Highly sensitive and clever African grey parrots compare in intelligence to a five-year-old child, a dolphin, or a chimpanzee. They mimic speech but are also capable of using language to communicate. They can precisely copy sounds. I don’t know how many times I have answered the ring of the phone only to find it had never rang, with the African Grey in the background laughing at me. This exotic pet has copied the sound of the ding of the microwave, the neighbor’s chainsaw, and a wide variety of other noises. Since cell ringtones, hands up, I give up. This Grey parrot also mimic behaviors and mannerisms.
There are two varieties of African Greys available to the pet owners, the Congo African Grey (CAG) and the Timneh African Grey (TAG). Many people have considered the Timneh African Grey parrot as inferior to the Congo African Grey. Both birds have the same capabilities for speech and both are equally as intelligent. The Congo African Grey is larger than the Timneh African Grey. The Congo Grey has light gray feathers and the Timneh Grey has darker gray feathers. The most striking difference is the tail. The Congo Grey has a bright red tail while the Timneh Grey has a brick red, maroon, or brown tail.
Photographs courtesy of Cedar Hills Birds.
Congo African Grey Parrot
So as you can see there is very little difference in the Congo Grey and Timneh Grey. They are both exceptional birds and both make delightful companion pets! African Greys normally have a gentle nature and are delightful little clowns. In fact, purchasing the Timneh Grey has one advantage; price! Because of the Congo Grey’s popularity over the Timneh Grey it makes them much more expensive. The African Grey is a medium sized parrot.
Purchasing Your African Grey
Always purchase any African Grey from a reputable bird breeder, pet dealer, or pet store. Always purchase a bird that is banded. A bird without a band could be an illegal, smuggled bird. The African Grey is endangered because of illegal trade and habitat loss.
I prefer to buy birds that are hand fed babies. If raised properly they usually make exceptional friends. Unless you are experienced with hand feeding babies it is better to buy one that is already weaned to solid food. It is so easy to damage and injure a bird while hand feeding.
Photographs courtesy of Cedar Hills Birds. African Grey Parrots babies.
This article continues with a care sheet for Congo African Grey and the Timneh Grey African Grey Parrots.
Complete care guide for the African Grey parrot
Subscribe free to the Birds newsletter. It is quick and easy. Just glance to the right or scroll a bit to the bottom and subscribe. I will only bug you once a week :) Be the first to be in the know! Your information is always private!
I am also the Exotic Pet editor. If you or someone you know enjoy any of the huge variety of exotic pets; subscribe to the exotic pets newsletter!
Diana Geiger Birds Editoron
African Grey Parrots (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)