African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus)
There are very few grey birds species left, and African Grey Parrot is one of them which is undoubtedly one of the beautiful birds we have on mother earth. It’s a species of parrot bird that is mostly found in Central and Western African rainforests, however they also have their presence in South American rainforest and in some asian countries as well. The species is also known as “Psittacus erithacus” in birds species terminology. Given the fact African Grey population around the world has reduces, it is one of the rare parrots species. As a bird it has characteristics such as intelligent, fast adapting, visually appealing and physical strong. Given their unique grey feathers and red tail, it is an easily identified bird. Their visually striking appearance gives them an intense personality compared to other parrots species. Cameroon and Ghana African Greys are two sub-species of African Grey.
Congo African Grey has grey feathered body with a short bright red tail feathers, and the has a black beak. On the other side Timneh African Grey has a slightly darker red color tail, but rest of the body is same, therefore the difference is just in color of their tails. People who like parrots as their pets, for them Congo African Grey is undoubtedly a better option as they makes an excellent pet. However, make sure you understand that it is illegal to buy African Grey Pets, because it’s a protected bird species and listed under endangered parrots species as well, therefore having them as pets in your home is legally not allowed. However, if your country allows to have them as your pet, you will have to learn about their care, diet, and other imperative aspects to raise a healthy Africa Grey Parrot at home.
For their intelligence, ability to learn human language words quickly, African Grey Parrots are one of the most popular birds across the world. Their gradient texture feathers with dark charcoal to light grey shades makes them a beautiful bird. Experiencing them flying with this mesmerising feathers layers of wings, tail and shoulder is a sheer pleasure for birds watchers.
African Grey As Pets: It is advised that one should not clip African Grey’s feathers as it adversely affect their health as a bird. In your country may be you will see many illegal sellers put them in a cage which is not advised because if you get one of those avian caged or domesticated parrots, chances are you’ll find it difficult to train or communicate with them. Caging makes them feel bored and also affect their willingness to learn what you’re training them. For first timers, caging challenges, dietary requirements, and other costs makes them a a difficult pet to maintain, but if you are up for the challenges, you’ll surely end up with a wonderful companion. African greys are physically strong with those wide wings and shoulders, and they are also mentally strong, which is a clear indication that they are not suitable to pets in a casual domestic household. For training, it is possible to make them talk to you by teaching them your language’s words because just like cockatoo and macaw parrots they also have the ability to learn communicating with their owner or training. If you are really interested in having it as a pet at home, you should always buy it from a reputable and reliable birds breeder to avoid health related issues, and with African Greys it is even more important.
In terms of lifespan, an average African Grey Parrot could live for 55-60 years in captivity, however those in the wild forests could live 60-70 years or may be more. In terms of diet or food for African Grey parrots, they depend on Calcium, Vitamin C and Vitamin A diet, that’s the reason why they thrive in conditions where they can eat fruits like Guava, plants seeds and flowers.
Due to global warming, change in ecosystem and deforestation, African Grey has become an endangered species, and the increasing illegal export trafficking of African Grey has contributed in reducing number of this beautiful grey bird. Given they are native to African continent, they are generally found in countries such as Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Angola and Sierra Leone. Limbe Wildlife Centre is the biggest African Grey rescue organisation that has worked tremendously to save the species. In 2008, it rescued over 1250 African Grey Parrots.
Imperative African Grey Parrot Facts:
1. It’s a fact published by “Tropical Alliance” organization that number of African Grey across the world have been decreasing at shocking rate and therefore it is one of those vulnerable and endangered Psittacidae parrots species. The bird is native to African continent, and precisely found in western and central african countries.
2. It fall into medium size birds category and with it’s beautiful grey feathers and red tail it can be easily identified. It also has a patch of white feathers around its face and some part of head. Male parrots are larger in size, and female ones have narrower head.
3. In terms of characteristics and traits, this bird is considered to be as intelligent enough to learn communicating in human language with its trainer or owner. According to a report, African greys have been seen in the wild copying the sounds made by other rainforest animals and birds. They are known to be as intelligent as orang-utans and dolphins in terms of their learning skills.
4. In terms of subspecies they have two different types — Congo and Timneh African Grey parrots. The only two major differences are size and color of their tails. Congo is a bit larger in size, and Timneh’s tail color is slightly more darker tone of red. Congo African Grey is mostly found in central part of Africa such as Kenya, Tanzania, Angola Congo, and Ivory Coast as well. On the other side Timneh is found in Savanas Rainforest, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau and some other parts of western Africa.
For training Timneh African Parrot is considered to be a better option as it learns communicating faster than Congo. It is also known to be children and other pets friendly and doesn’t feel scared or agitated when surrounded by strangers.
5. In some countries wild-caught parrots of any species are restricted and completely illegal. However, they are still caught and sold illegally as pets in many countries. In the US, India, and European Union there is a ban on import of wild-caught African Grey Parrots. However, if your country allows to bring them home as pets, then you should always work with reputed breeders.
6. Decreasing number of this species is a major concern. Rainforest destruction and deforestation is one of the leading cause why these parrots’s population has come down significantly. As nature lovers it is our responsibility to ensure their existence and contribute in any way we can possibly do.
7. The most interesting fact about African Greys is their lifespan. They can easily live for more than 60 years in captivity and those living in the wild can even cross that number.
8. Did you know that African greys learns faster than a dolphin or your pet dog? Well, that’s right! They can easily learn your words and accent. If you train them right, they can also mimic any sound you make.
9. For food or diet, Wild African greys depends on fruits like guava, palm nuts, and plant seeds. On the other domesticated caged ones are fed with grains, seeds, fruits and pellets. For calcium supplementation they are given cuddlebone.
10. Female African Grey lay 3-4 eggs and it takes 20-35 days for incubation of its eggs.
11. African greys hates captivity in cage, as they get bored and agitated in absence of communication between them and their owners. Agitation generally lead to feather picking. Otherwise they are friendly and gentle in nature, which makes them a good choice as pets.
12. Even though it’s illegal to buy or sell them, but in general a wild-caught African Grey’s cost is approximately $200-250, which can be more or less depending on where you’re buying from. We’d like to mention that we are against buying and selling of African Grey Parrots and you should also support this cause to save this endangered species.