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Grey Parrot

 (Psittacus erithacus)

Also known as: African Grey Parrot

Click photo to visit gallery

African Grey perched
© World Parrot Trust

Did You Know?

Alex the famous African Grey could label seven colours, learned some of the alphabet and could count up to six. He also began learning to identify objects from photographs.

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Related publications: Psittacus erithacus

Species Profile

Genus: Psittacus | Species: erithacus

Size:

33cm (12.8 in)

Weight:

400g (14 oz)

Races including nominate:

one

Colourization Adult:

Both adults grey in colour with grey/white scalloping to feathers; flight feathers darker grey; red tail and lower undertail coverts. Bill black. Eye grey.

Colourization Juvenile:

As in adults but with grey tinged lower undertail coverts; tail tipped with red. Eye dark grey to black.

Call:

Variety of whistles, squawks, shrieks, and screams given at rest and in flight; mimics other birds, and mammals.

Listen Now

Video Links:

Video 1

More Information:

AvianWeb

Content Sources:

The Alex Foundation
CITES
BirdLife International
Internet Bird Collection
Macaulay Library, ML Media Collection Catalogue 1223, Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus),Kaestner, Peter, DR Congo Orientale, Dec. 4, 1977, Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Site
Parrots: A Guide to Parrots of the World, Juniper and Parr, 1998
Parrots: Status Survey and Conservation Plan 2000-2004, Snyder, McGowan, Gilardi and Grajal, 2000.
Parrots of the World, Forshaw and Cooper, 1989. 2010 edition
Parrots of the World, Forshaw, 2006.
Parrots in Aviculture, Low, 1992.
Psittacine Aviculture, Schubot, Clubb and Clubb, 1992.
Avian Pediatric Seminar Proceedings, various authors, 1988.

Click photo to visit gallery

African Grey perched
© World Parrot Trust

Did You Know?

Alex the famous African Grey could label seven colours, learned some of the alphabet and could count up to six. He also began learning to identify objects from photographs.

Programs & Projects

WPT has helped to save this species. Learn more

Academic Research

Related publications: Psittacus erithacus

Species Care

Captive Status:

Common

Longevity:

50-60 yrs

Housing:

Aviary or suspended cage, minimum length 3m (9.8 ft).

Diet:

Cooked beans and pulses, boiled corn, sunflower seed - dry, soaked or sprouted but limited; fruit such as: apple, orange, banana, pomegranate, pear; rearing food (hard boiled egg, wholegrain bread, low-fat cheese and carrot); vegetables such as: carrot, celery, green beans and peas in the pod; spray millet; complete kibble.

Enrichment:

Provide overhead misters or shallow water bowls for bathing; foot toys, destructible (non-toxic) toys, non-destructible (non-toxic plastic) toys, food-finder toys, preening toys, different texture and size hanging perch toys; fir, pine, elder or willow branches, push-and-pull toys (sliding up and down), vegetable tanned leather toys. Introduce with care, as Greys are sensitive to novel things.

Nest Box Size:

Vertical box 12" x 12" x 24" (30.5cm x 30.5cm x 61cm).

Clutch Size:

2 to 3

Incubation Time:

28-30 days

Fledging Age:

11-12 weeks

Hatch Weight:

12-14g (0.4-0.5 oz)

Peak Weight:

418-526g (14.6-18.4 oz)

Weaning Weight:

372-493g (13-17.2 oz)

Click photo to visit gallery

African Grey perched
© World Parrot Trust

Did You Know?

Alex the famous African Grey could label seven colours, learned some of the alphabet and could count up to six. He also began learning to identify objects from photographs.

Programs & Projects

WPT has helped to save this species. Learn more

Academic Research

Related publications: Psittacus erithacus

Species Wild Status

World Population:

As low as 560,000

IUCN Red List Status:

Vulnerable

CITES Listing:

Appendix II

Threat Summary:

Formerly widespread over much of Africa, Grey and Timneh parrots are now threatened throughout much of their natural ranges: extensive deforestation particularly in W Africa and heavy trapping for the wild bird trade have caused population declines.  Both species (recently split from Psittacus erithacus into P. erithacus and P. timneh) have been uplisted on the IUCN Red List to Vulnerable in the wild on the basis of rapid population declines over three generations (47 years) resulting from these two threats.  Recent estimates range from as low as 560,000 to a high of 12.7 million (Pilgrim et al. in prep).  Population declines have been noted in Burundi, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, São Tomé and Príncipe, Togo, Uganda and parts of Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In all of these decreases, trapping for the wild bird trade is implicated as the main cause, with habitat loss also having a significant impact. Taking into account a 40%-60% mortality rate between capture and export, the total number of birds taken from the wild since they were first listed on CITES could be over a million (A. Michels, in litt.).

Range:

Found in S Nigeria, S Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, DRC, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, SE Ivory Coast, N Angola, S Democratic Republic of Congo, NW Tanzania, W Kenya, W Uganda, Principe and Bioko Islands.

Habitat:

Found in primary and secondary rainforest, forest edges and clearings, gallery forest and mangroves; wooded savanna, cultivated land and some gardens. Found up to 2200m (7216 ft).

Wild Diet:

Eats variety of seeds, nuts, fruits and berries and some cultivated maize.

Ecology and Behaviour:

Feeds at tops of trees; gregarious, forming large communal flocks of up to 1000 individuals; roosts in palms over water or on islands in rivers. Disperses in smaller groups of 30 or so for feeding.

Clutch and Egg Size:

2 to 3 rounded ovate eggs, 39.5 x 31.0 mm (1.5 x 1.2 in).

Breeding Season:

In E Africa January-February and June-July; in general in other areas a dry season breeder.

Related Links:

Arkive

Click photo to visit gallery

African Grey perched
© World Parrot Trust

Did You Know?

Alex the famous African Grey could label seven colours, learned some of the alphabet and could count up to six. He also began learning to identify objects from photographs.

Programs & Projects

WPT has helped to save this species. Learn more

Academic Research

Related publications: Psittacus erithacus

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