STATUS IN THE WILD: Endangered
PHYSICAL FEATURES AND CHARACTERISTICS
African grey parrots are known for their light grey bodies and bright red tail feathers. They typically have white or light colored skin around their faces and dark black beaks. They are arguably the smartest species of birds and are able to learn to identify colors, shapes, and types of matter. They can learn counting, problem solving, and word comprehension.
They have the temperament of a five-to-seven-year-old human child and remain this way all of their lives, which can be well over forty to sixty years. While they can make excellent companions, they require large amounts of attention and special care. They should not be taken on by an inexperienced bird handler.
The biggest threat to these parrots in the wild is the pet trade. Every year, around twenty percent of the wild population is captured for the pet trade. The mortality rate after capture ranges from sixty to seventy percent. In October 2016, the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Fauna and Flora (CITES) extended the highest level of protection to African Greys by listing the species under Appendix 1, which bans global and domestic trade of the species.
LIFESTYLE AND REPRODUCTION
In the wild, African grey parrots only live around twenty to twenty-five years. In captivity, they typically live to be around sixty but can live to be in their eighties. They are monogamous and very protective of their nests. The female will lay three to five eggs and will incubate them for about thirty days while the male brings her food. Once the young hatch, both parents will help raise them.
These birds are typically found in the countries around the equator in Africa.
They inhabit forests and wooded areas of central Africa. They spend most of their lives high in trees but will occasionally make excursions to the ground to gather fallen fruits and nuts.
They mostly eat fruits, nuts, and seeds. They will also eat flowers, tree bark, and some vegetation. They have occasionally been seen eating snails and other small insects, but this is rare.