Thinking of getting a African Gray or you already own one. Then read on to discover some African grey parrot information that I’m sure you will find interesting.
The African Grey parrot is one of the most desired pets in the world. They have a great coloring although not very bright, their shading is beautiful. These parrots are very intelligent. Experts say that these parrots have an intellect similar to that of chimpanzees and dolphins. African Grey parrot has the ability to mimic more than 1000 words. This parrot can learn and understand the words and are the best talking parrots.
Getting to Know Your African Grey Parrot
Read on to find interesting facts about these parrots including their origin, various sub species, what they eat and so on. Learning about these birds may inspire you getting one of these birds as a pet or get to understand these parrots better.
Origin and Species of African Gray Parrot
This parrot is one of the vulnerable species of the Psittacidae. Where are African gray parrots found? It is native to central and western Africa rainforest. This parrot is medium sized and has unique features such as gray feathers, black beak, and white spots around the eyes. In contrast with other parrots, the African Gray parrot is one of the most intelligent birds on earth. The researcher has also observed this bird in its natural habitat and has found it having the ability to mimic sounds made by other birds.
This parrot has two subspecies, which ate the Timneh African Gray parrot and Congo African Gray parrot. The Congo African gray parrot is larger than the Timneh and has light gay feathers as well as a red tail. The Timneh subspecies is smaller and has dark gray feathers and a chestnut tail. The Congo African gray parrot is usually found in Congo, Kenya, Angola, Tanzania, and Ivory Coast. On the other hand, the Timneh subspecies is distributed from the savannas of West Africa, Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau all the way to Mali.
The Two Subspecies
Another difference between the two subspecies is that the Timneh parrot’s start to speak earlier than the Congo species. Also it’s less agitated by strangers. As previously mentioned, these parrots are endangered and are listed on CITES appendix II. However, although it’s prohibited to trade, the wild caught African Grays. They are still illegally caught and sold as pets.
To prevent the extinction of the wild African Gray parrots both the US and the European Union has prohibited their importation. One of the other reasons why the wild species are in a brink of extension is the fact that their habitat. Which is the rain forest, is continually being destroyed in search of timber. These parrots are valued as pets because of their high intelligence, ability to learn and mimic human speech, sociability as well as their magnificent beauty.
In addition, other scientific studies show that these birds can make a connection between words and their meaning mentally. The research also indicated that these birds. Also have the ability to express certain preferences and even apply concepts such as numbers, shape, and color.
Other Interesting Facts
Other interesting facts about these birds are that they can live for up to 50-70 years as pets. They also have the ability to interpret noise and sounds that are made by appliances in homes and words spoken by their owners. Additionally, these birds also can mimic and distinguish a large number of sounds.
It’s hard to distinguish between a male and female African gray parrot. Although experts say that the males are slightly longer than females while the females have a head that is narrower and a suppler neck
African Grey Parrot Training
Why African Gray’s are Considered the Best Pets, Apart from being one of the most intelligent birds, these birds are a popular pet. Over the year’s scientist have conducted numerous research to study the mental capacity of these birds. The most popular study was conducted by Dr. Irene Pepperberg with her Famous Gray parrot named Alex. Dr. Pepperberg used Alex together with other African Gray parrots in her research that focused on communication.
This research showed that these parrots could not only learn many human words, but they can also use them to communicate with their owners. Other researches and studies indicate that these parrots have the emotional and mental capacities of a five-year-old human child.
African Grey Parrot Care
Because of their high intelligence, these parrots form very strong bonds with their owners. This means that the owners need to devote much of their time and effort to handling and to socialize with them on a daily basis.
Additionally, these birds need regular exercise to help them in maintaining an adequate physical condition. This means that the owner must free their time and spend several hours daily with the parrots out of their cage playing and supervising them.
In captivity, these birds are easily bored if there is no proper communication between the owners. This may lead to feather picking. As mentioned earlier although the domestic African Gray has a gentle nature and lovely disposition. They do require constant attention and interaction with their owners.
The African Grays Can be Hard to Keep Occupied
Most people can relate to the hardships that come with keeping a young child occupied. This case applies to keeping these intelligent birds occupied. To keep them happy and healthy, these birds need a lot of mental stimulation. This means that you must provide them with a variety of toys and other ways to exercise their minds. Lack of doing so may lead to destructive behavior or development of unpleasant habits. That may require intervention from a professional.
Some of the signs to look for to see whether your parrot is bored include biting, self-mutilating, feather picking, grumpy and unfriendliness. Although these behaviours might cause harm to your parrot, one of the worst traits is feather picking. If you notice your parrot, picking his/her feathers, you should address this issue immediately.
Course, you wouldn’t want your parrot to have bare patches where he has plucked his feathers out. Another main problem when the parrot becomes bored is that they become grumpy making him an unpleasant friend. The parrot may also start biting those close to him, and if overly distressed, he may even self-mutilate.
The best thing about this parrot is that it can easily understand what you want it to do. This makes it easy to train him. If you are patient you can easily teach him, some trick he will love doing, and other people will love doing with him. When he is alone, you should hang plenty of toys that he can play with to avoid boredom.
The African Gray as Part of Your Family
In the wild, the African Grey flies in a flock. This is why they tend to treat their owner as one of the flock. As a result, these parrots love to have their side of their head rubbed and scratched. He will also love having their body groomed and massaged. When parrots are in a group, they enjoy smooching around each other’s head. Your parrot will also love this.
When staying with the parrot in a family with children, you should teach the kids how to handle the parrot. Although parrots are friendly, they can bite if aggravated. Remember, the parrot beak is designed to crack nut and seeds. This makes it hard and sharp. If your child gets bitten, the bite my be painful and nasty. Additionally, you should not also let the parrot kiss you around the mouth.
Research indicates that a person can transmit bacteria into birds especially through the mouth. Of course, you do not want your lovely pet to get sick, so it better to avoid this. Additionally, you should make sure you visit your vet regularly for checkups. Regular checkups may help catch an illness in early stages before it worsens. Additionally, your vet can advise you on the best diet, exercises, and other tips to keep your parrot healthy.
Potential Behavior Problems
Research indicates that the African Gray parrots tend to be more nervous of flighty. However, you can resolve this tendency easily. To help your parrot build confidence, you should avoid using force and give the parrot a choice to go away if he doesn’t want something. You should start these practices as early as possible.
Start training your parrot from an early age and let them know that they have a choice f leaving if something makes them uncomfortable. This will help you to avoid using force and give the parrot the opportunity of choosing to participate or not to. Additionally, as the caregiver, you should also look for body language. That shows you that the parrot is uncomfortable and change what you are doing to make them at ease.
African Gray parrots are easy to keep if you are ready to devote your time to maintain them
As mentioned earlier, African Gray parrots can live up to 70 years in captivity. This means that if you are considering adopting them, you should know that you are getting a pet that you will live with for your lifetime.
These parrots are emotionally sensitive and often distressed when bounced from one owner to another. It’s unfortunate that these parrots end up living in several homes because the owners rush adopting them without understanding proper care.
For this reason, we have devoted our time to educate people on the traits, and proper care of the African Gray parrot. So make sure you fully understand what you are getting into should you think of adopting one.