Ask anyone with an interest in pet birds and they will have heard about African grey parrots. Known as the Einsteins’ of the bird world, African greys are highly intelligent and pick up on things at a rate that astounds their owners. While some might not be big on cuddling, many enjoy the occasional head scratch and observing what is going on around them. Many owners say their African greys are highly in tune with their emotions, responding appropriately when they are either sad or distressed.
There are two species of African greys: one just called the African grey (or sometimes referred to as the Congo grey) and the timneh African grey. Congo African greys are are a lighter gray color with a red-colored tail. Timneh African greys are smaller, their feathers a dark gray with a maroon-colored tail.
Congo African greys are often a lighter color than timneh African greys.
A common medical issue found in African greys is calcium deficiency. Consult with your avian veterinarian about the proper diet for your African grey.
A behavior that may seem strange to new owners, but is actually normal, is when an African grey goes to the corner of her cage and starts kicking behind it. Glenn A. Fountaine of Premium Parrots in Illinois said this is perfectly normal. "In the wild, African greys do this when it’s time to clean out the nest of droppings and food. By the time a chick fledges, the nest is very dirty. The bird usually stops this behavior in about two weeks.”
When reaching sexually maturity, around 6 to 8 years of age, Fountaine said there should be no difference in behavior. "If the bird is bonded with humans, it’s fine. Also, you shouldn’t worry about the hen laying any eggs. It is rare that a hen will lay without a mate.”
African greys are highly intelligent birds that will entertain you by showing off all they’ve learned from you.
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