African Grey

The grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus), also known as the Congo grey parrot or African grey parrot, is an Old World parrot in the family Psittacidae. The Timneh parrot (Psittacus timneh) was earlier treated as conspecific but has since been split as a full species.

Details

The grey parrot is a medium-sized, predominantly grey, black-billed parrot. Their average weight is 400 grams (0.88 lb), with an average length of 33 centimetres (13 in) and an average wingspan of 46–52 centimetres (18–20 in). It has darker grey over the head and both wings, while the head and body feathers have a slight white edge to them. The tail feathers are red. Due to selection by parrot breeders, some grey parrots are partly or completely red. Both sexes appear similar. The colouration of juveniles is similar to that of adults, but the eye is typically dark grey to black, in comparison to the yellow irises around dark eyes of the adult birds. The undertail coverts are also tinged with grey. The adults weigh 418–526 grams (0.922–1.160 lb). Grey parrots may live for 40–60 years in captivity, although their mean lifespan in the wild appears to be shorter at about 23 years.

Feeding

They are mostly frugivorous; most of their diet consists of fruit, nuts, and seeds. The species prefers oil palm fruit and also eat flowers and tree bark, as well as insects and snails. In the wild, the grey is partly a ground feeder. In captivity, it can eat sunflower seeds, bird pellets, a variety of fruits such as pears, orange, pomegranate, apple, and banana, and vegetables such as carrots, cooked sweet potato, celery, fresh kale, peas, and green beans. They also need a source of calcium.

Breeding

Grey parrots are monogamous breeders which nest in tree cavities. Each couple of parrots needs its own tree to nest. The hen lays three to five eggs, which she incubates for 30 days while being fed by her mate. The adults defend their nesting sites. Both parents help take care of the chicks until they can go off on their own. Grey parrot chicks require feeding and care from their parents in the nest. The parents take care of them until four or five weeks after they are fledged. Young leave the nest at the age of 12 weeks. Little is known about the courtship behavior of this species in the wild. They weigh 12–14 grams (0.026–0.031 lb) at birth and 372–526 grams (0.820–1.160 lb) when they leave their parents.