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.
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 African greys 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 African grey parrots 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