African grey parrots are parrots that get your attention and though they may be grey, their personality is not. Then again, do not forget that gorgeous red tail! They are intelligent and perceptive parrots that have very distinctive personalities. Sweet and cuddly as babies, they often become very independent as adults. African grey parrots are sensitive and appreciate their owners, but they often become one person birds, unless socialized early with other family members and friends.
My African grey was born in November of 2004. In this picture she is 3 months old. Her name is Grace and I am assuming it is a she, but I will know for sure this Monday when she has a test taken at the vet. You can tell a grey is a young bird when the iris of their eye is almost black, which fades to gray after a few months and finally to yellow at about a year of age. They also have dark edges on their tail feathers. It is harder to tell the age of an older bird and greys may live 70 years or more.
There are two types of African greys, Congo and Timneh. Congo African greys are larger, about 13 inches long, while Timneh African greys are generally about 9 inches long. African grey Congo's have an upper mandible that is black and they have bright red square tail feathers and have varying shades of gray on their body feathers. Timneh's have an upper mandible that is horn colored and their square tail is a dark burgundy shade of red and their plumage is a very dark gray. Both parrots make excellent pets and are similar in personality and talking ability.
The talking ability of African grey parrots is outstanding. They are also excellent mimics of sounds that they hear, a phone ringing, a dog barking and if you have a macaw, you now have "another". Their speech is clear and human like because they can mimic sounds perfectly. They also use words in appropriate context, such as greeting you hello when you enter the room and saying goodbye as you leave.
Their intelligence, like most parrots is remarkable, and they need to be interacted with so they do not get bored. When owners are working or busy, they can supply them with toys that keep them entertained. African grey parrots have a keen mind that is always working and it has been said they have the intelligence of a 5 year old, but the emotional development of a 2 or 3 year old. So with that in mind, remember when you were in kindergarten and everything was new and interesting and fun. Apply those principles to your wonderful African grey and you will have a very happy bird!
If any of you have a 6-10 year-old in the family you might find help with their learning to multiply, at my dad's site -