african gray parrot

A few months ago a friend recounted the hilarious antics of an African Gray Parrot (pic), a bird that can attain the intellectual ability of a small child. When I was a young lad I spent countless hours repeating the word, “Hello” to my parakeet but it never uttered a word. I guess that doesn’t say much for either my or my bird’s intelligence, but I’m not one to be bitter.

African Grays, while entertaining, are not cheap. They can cost $1000, plus another $500 for the cage. Then there’s toys, food and veterinary care to add to the bill. My effort to be thrifty did not get along well with the potential cost, and when I learned of their need for attention, my interest waned.

All in all, it sounds like a great bird to visit at a friend’s house. Any takers?


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  1. Your last 2 posts have noted things about when you were “a lad”. Are you feeling nostalgic?

    As for parrots, I’ve never owned one. And the always make me think of Monty Python.

    Comment by Renee on September 16, 2003 @ 6:14 am
  2. It’s just pining for the fjords!

    Comment by Levi on September 16, 2003 @ 9:42 am
  3. Renee: Nope, I’m not feeling nostalgic, I just didn’t remember that I had used it already. I could have used “when I was a wee tyke.”

    Comment by dan on September 16, 2003 @ 12:01 pm
  4. I have a question, if anyone has any feedback, i would really appreciate it..

    My African gray’s beak is cracked. It almost looks like its dry and brittle (kinda how my nails sometimes get!) is this normal??

    Comment by Jenny on December 26, 2003 @ 12:46 pm
  5. just wondering why my gray is making sqeaky noises and crouching at the same time. He also acts very romantic to his hanging bell while making these noises. This behavior has increased since we have recently moved.

    Comment by Cathy on January 4, 2004 @ 11:41 am
  6. cathy your gray is having sex with the bell.

    THis is a common thing for a bird ecc after a move. He or She is loving the one thing that stayed the same during the move and is mating with it.

    Normal activity, do not scold her for this. Its masturbation as I’m sure you and everyone here did at one time or another in their lives.

    Comment by Joe on February 12, 2004 @ 12:43 pm
  7. My 3 year old Alti actually will “sit” while having his bath. Is this abnormal????? It is so much fun to watch how much he enjoys his bath…and the sitting…..I don’t really think out Vet believed us. We sent her a picture…still awaiting a reply from her.

    Comment by tina on March 1, 2004 @ 6:20 pm
  8. I may be getting a Gray aprox 6 yo. She has had a nice home just very little handling. Plus her owner is only a man. How can I help her with the adjustment and like me a woman….

    Comment by Sandi on March 27, 2004 @ 7:48 pm
  9. My nephew deposited at my home “Oscar” (Timneh African Grey) several months ago. What a delight Oscar is, but this bird has chosen me and when it is lovey time, the bird is trying to french kish me….is this normal? Oscar lets the wings go loose and makes a tiny “eh eh eh” noise and struts and kisses at my hair and then down my face and then gets to the lips — it is getting embarrassing. LOVE OSCAR

    Comment by Vicky on May 11, 2004 @ 4:29 pm
  10. Sounds like you have a new best friend.

    I don’t know much about African Grays, I just heard about them and was intrigued.

    Comment by dan on May 11, 2004 @ 4:34 pm
  11. I saw an African Gray perform today along with a couple of other parrots. It was pretty good at responding correctly to cues, and it knew a ton of them. Its trainer rattled cues off as fast as he could, in random order, and the bird performed them immediately and exactly. It was impressive, but I think I enjoyed watching the big dumb birds more.

    Comment by Levi on May 12, 2004 @ 12:13 am
  12. Getting a baby Grey soon. Not sure which pellets to use. Pretty Bird or Roudybush. Any suggestions?

    Comment by Renee' on May 31, 2004 @ 7:26 pm
  13. Hey,

    My African Gray doesnt like going in its cage during the day. IT will get on the bottom of the cage and bend its head while rubbing its foot constantly on the bottom of the cage exactly like a bull would when its about to rush something. Does anybody elses bird do this?

    Comment by Austen on June 1, 2004 @ 9:32 am
  14. As far as pellets… 2 year old bird eats what we eat..she loves people food and she requests it loudly! No coffee or chocolate though. She seems to especially like cheese and chicken. Odd bird I know. Cheryl

    Comment by Austen on June 3, 2004 @ 5:58 pm
  15. Hi, I just bought a congo two weeks ago and I just got her blood work done to make sure she is okay and sexed. Yes it’s a girl. I keep her lower than my heart and she is 8 weeks old and still hand feeding. But every time I pet her she turns her head and bites. I’ve tried the gently moveing my lap so she lets go and I never pull my hand back or yell. But she still does this. I’m so new at this and I don’t dare kiss her or she’ll bite my face. She is very scared when I pick her up and walk with her. She digs her baby nails into my fingers, which is very painful. I have hand feed cockatiels for 12 years and they start at one day old. But they are so different. I really need help. I love my baby gray but when moved much, even on the sofa she will squak and lunch at my hands and bite. What do I do? Thank You for your time.

    Comment by Sue on July 1, 2004 @ 1:03 am
  16. Hey Sue,

    Im sorry that you are having trouble with your grey. My grey is a year and a half old. when they are 8 months of age they need to be given plenty of attention. dont always pick it up and play with it but bring it with you everywhere in the house you go. The bird needs to feel like it is part of the family. If you go eat dinner perch it in the room you are in and let it have its dinner with you. If your in watching TV on the sofa perch it in the room a few feet away from you. Dont push it to take to you but give it the opportunity to take the step and get close to you. It wants its space but still wants to be around you. Thats all the advice I have. My bird is screaming wanna nut. GTG.


    Comment by Austen on July 23, 2004 @ 7:34 am
  17. My birds (african gray) beak is not smooth at the edges is this normal? Does he need vitamins? Thanks

    Comment by tina on August 4, 2004 @ 9:02 pm
  18. Tina,
    My grey (Paris) was having a similar problem with her beak being rough. He probably just needs a “cuddle bone” which is made for them to file their beaks on, you can get them at Walmart, and they’re really cheep. However, greys do need calcium supplements and vit A supplements for good health because their bodies can’t absorb enough from their regular food. Hope this helps! -Kay and Paris

    Comment by Kay on December 8, 2004 @ 12:07 am
  19. I just got a african grey he is 6 years old and chewing his feathers. HELP!

    Comment by mike on October 5, 2006 @ 6:52 am
  20. dude i dont think your gray will stop untill he picks them all,
    i saw one of those it looked nasty . you can get a book on how to prevent your gray from biting his feathers

    Comment by Natour on October 10, 2006 @ 5:53 am
  21. i just got an african grey in trade for some work, They needed to find a home for it and it had been neglected. Only one perch spanned the 4foot cage, and not any color in it. We put a couple toys inside and I put a couple of forked branches in it for her, and she freaked, wouldn’t even touch them. Maybe it was too mcuh change.
    Do you think she’ll adapt? I know having different sizes perches are good for them. also they normaly like color and gliz..we didn’t get extravagant, just a couple of playthings. What do you think?

    Comment by doug on January 23, 2007 @ 7:52 pm
  22. I’m not expert, but from my experience she will probably be able to adapt. Maybe you could try just putting one or two new items at a time to ease her into it.

    Comment by dan on January 23, 2007 @ 8:14 pm
  23. I just bought my african grey about 3 weeks ago he is adjusting ok I guess you could say but in the last 3 days he will go to the botton of his cage and just hang out he is eating but he still wont try any table foods and is very picky about fruits and vegetables he is about 3 months old and he does like to bite very territorial about his cage to? Any suggestions? Thanks

    Comment by Darlene Bergeron on September 21, 2007 @ 4:19 am
  24. hi everybody i have an african gey his name is sweetheart and his wonderful he needs lot of attention.we bought him from a shlter fisrt we fostered him hen we got so inloved with him.that we just adopted him.we had to pay a 400 dollar adoption fee but it was wonderful.sadly sweetheart died on 9-32-07 from some kind of thing on his wings.we love you sweetheat hugs and kisses carolina your crying and lovable owner

    Comment by carolina on October 1, 2007 @ 5:19 pm
  25. Hi, my boyfriend and I are new parents to a 4 month Grey named Suki. She was eating fine when we brought her home and for the first coupla weeks as well, but now she wont eat until she is starving and makes a croaking noise while she eats… Is this normal? If it isn’t what do I need to do? Please help

    Comment by Megan on January 27, 2008 @ 10:48 am
  26. Just went to get my in laws African Gray Parrot nails clipped and he died on the table. Did the vet do something wrong? He had the parrots face covered for over 5 minutes. Is this normal? Someone please let me know. I am sick right now.


    Comment by Pete on February 19, 2011 @ 11:23 am

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