The African grey (psittacus erithacus) has been considered the most popular pet parrot,. There are two subspecies - the Congo grey (psittacus erithacus erithacus) and the Timneh (psittacus erithacus timneh). The former is a grey bird with a black beak and bright red colored tail. It measures about twelve to fourteen inches in length and weighs between 450 and 500 grams. The latter is smaller than the Congo with a horn-colored beak and a maroon-colored tail. She measures about ten inches in length and weighs about 300 grams. Since the main reason people seek an African grey is for the species’ talking ability, it must be stated that there is no difference between the two subspecies - both have the same potentiality to talk.
African greys are incredibly intelligent and this can be toward their own good or detriment (as they can become nail biters or feather pluckers). They require much and consistent attention from their owners along with an interesting environment that includes mentally stimulating activities - such as interesting toys, a playgym, variety of perches, and foraging opportunities.
When considering the purchase of a grey, you must factor the following expenses: the bird’s cost (which is very expensive in today’s market), the cost of the bird’s cage and accessories, the cost of bird food and toys, and veterinary costs. Ideally you want to purchase a grey out of many babies to choose from. Let the grey choose you. Select a bird that has bright, clear eyes, a clean cere, an upright posture, a full-chested appearance, is active in its movement around the cage, has clean legs and vent, has smooth, well-groomed feathers, and has a good appetite. For housing greys, we recommend the Animal Environments’ Amazon cage. A cage that measures two feet by two feet by three feet is the minimum size for a single grey. While bigger is often better, some believe that the sometimes clumsy greys do better in a minimum size cage. Avoid cages with doors that slide up. Your grey could become trapped. In her panic, she could seriously injure herself. After you have picked out the cage for your grey, you will need to select a location in your home to house the bird. Your grey will be happiest where she can feel like she’s part of the family, so the living room, family room or dining room may be among the best places for your bird.
African greys can be shy around strangers. If you want a parrot that will talk directly to you, face-to-face, the grey might not be your best choice. If your grey is not properly socialized to being handled by all family members, he or she can become a one-person bird. This is a behavioral problem and is hard to remedy. Greys generally do not like change and routine is very important to them. Make sure your grey is fed at about the same time each day and establish a regular playtime. Put the bird to bed at the same time each day.
African greys are excellent talkers. There are greys that have learnt to speak in multiple languages (Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, German, Spanish, etc), speak in the voice of several household members, mimic ordinary sounds (the telephone, the microwave, etc), and have precise speech clarity. The grey is by far a better speaker than other great talkers such as the vasa, the eclectus, and the Amazon.
African greys need more calcium than most other species. If greys do not receiv e enough calcium from their diets, they can have problems with their bones.