The grey parrot, also known as the Congo grey parrot, Congo African grey parrot or African grey parrot, is an Old World parrot in the family Psittacidae. The Timneh parrot was earlier treated as a subspecies but has since been elevated to a full species.
Besides being one of the most popular pet bird species, African Grey Parrots are also one of the most intelligent. In recent years, much research has been done on the mental capacity of African Grey parrots by scientists around the world. The most famous instance of this is the work that Dr. Irene Pepperberg conducted with her famous African Grey, Alex. Using Alex and other African Greys in research trials focusing on communication, she was able to show that not only can African Grey parrots learn an incredible amount of human words, they can learn to use them in context to communicate with their owners. It has been said that these impressive birds have the mental and emotional capacities of a 5-year-old human child.
Caring for an African Grey Can Be Hard Work
Because they are so intelligent, African Grey Parrots form very strong bonds with their owners and can be quite emotionally needy. Due to this trait, they do best with owners who can devote ample time to handling and socializing with them on a daily basis. In addition, African Grey parrots need a lot of exercise in order to keep their strong muscles toned and maintain an adequate physical condition. This means that they must be able to spend several hours per day outside of their cages, playing in supervised, “parrot proof” areas.