Buying an African grey parrot is fairly easy: Do a little research to find a reputable breeder or pet shop that will sell you a healthy bird. The hard part is making the commitment to this intelligent, long-lived bird. Before you make the final decision to have an African grey parrot, consider that you're taking on a pet that may live more than 50 years.
Meet the African Greys
There are two types of African grey parrot: the Congo African grey and the Timneh African grey. The Congo is the larger of the two, reaching 13 inches and sports vibrant red tail feathers on a light gray body. The smaller Timneh reaches 9 inches and is darker with maroon tail feathers. Both are engaging, talkative birds, though Congo greys often develop bonds with one special person, compared to the Timneh who tend to be more social and adapt well to strangers. Each bird has his own unique personality, which may be influenced by how much socialization he receives throughout his life.
The African grey parrot is a very intelligent bird, capable of mimicking all types of noises. His intelligence also makes him prone to boredom if he's not engaged with his surroundings and people. As a result, he's not the right pet choice for someone who's always on the go and not around to interact with him. A bored, frustrated parrot will engage in destructive behavior such as feather picking. It takes patience to develop a relationship with an African grey, so be prepared to put in time to gain your parrot's trust.
The African grey should not be cage-bound because of the frustrating isolation it will cause him, however he does require a suitable cage, 3 by 3 by 4 feet, at a minimum. His cage should be stocked with destructible toys for chewing, interactive toys to keep his mind busy and perches. As an herbivore, he dines on fruits, vegetables, grains and seeds, as well as pellets. An avian veterinarian is necessary to provide routine care, such as nail and beak trimming, as well as to monitor the bird's health.
Buying an African Grey Parrot
Many pet stores sell African grey parrots, however it may be difficult to find a store that has staff who are well-acquainted with the ways of this bird or details about a specific bird's history as well as basic information, such as his gender and age. Generally, a younger, hand-reared parrot is a solid choice for the first time African grey owner because young parrots are usually easier to train and tame than adults. They also usually adapt quicker to new environments and circumstances. An avian veterinarian may be able to recommend a reputable African grey parrot breeder. There are also parrot rescue organizations willing to match homeless African greys with new homes.
Choose an African grey parrot who is active and engaging and look closely at his feet, wings and body for any potential deformities. Listen to his breathing to provide clues about any potential respiratory problems.