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African Grey Parrots
The African Grey
Parrot has always been known for extreme intelligence, an uncanny ability to
repeat words, and the ability to use such words with understanding and
comprehension. On the other hand, they are also known to be shy and cautious at
times; therefore, they usually do best with an owner who has a calm disposition
and who is willing to provide meaningful interaction on a daily basis.
There are two
subspecies of the African Grey Parrot: Psittacus erithacus erithacus,
commonly known as the Congo African Grey, and the lesser known Psittacus
erithacus timneh, or Timneh Grey.
The Congo African
Grey is between 12 and 14 inches in length. They are light grey, with red tail
feathers and a solid black beak. Their eyes start out dark, then change to light
grey, and as they age, yellow.
The Timneh Grey is
usually around 9 inches in length, and has a darker grey body with maroon tail
feathers. Their top beak is rosy-pink or horn-colored with a black tip; the
bottom beak is solid black. Their eyes turn more silver than yellow with age.
It is impossible to
accurately tell the sex of both species of Greys without DNA testing.
Both the Congo and
Timneh have life spans of 50-70 years with proper care and diet. They require a
diet rich in vitamin A and calcium, whether pellet or seed based. The more
varied the diet, the healthier your Grey will be, and it is recommended that
they be fed a broad range of tropical fruits.
Both species tend
to be very dusty birds; a HEPA air filter is a good idea and will be essential
to an owner with allergies.
The African Grey
Parrot, the bird with the mysterious ability to perfectly mimic everything from
the sound of the microwave to the exact tone of your voice, is not the bird for
everyone. However, those who can devote enough attention and training to an
African Grey will end up with a pet that is easy to enjoy.