The African grey parrot is one of the most talented talking/ mimicking birds on the planet, giving it quite a reputation among bird enthusiasts. This parrot is one of the oldest psitticine species kept by humans, with records of the bird dating back to biblical times. Understated beauty and a brainy no-nonsense attitude are what keep this parrot at the peak of popularity.

The Timneh African grey (or TAG for short) is smaller than the more popular Congo African grey (CAG). It has a darker gray body, nearly black, with a horn-colored beak, and its tail ranges in color from maroon to dark gray or black.

 

Native Region / Natural Habitat

African grey parrots generally inhabit savannas, coastal mangroves, woodland and edges of forest clearings in their West and Central Africa range. Though the larger of the African grey subspecies is referred to as the Congo African grey, this bird actually has a much wider natural range in Africa, including the Southeastern Ivory Coast, Kenya and Tanzania. The Timneh African grey is found in a smaller region along the western edge of the Ivory Coast and through southern Guinea. Their wild diet consists mostly of palm nuts, seeds, fruits and leafy matter.

Personality & Behavior

They are complex parrots, highly sensitive, and more than a little demanding. They are also charming and brilliant, but this match of sensitivity and brains can lead to behavioral issues. They are creatures of habit, and even a small change in routine can make a sensitive grey unhappy. They are prone to plucking and chewing their feathers, among other bad habits. Anecdotally, the TAG has a hardier attitude and may be better for households with a lot of people coming and going. The CAG prefers a little less chaos.

African greys are social parrots that need a lot of hands-on time, however, they aren’t “cuddlebugs.” They will tolerate some head scratching and a little bit of petting, but they do not appreciate intense physical contact, though some individuals don’t mind a little snuggling. Every bird has individual tastes and preferences. A grey can also become a “one person bird,” even if every member of the household socializes with it from the beginning.

Speech & Sounds

Much of the grey’s appeal comes from its talking ability. It is among the best talkers in the parrot family, able to repeat words and phrases after hearing them just once or twice. This bird reaches full talking ability around a year of age, and most individuals become capable mimics much earlier.