. African grey parrot
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- Scientific Name: Psittacus
(Click on photo to enlarge)
- Common Name/s:
AFRICAN GREY PARROT, GREY PARROT.
- Sub Species in country / area of origin:
2 or 3
- Origin / Distribution: Across
Africa - Equatorial region south of the Sahara.
- Habitat In Wild: Forests and
surrounding secondary vegetation.
- Status In Wild: Declining in many
areas in its natural range due to deforestation and trapping. Secure,
in some locations but still
subject to trapping for the pet trade.
- Status In (Australian) Captivity:
Secure, but not common.
- Age To Sexual Maturity: About 4
- Adult plumage: attained at about
- Best breeding years (estimate): 4
years onwards. Will live for 50 or more years if kept in suitable
- Sexing: Monomorphic
/ Dimorphic Surgical or DNA sexing is usually
- Colour mutations: None
- Availability: Bird dealers and
- Temperament: Many birds are hand
reared. Many hand reared birds are sold as pet or companion birds.
Renown for their ability to talk or mimic the human voice (words and
sounds). About 2000 years ago, Roman nobility were entertained
by these birds ability to mimic human speech.
- Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: -
Normal colour (Approx.) $10,000. (More for proven breeding
- Description Of Adults:
Photo courtesy of Burwood Pets and Birds (03) 9889 6469.
- Length: Approx. 330 mm (or approx. 13 inches)
- Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer
photo above -
top right of page. (Click on photo to enlarge).
- Weight: Approx. 400 gms (or
approx. 14 ozs)
Level Of Knowledge
Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced /
Specialist Breeders Only.
Government Regulations & By-Laws:
Refer to " Government Laws " web page.
Refer to " Housing Birds "
web page for general details on the housing of Non Australian Parrots or
read on for specific details for this parrot.
Best results are obtained with one pair
per aviary. Many birds like to bathe.
Up to 6 metre long and 1.2 metres wide
steel framed aviary is preferable. Minimum length should be about 3 - 4 metre (10
- 13 feet) long. Their beaks are powerful so
strong wire mesh is essential, 2.5mm (12 gauge) wire is suitable. Small
aviaries generally result in the birds breaking tail feathers.
The African Grey Parrot can be housed and bred in a suspended cage. These cages are easy to
keep clean and as parrots can be aggressive at breeding time there is no need to enter the cage to
feed, water, or clean. Suspended cage size can be 3000mm long, 1200mm high
and 1200 wide (10 x 4 x 4 feet) and about 1000mm (3 - 3.5 feet) above floor height with solid partition walls
between the cages. The wire should be 25mm x 12.5mm (1 inch x half
inch) of about 1.2 or 1.3mm gauge.
For best long term breeding results, it
is best to allow birds that have been confined to a suspended cage
during the breeding season access to an aviary during the non-breeding
To help relieve boredom and as a way of
providing exercise, suitable bird toys can be placed in the aviary.
Most bird toys are designed to be chewed up and will require replacing
after the birds have reduced them to splinters. Aviary breeding
birds will enjoy playing with and destroying bird toys just as much as
A pet or companion bird kept in a cage will require a period of
regular time outside the cage so they can get adequate exercise and
maintain good health.
Leafy branches can be placed in the aviary for the birds to chew up.
This will entertain the birds, help minimize boredom and give the birds
some beak exercise. Natural branches can be used for perches. These
natural perches will be chewed by the birds and may need to be replaced
Diet / Feeding:
Refer to " Feeding Birds "
web page for general details on the feeding of Non Australian Parrots or
read on for specific details for this parrot.
In the wild the African Grey parrot are
predominantly arboreal. This means they spend most of their time in the
tree tops. In the tree tops they consume seeds, fruits, berries,
nuts, buds and other plant matter. Insects and insect larvae may
form part of their normal food intake. They will enter plantations
and maize crops to obtain foods.
The African grey parrot will require a
quality commercial parrot mix including
sunflower. Along with the seed, they require a variety of fruits and vegetables
such as corn-on-the-cob,
peas, peanuts and apple as well as some green leafy vegetables such as
silverbeet, endive or spinach. Seeding grasses are beneficial.
Soaked or sprouted seeds if available. Dry dog food can be offered.
The birds may consume insects such
as mealworm larvae, pupa and beetles, especially during the breeding
season. Insects are a good source of easily digested protein for
the adults and the young.
A basic overview only. Dimensions are typical / average and
can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds
preferences. Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by
the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared. If space allows,
offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the
aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their
own choice. Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and
been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season.
Try and keep that one for their exclusive use. Once a pair has
chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed.
If the "spare" boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight,
ensure the log / nest-box is cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the
minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.
- Nesting months: August
- Log / Nest-box:
/ depth 500 - 600 mm (or approx. 20 - 24 inches)
- Log internal
diameter approx. - mm. (or approx. -
- Nest-box internal dimensions approx.-
mm square (or approx. - inches square)
- Diameter of
hole approx. - mm (or approx. - inches)
- Inspection hole (square or round)
100 - 150 mm
(or approx 4 - 6 inches)
- A removable top / lid can be a
useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
- Location and height
of log / nest-box = high in the covered part of the aviary but not
too close to the roof to be affected by heat from the roof in the
summer months. Nest should be in a shaded area.
- Angle of log or nest box = 45 degrees through to
- Nesting log / nest-box material: Decomposed non-toxic saw
dust, wood shavings or other suitable material/s.
- Who incubates the egg/s:
Hen / cock / both share.
Timber nest-boxes generally require a
climbing structure attached inside the box below the entrance hole. Both
logs and nests need an entrance hole/opening about 100mm (about 4
inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole
to be just big enough to squeeze through.
More details on
parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of
parrot nestbox/log photos
can be found on the "nests", "parrot nests"
and "parrot nestbox photos"
web pages. Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests"
and "parrot nestbox photos" in
the navigation bars.
Egg Colour White. Clutch/s
per year 1. Eggs per nest 3.
26 - 28 days. Fledge approx.
13 weeks. Independent approx. another 12 weeks.
Pair bonding in the African Grey
Parrot is strong. The adults
may roost in the nest during the non-breeding season.
Artificial incubation and hand rearing or fostering will not
be covered on this web site. It is too complex and diverse in nature to
be attempted here.
Refer to "Avian Health Issues"
web page for information and references.
- Worming and parasite control and Quarantine
requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are considered to
require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web
site. Refer "Avian Health Issues"
web page option.
- Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace. Keep
updating your knowledge and skills.
General References: Refer to references listed on "Book References"
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