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African Grey Parrot

The African Grey Parrot-The most talkative of all the breeds

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African Grey Parrot

The African Gray Parrot is so popular that I have assigned an entire page about its characteristics.  A recent poll rated the African Grey Parrot as one of the most popular and sought after breeds of parrot.

The African Grey Parrot is a magnificent bird.  There are two distinct species of African Grey’s and both of them are very accomplished communicators.   The species is known for its ability to hold a two-way conversation with their owners.  These birds are not just a tape recorder repeating phrases, over and over, with no cognitive recollection of the meaning of those words.

The African Grey Parrot hails from central Africa and hence the name African Grey Parrot.  One of the two species that is very popular is the Congo African Gray, which has a coloration of light gray feathers on its head and body with a distinctive red tail. There is another member of this species called the Timneh African Grey Parrot with darker gray feather coloration, closer to dark charcoal gray, with tail feathers that approach a deep maroon color.

The males and females are similar in appearance and many times the only way to tell them apart is that the females are smaller than the males.  In fact, some breeds are so difficult to assign a sex to that blood tests are used to determine which is the female and which is the male.  The average male African Grey Parrot is about 10-14 inches in length with the females typically exhibiting a narrower neck and head size.

The African Grey Parrot is a highly intelligent parrot

As with larger parrots, African Grey Parrots can live up to 60 years if they are cared for and their health is maintained.  These parrots are highly intelligent and therefore can become bored with their surroundings, very quickly, if you are not giving them a stimulating environment.  I read some studies that showed if their everyday environment is changed these birds can actually become a little “testy”.   An African Grey Parrot needs an owner that understands their unique nature and is willing to devote the time necessary to yield a happy and well adjusted bird. These birds are very bright and are quick learners.   If your African Grey Parrot picks up some bad behavior habits research the Internet and your local library and you will be pleased to see how fast they learn new behavior to offset any bad habits they might pick up.

The one very positive trait these birds exhibit, is their social nature.  They are flock animals in the wild. Because of that, they will look at your family as just another flock and will seek to gain your attention and approval. Now you might be a little freaked out by some of the birds signs of affection.  For instance, in the wild an African Grey Parrot will regurgitate some of its meal as a sign of acceptance and approval.  Most humans don’t use this method to show a fellow human that he is accepted into the group.

Typically, physical touching will not put off an African Grey Parrot.  Some birds do not tolerate this and will bite to let their owners know this is something they do not like.  An African Grey Parrot will tolerant some touching, like petting or gentle head scratching.  One of the skills I don’t recommend you teaching your African Grey Parrot is “give me a kiss.”  Some Parrots, are curious enough to try the trick, but the germs in the human mouth are typically harmful to your bird.  When you consider an African Grey Parrot can require an investment of $1,500 or more, it’s not worth the risk to your parrot’s health.

If you are looking for a bird that is all personality, with the innate ability to learn hundreds and even thousands of words, the African Grey Parrot species for you.  They will become a life long companion and provide you with many hours of levity as you watch their antics both in and out of the cage. For a brief overview of other species that might be best for you as a new parrot owner click here


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