Buying a parrot is a really big commitment, because of how long they live, and because of how much looking after they require. African Grey Parrots are one of the most popular species of parrot, but they definitely aren’t the easiest to look after. This article briefly explains the pros and cons of owning an African Grey, to help you to decide if they are the right pet parrot for you.
African Grey Parrots are really beautiful looking birds, and they have the added benefit of being one of the easiest parrot species to train, and to look after. They originally come from Central Africa, and they are well known for being extremely intelligent, and for being very quick learners – especially when it comes to talking.
They grow to be anywhere between 10 and 14 inches tall, so they are only a medium sized parrot. There are two types of African Grey for you to choose from – the Timneh African Grey, and the Congo African Grey. The Timneh is charcoal grey with a maroon tail, whereas the Congo is light grey with a red tail. In both of these types of grey parrot, it isn’t easy to distinguish the male from the female, because the colour and markings are identical. The only hope you have of spotting a difference, is if a male and female are stood side-by-side, because the male is typically larger!
African Grey Parrots live for up to sixty years, so you need to carefully consider this before buying one – it could very easily outlive you! Another thing to carefully consider is that their high level of intelligence means that boredom can become a major problem if they don’t live in a stimulating environment, which involves lots of human contact. If you aren’t prepared to provide this kind of environment, you should not buy an African Grey, because boredom quickly can very quickly turn into all kinds of behavioral problems, such as biting, and feather-plucking. On the other hand, if you are happy to meet the demands of looking after an African Gray, you couldn’t pick a better parrot (in my opinion)!
African Greys live in flocks in the wild, so they are extremely sociable birds. This means that they have a need to belong to a flock, and your family can definitely fulfill this need! Having said that, they don’t particularly like being handled a great deal, so they aren’t the parrot for you if you want lots of hands on time with your pet. With training, they will perch on your hand, but it doesn’t come naturally to them, and it will require quite a bit of patience on your part.
In conclusion, an African Grey is the right parrot for you if:
- You like a bird with a big personality, and human-like qualities.
- You are willing to invest a lot of effort into keeping them stimulated.