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TAG | Timneh African Grey


Photo by Eli Duke

Experience level: advanced
Lifespan: approximately 50-60 years
Size: approximately 10″-14″ in length
Voice Volume: Extremely Loud
Price Range: $1,000 to $2,000
Parrot Talking Ability: Excellent

African Grey Parrots are mid sized birds native to the rainforests of West and Central Africa. In the wild they live in flocks ranging from small families to groups of over 100. They are considered to be among the most intelligent and highly social of all birds in the Pet trade. In captivity they have a reputation of being the best talkers of all parrots but not all Greys will learn to talk, so don’t buy one if speech is all you want out of your bird.

African Grey Feather Plucking

Photo by Joel Zimmer

If you want to buy an African Grey parrot, make sure you have plenty of time to spend one on one with your bird. These guys need at least 4 hours of interaction a day along with plenty of things to do in their cages like foraging for food and chewing on toys. Due to the African Grey’s high intelligence and sociability, a life in captivity can be very difficult for this species of bird to handle if they don’t get enough attention and things to do. African Greys can easily acquire mental illness if they are under-stimulated. These illnesses usually manifest themselves in the form of feather plucking, self mutilation, aggression, or extreme phobias of anything new. In other words, if you do not have plenty of time and energy to spend with a pet, THIS IS NOT THE BIRD FOR YOU!

African Grey Parrot Talking Ability

Grey parrots are among the best talkers in the parrot world. Einstein the African Grey at the Tennessee Knoxville Zoo knows over 100 words that she can say on cue!  These birds usually don’t start talking until they are 1 to 2 years old but some may take even longer to learn. It is important to note that even though Congo and Timneh Agrican Greys are famous for their parrot talking skills,  some individual birds never learn to talk at all. If you want a talker guaranteed, buy a bird that is already talking.

The African Grey owner should expect to hear regular renditions of the microwave, telephone, alarm clock, dripping water, wild birds, video games, and any other sound that is often heard by the parrot. Also keep in mind that these birds can get loud. Make sure you have a place for your bird’s cage where his loud voice won’t disturb your neighbors.

Types of African Greys

Congo African Grey and Timneh African Grey

Photos by Snowmanradio and Michael Gwyther-Jones

There are two major kinds of African Greys: The popular Congo African Grey, and the lesser known Timneh African Grey. The Congos have the red tails and black beaks while the Timneh have black tails and a light spot on the upper mandible (jaw bone). Some people claim that the Timneh African Grey is more peaceful than the Congo African Grey.

Captive Bred or Wild Caught?

Both birds (the Congo and the Timneh) are readily available in the pet trade and are easily bred in captivity. DO NOT PURCHASE A WILD CAUGHT BIRD, doing so would be contributing to this species’ extinction in the wild.

Read More about Greys:

Cool African Grey Videos:

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