What Are African Greys?
African Greys originate from West and Central Africa, and consist of two main subspecies – the Congo Grey and the Timneh Grey. Timneh Greys are smaller in size and sport a maroon plume on their tails that can be used to deter predators, and are found more locally in places like Liberia and the Ivory Coast.
What Makes African Greys a Good Pet?
African Greys are often a popular option for pet owners because of their intelligence, and are known to be some of the most vocal parrot species. With training they can learn to speak hundreds of words and are also adept at mimicking sounds they hear in their environment – like a phone or doorbell ringing. One African Grey in Japan escaped from their owner and after being found and taken to a veterinary clinic was able to repeat its owner’s name and address, easily allowing the vets to find the bird’s owner. While perhaps more introverted by nature and often latching on to just one person, they also have the capacity for socialization if their owners are vigilant in getting them out of their cages and around other birds.
How Do You Care for African Greys?
Because of their intelligence, care also needs to be taken to make sure they are adequately stimulated. Toys and other physical stimulation are extremely important, as well as socialization and attention. African Greys are prone to behavioral problems like feather plucking if their needs are not met, and while it may take them time to get acclimated socially, isolation increases their stress and shortens their lifespan. With proper care though, African Greys can live a long time in captivity, often for 40-60 years. However, these birds in particular don’t often mix well with other household animals, like dogs and cats, so it’s important to keep that in mind if you’re considering adding African Greys to a home that already includes other animals. Keep your bird’s cage away from major points of activity in the house with a lot of comings-and-goings and noise.
African Greys are highly intelligent and with the proper care make for great pets.