Parrot lovers will find that an African Grey Parrot is one of the easiest parrots to keep as a pet. Not only that, the African parrot is a very popular pet parrot for many reasons. Their special qualities of exceptional talking and cognitive abilities means that they interact well with their owners and are a joy to have as a favorite pet. Given the time these parrots will develop a large vocabulary and it has been reported that they communicate exceptionally well with their owners if given the incentive.
What does your African Grey parrot look like?
The African Grey is a medium sized parrot which also makes him an ideal pet because he is easy to house and to handle. They grow to between 10 to 14 inches in length, with the male being slightly larger than the female.
Although very similar, there are in fact two different types of African Grey. One is the Congo African Grey which is a light grey body, very light grey to white on the side of the head and with a brilliant red tail. The other is the Timneh African Grey with darker grey feathers on top, light grey chest and with a maroon colored tail. The general body build of both of these parrots is much the same with both sexes, but the female does tend to have a slightly narrower head and a more slender neck than the male.
Similar to most parrots the African Grey has a long life span so it is important that an owner can make a long term commitment to the parrot when they decide to take one on as a pet. They can actually live up to 60 years which is quite amazing when you think of the usual family pet.
Keeping your African Grey happy.
This parrot has a very high intelligence which means that if not kept amused they will become bored and this is not good for his general well being. A bored parrot develops some bad habits, and although they can be reversed these habits will not be good for the parrot or the family as his keeper.
From the pet parrot’s point of view, one of the habits that will cause him harm is that of feather picking. If you ever notice your parrot pulling out feathers get on to this problem straight away because it is not good for him to have bare patches where he has plucked out his feathers.
Another problem is that they can become very grumpy if they are bored and this will make him an unpleasant friend. He will start biting and be quite aggressive towards those around him. If in a really bad state he will even start self-mutilating.
Just like any intelligent animal a pet parrot needs interaction with its owner on a regular basis and needs stimulation to keep it happy. This does not mean that you need to be playing with it for hours a day, but it does like to have a certain amount of freedom and play with its owner. They train beautifully so enjoy the process and teach him some tricks that he will love doing and people will love doing with him.
Be ‘one of the flock’ to your parrot.
Naturally the African Grey would fly in a flock so they do tend to treat their owner as one of the flock. Because of this the parrot will enjoy a head rub and a scratch around the head, but they do not like their body handled. You will often notice with a group of parrots that they tend to smooch around each other’s head. It is an idioscincracy of parrots.
If you have your pet parrot around your face do be careful not to let it ‘kiss’ you around the mouth (and they love to do this) because humans can transfer bacteria from their mouth to the bird which is not healthy.
If being kept by a family, children need to understand the personality of a parrot because if they do get bitten they do hurt as their beaks are very hard and are designed for cracking seeds and nuts. If a child aggravates a parrot they could get bitten, even by a placid parrot.
African Grey parrots are a ton of fun, but only if their dietary needs, their social needs and their housing needs are given the due care by their loving owners.