with toys, interacting with their owners, and learning words and tricks. Expect to spend several hours each day interacting with and training your African grey. Many owners report that they enjoy having television or radio playing when they are left alone.
African greys are said to be somewhat sensitive and easily affected by stress and commotion. They may be more relaxed if the cage is placed in a quiet corner of the room rather than in the center.
- Frequently bonds with one family member, rejecting others.
- Often fearful or intolerant of strangers.
- Parent-raised African gray chicks are considered to be better adjusted than those raised entirely by humans. Baby birds that receive human handling while still in the nest tend to show fewer behavioral problems (e.g. feather picking, fearfulness, aggression) at maturity than those that do not.
- Tamed birds readily adapt to new surroundings and activities; expose early to daily activities in your household as well as to other pets
- Are intelligent, curious, and love to explore their surroundings.
- Need environmental enrichment, interesting toys, and foraging exercises to reduce the chance of behavioral problems.
- Wild grey feed on a variety of fruits, nuts, and vegetables.
- Seed-based diets are not recommended as they permit pet birds to select an imbalanced diet from what is offered.
- Formulated diets (“pellets” or “crumbles”) provide more complete and balanced nutrition, do not allow selective feeding, and should comprise about 75% of the diet
- Dark leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits can make up 20-25%of diet
- Treats should be limited to only 5% of the diet
- Clean, fresh water should be provided daily
Care & Feeding
There’s a reason why they is often considered the poster bird for parrot intelligence — not only is this bird inclined to amass a large vocabulary, African greys also demonstrate an aptitude for recognizing the meaning of words and phrases.
African greys need plenty of toys that challenge their intelligence, such as foraging and puzzle toys. Nutri-Berries by Lafeber Company are perfect for foraging. This complete food blends a balance of grains, seeds, and other nutrients in the shape of a berry. Because the grains and seeds are mostly whole and formed into a berry shape, it encourages African greys to hold, nibble, and even play with the Nutri-Berries. This mimics the foraging that African greys do in the wild.
African greys seem especially affected by stress and commotion in their environment and can be put more at ease by placing one corner of the cage against a wall as opposed to in the middle of a room.
They are more prone to deficiency in vitamin-A/beta-carotene, and therefore benefit from eating vegetables high in beta-carotene, such as cooked sweet potato and fresh kale. Vitamin-D deficiency is another concern, especially for greys on a poor diet.