Written by 20:14 Parrots

Every Thing You Need to Know African Grey Parrots

Beautiful African Grey Parrot perched on a stand

African Grey Parrots are recognized for their captivating intelligence and outstanding mimicry skills. These birds get attention as the “Einsteins of the parrot world”. It’s a fitting title that shows their exceptional cognitive abilities. They are inborn to the rainforests of West and Central Africa. These parrots are divided into two subspecies: the smaller, darker Timneh Grey and the more widespread Congo Grey.

Scientific NamePsittacus erithacus
SubspeciesTimneh Grey , Congo Grey (P. e. erithacus)
Natural HabitatRainforests of West and Central Africa
SizeApproximately 12-14 inches in length
Weight400-650 grams
LifespanUp to 60 years in captivity
DietPellets, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, occasional grains and legumes
IntelligenceHigh; can solve complex puzzles, understand concepts, use tools.
Mimicry AbilityExcellent; can mimic human speech and sounds, some mastering hundreds of words
Social NeedsHigh; requires regular interaction and mental stimulation.
Common Health IssuesVitamin A and D3 deficiency, respiratory problems, feather plucking
Average Price Range$2,000 – $8,000+
Conservation StatusListed on CITES Appendix II, facing threats from habitat loss and pet trade

African Grey Parrots: Feathered Einsteins of the Bird World


Interesting Facts

  1. Exceptional Cognitive Abilities

They have exceptional intelligence and problem solving abilities. They can solve complex puzzles and understand the concept of object permanence. They even use tools in their daily activities. Their intelligence is remarkable and they always have advanced learning capabilities. 

  1. Mimicry

They have an excellent ability to mimic human speech and ambient sounds are unparalleled. Some African Greys can imitate vocabularies of hundreds of words and phrases, using them contextually in their interactions. This talent makes them one of the most sought-after pets for bird lovers.

  1. Lifelong Learners

These birds are epitomes of curiosity. Their desire to explore and experiment is a testament to their intelligence. They thrive in environments with new challenges and experiences, showcasing their adaptability and cognitive growth.

  1. Strong Emotional Bonds

They are emotionally intelligent and known to form strong ever-lasting bonds. Their bonds with their human companions are remarkable. They look for regular social interaction to maintain their mental health.

  1. Habitat and Distribution

African Grey Parrots prefer tall trees with dense foliage, which offers them protection and resources. While Timneh Greys are typically found in the smaller western regions, Congo Greys dominate the central areas. However, habitat loss due to deforestation is a threat to their existence.


Dietary Needs


A balanced diet for an African Grey should include:

Fruits & Veggies

Variety of fruits such as apples, bananas, berries, melons, and pears are good for parrots. Don’t feed avocado and chocolate as they are toxic to parrots. Only feed those fruits which contribute only 20% of their daily diet. Veggies are essential for vitamins and minerals. They can eat leafy green veggies like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, carrots, sweet potatoes and squash. Veggies can constitute around 10-15% of the diet.

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts like almonds, walnuts and pecans are good in moderation as a treat because these are high in fibre. Similarly seeds should be given carefully due to their high fat content. 


Cooked grains like brown rice, quinoa, barley and whole wheat pasta can be offered occasionally. Grains provide additional vitamins and minerals which are sufficient for their health.


They will be needing more calcium than other parrots. Cuttlebone or mineral blocks can be provided to meet their calcium needs.


Fresh clean water should be available at all times. Change water daily to prevent contamination.

Important Dietary Considerations

  • Vitamin A and D3: African Greys are prone to Vitamin A deficiency. Always include foods high in this vitamin such as sweet potatoes and carrots. Vitamin D3 is also important especially for indoor birds with limited exposure to natural sunlight.
  • Avoid Certain Foods: Avocado and chocolate, caffeine, alcohol, and foods high in fat, salt, and sugar should be avoided.
  • Moderation and Variety: Balance and variety are key to a healthy diet. Rotating foods prevents boredom and ensures a range of nutrients.
  • Supplements: Consult a veterinarian for dietary supplements, especially if your parrot’s diet lacks diversity.

Care and Keeping

Here’s a list of African Grey Parrot care keeping

Demanding Pets

African Greys demand proper attention, mental stimulation, and time. They can easily become bored and frustrated leading to behavioural issues.

Regular Interaction

Interaction is not just a luxury and it’s a necessity for African Greys. Daily playtime, teaching tricks, and conversing are crucial for their emotional well-being.

Veterinary Care

Regular check-ups with a veterinarian experienced are essential to monitor their health and address any potential issues.

Price and Adoption


Here’s a list of African Grey Parrot care price and adoption

Costly Companions

African Grey Parrots come with a hefty price tag ranging from $2,000 to $8,000 or even higher. This cost doesn’t include the ongoing expenses of their care.

Consider Adoption

Adoption can be more affordable and humane providing a loving home to a needy bird.

Additional Considerations

These Parrots have a rich history as pets dating back centuries. Their intelligence and mimicry have made them favourites among royalty and common folk.

Common Health Problems

Parrots can suffer from various health issues including feather plucking, respiratory problems and Vitamin A deficiency. Regular vet visits and a balanced diet are important.

Training and Socializing Tips

Training these parrots requires patience and consistency. Positive techniques such as treats and praise can be highly effective. Socialization is important for developing well-rounded and friendly birds.

Also Read: Shamrock Macaws: A Close Look

List of Costs and Supplies for Caring for African Grey Parrots

Here’s a list of African Grey Parrot care supplies and an estimated range of costs

CageCost: $200 to $800
Cage AccessoriesCost: $50 to $150
BeddingCost: $10 to $20 per month
Nutritious Parrot PelletsCost $20 to $40
Fresh Fruits and VegetablesCost $20 to $40 per month
Cuttlebone or Mineral BlocksCost: $5 to $10
Grooming SuppliesCost: $10 to $20

Wrap up

African Grey Parrot is both rewarding and challenging. They are intelligent, curious birds who can form deep connections and are exceptional companions. However responsible ownership demands dedication, knowledge, and commitment to their care and happiness.

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