The African Grey Bird – 11 Facts And Insights!

The African Grey Bird aka the African Grey Parrot is a medium-sized, smart bird with a black bill, mostly grey body plumage and bright red tail feathers.

Although they are very popular pets, they are native to the African jungle and can be found in countries such as D.R.C., Kenya, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Uganda and Ghana.

In the wild these birds are shy, and their diet will include seeds, berries, wild fruits and palm nuts.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the African Grey Parrot, below are 11 insights and fun facts about them as pets.

Updated 29/11/23


1. Are African Grey Parrots intelligent and are they the smartest birds?

African Grey Birds are considered to be among the most intelligent bird species in the world.

According to some researchers, they can be as intelligent as a six-year-old toddler.

These birds can recognize colours and shapes, and are very good at puzzle games.

They can also mimic human speech, form simple sentences and associate meaningful words.

Take a look at this amazing video below!

Because of their talking skills they have been dubbed the “Einsteins” of the bird world.

2. Are African Grey Parrots good pets and are they good for beginners?

The African Grey Parrot makes for great pets due to their intelligence and ability to perfectly mimic human voices.

They make for good companionship and can keep you busy all day with their chattering.

They need a lot of mental stimulation with puzzles and toys, with some toys being made especially for holding, nibbling and doing things they would otherwise do in the wild.

These African grey birds also prefer environments that are quiet as too much noise will leave them stressed.

They are social birds and will allow being petted for a while and some light head scratching but will not tolerate too much cuddling.

Although they are good pets, they aren’t the best choice for beginners.

This is a result of their intelligence, which means they require a lot of mental stimulation and can be demanding.

A lack of stimulation will result in stress, anxiety and bad behaviour, but if you still want one as your first pet, then it’s best to get them young, as early as 2 to 6 months old.

3. What sounds do African Grey Parrots make?

African Grey Birds have perfected the art of mimicking human voices and speeches, but to note is that the sounds they make are more often the sounds surrounding them.

When frustrated they will scream and shriek, which research shows they have learnt as the best way to gain their owner’s attention.

Also, much of the sounds they make and their speech is acquired through interaction with other parrots or humans, and they use these sounds effectively both in the wild and as pets.

They use sounds as a form of contact call to form strong social bonds with their human carers or other birds.

4. African Grey Parrot behaviour problems

Just like a toddler, the African Grey Parrot needs a lot of mental stimulation otherwise they get bored easily.

If they don’t get this mental stimulation and physical exercise they will resort to destructive tendencies and the development of unpleasant habits.

Their combination of intelligence and sensitivity usually leads to problems.

Parrots are sensitive creatures of habit and any deviation from their known or normal routine will get them upset, with one of the upset behaviours being gnawing and feather plucking.

They will also bob their head when they need your attention, want to go somewhere or are anxious about something.

When they are hungry, they will be quite loud and giving them foods high in caffeine and sugar will make them cranky, stressed and hyperactive.

If they are left alone for too long without enough stimulation, they will start screaming and become agitated all because they have nothing to do.

A good way of keeping them stimulated is to ensure that their play area is located in a very busy area of the home, where all the foot traffic is.

5. What kind of food do the African grey parrots eat?

As pets, African Grey Parrots are vulnerable to obesity, Vitamin A and Calcium deficiencies and so they require a balanced diet and proper proportions.

Seeds are an important part of their diet but they shouldn’t be the only source of food.

Of the commercial seed mixes offered to pet parrots, they will preferentially pick one or two that are a favourite such as sunflower seeds and peanuts.

These seeds are deficient in most nutrients and high in fats which will lead to premature deaths.

Seeds should only be 20-40 % of their diet. Commercially available pelleted diets are good and ideal as they have been formulated to meet most of your bird’s needs and should be about 70% of their diet.

Fruits and vegetables should account for about 25% of their diet; yellow, orange and red vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, peppers and squash contain vitamin A.

Fruits and vegetables high in sugars and water should be less than 10% of your bird’s diet.

Never feed them avocado which has been reported to be potentially toxic to birds, and always offer fresh water every day.

6.Are African Grey Parrots endangered?

In their native homes in the tropical rainforests of Africa, Grey Parrots are facing a decline in numbers due to illegal trading and bird trafficking.

Other pressures they are facing include being hunted as a source of meat and deforestation leading to habitat loss.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), they are officially marked as endangered.

7. Are African Grey Parrots Aggressive or friendly?

Generally, they are very friendly birds, and in the wild can live in flocks of up to 50 birds.

These multigenerational broods socialize and vocalise freely and will even coordinate hunting parties when it’s time to eat.

In captivity, they can get pretty territorial due to the limitations of space, where they will get aggressive and not want to share their space or toys with other birds.

8. How Long do African Grey Parrots Live?

In their natural environment, in the rainforests of Africa, they have an average of 23 years.

In captivity though, they are very long-lived and in some circumstances outlive their owners as they can live from 40-60 years in captivity.

9. Do African Grey Birds bite?

As mentioned before in this post, African Grey Parrots do not usually get aggressive or bite in their own habitat, but if they don’t get enough stimulation or get stressed out in captivity, then that is asking for problems.

And then yes, they may bite you or others. If this happens, please don’t react heavily to this situation by swearing or making a lot of noise and stop doing what you were doing to further escalate the situation!

10. Can African greys talk?

African Greys can talk, in the sense that they can repeat at an early age your words and phrases and they are loved because of it!

11. How many African Greys are left in this world?

This question is hard to answer specifically, as they are still in the wild, but also kept in homes. But in the wild, it is estimated that the number of African greys goes from half a million to 13 million birds. You can still find them in eastern Kenya and at the Ivory coast.

Are you thinking about buying binoculars to have a good look at all the magnificent birds of Africa? You might find what you are looking for here!

My Final Conclusion.

I hope that I have answered every question that you might have about the African Grey Bird or Grey Parrot and that you enjoyed this information.

You will probably have a hard time spotting this bird in the wild, but who knows?

If you do, you are always welcome to share that information on my Facebook group, social media channels, or just in the comment section below.

I wish you happy travels!

Kind regards,


I now have a YouTube channel as well!


6 thoughts on “The African Grey Bird – 11 Facts And Insights!”

  1. Hello, I found your site from a Platform. I like the background color, and the niche you chose seems to be a very good idea, to give a clearer picture of the Africa continent to Westerners. Unfortunately, most Westerners, believe that Africa is a continent where everyone is starving. So go for it!

  2. Hey Lizzy, thanks for this informational post. I learned a lot from this article. My wife and I are seriously considering getting an African Grey Bird as a pet. Truth be told, we never had a bird as a pet before. Do you recommend that we get a pair? I heard that they like to have another companion. Is this true? Or should we start on just getting one bird for now?

    • Hi Roopesh!

      Thank you for the compliment 😉

      African Grey Parrots are very social birds, so if you want to get a pair, I would surely think that having 2 at once would be much better indeed! Make sure to inform yourself well enough before purchasing this African bird as a pet because they do need a lot of attention 🙂

      Good luck!

      Kind regards,


  3. Firstly, I would like to tell you how much I love reading your articles about Africa, especially the wild life. That is amazing that the African Grey Bird acts like a six-year-old. This is one bird I would love to see in its natural habitat. Even if you provide adequate living space, I would not keep one as a pet. I always like talking parrots, but see to many pet owners of talking birds use bad language and they pick it up just like child and repeat. This type of behavior could be embarrassing if the bird is taking into a public place. 

    • Hi Jannette!

      Thank you for always reading my blog posts and the compliments ! 🙂

      Oh for sure, I would love to see these in the wild as well, more than in captivity, but I did want to provide some good information if ever people would like to keep them as a pet, so that they know what to expect and that they realize that these birds can get quite old as a pet 🙂

      Happy travels and birdwatching!

      Kind regards,



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