The African Grey parrot from central African is probably the most intelligent of the parrot type in the world, They have grey plumage with black primary feathers and a scarlet red tail, the face has naked white skin and the beak is black with grey feet and legs.
There are three sub-species namely: Congo or Cameroon African Grey (P.e. erithacus) This is the nominate race, also the largest, with a length of around 33 cm, they are found in Kenya, Angola , The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania and Zaire. The Ghana African Grey (P.e. princeps ) This is a smaller Grey but is somewhat darker grey with a red tail. These parrots originate from Tomè and Principè Islands in the Gulf of Guinea. They are currently on CITES 1 due to their endangered status in the wild. And last but not least the Timneh African Grey (P.e. timneh)This is the smallest of the Greys, it is darker in colour and has a maroon to sometimes brown tail. The upper mandible is horn coloured. These are found in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Southern Guinea, and the Ivory Coast. They are about 25 cm.
Housing in Aviculture
My Greys are kept in suspended aviaries 0.9 m X 0.9 m X 1.8 m long , they get a nestbox in the front and rear of the aviary , a perch in the front and a higher perch at the rear under shelter so that they roost on the higher perch at night out of the weather.
My pairs prefer to walk from one side to the other and hardly ever fly. They get softwood and peach branches to chew and this keeps them happy for a couple of days. They love bathing and having a shower in the rain or under the mist irrigation spray above their aviaries.
There are food dishes in the front of their aviary and they also have a large bathing dish in the aviary.
Breeding in Aviculture
Greys are prolific breeders if you happen to find a good pair. My pairs on average give about 9 chicks a year and have given up to 13 a year. We take babies away at 10 days old if it is the first clutch of the season and all other clutches are left with the parents for 4 weeks before being taken for handrearing.
The nest boxes I use are L-Shaped, 30 cm X 50 cm X 60 cm deep, as well as 30 cm X 30 cm x 50 cm horizontal boxes,I put in a layer of washed river sand in the base of the nestbox covered with wood shavings. The river sand lets me see if the Greys have been scratching in the nest as their feet and beaks are yellow. They also need sturdy perches for successful mating, no wonky ones, as this can result in unfertilized eggs and a waste of a breeding season.
I have a Grey hen which produced chicks at two and a half years old, but it is more common to have them breed at 4 years old. The younger they are the more the chances of problems occurring are, as they are inexperienced, so you could end up with, infertile or broken eggs, or they may not incubate or feed properly.
There are Lutino and black eyed Lutino African Grey mutations, These birds are white in colour. We bred a baby cinnamon or dilute with plumish coloured eyes and light toenails, bill, and brown primary flight feathers, but it died at around 6 months of a liver complaint. We have also bred various pieds, (not motteled Greys) with white toenails and red flights.There are Blue African Greys, these birds are Grey with a White tail.If you know of any other mutations please send a photo with a description and some history to Gideon
Books On Greys (Can be bought online from here)
Well known as an authority and writer on parrots, author Wolfgang de Grahl recounts his own experiences from many years of keeping and caring for Grey Parrots. In addition, he has assembled reports and observations from parrot lovers spanning more than a century. The result is a multifaceted portrayal of the character and behavior of Grey Parrots, both as a species and as individuals.
(I recommend this book, I own one myself, this book showed exactlly what happened when my birds bred for the first time, very informative, good history on the Greys...Gideon)
Although all reasonable efforts have been made by Thomasriver Aviaries to validate the accuracy of the information contained in this site, Thomasriver Aviaries shall not be held responsible for any errors in, amendments to, or any damages arising from information supplied as aforesaid. Thomasriver Aviaries does not give any warranties as to the accuracy and completeness of the information and shall not accept liability whatsoever for the use by any party of such information. No claims whatsoever shall be accepted for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the information by any party. We are not responsible for any bites due to our birds when they are viewed or bought, you take full responsibility when you handle the birds.
This site contains information, which is protected by copyright. All rights are reserved. No part of information contained on this site may be photocopied, reproduced, or modified into an alternative format, or translated to another language without the prior written consent of G.Scheepers. No party may reproduce or publish this information, in whole or in part, under its own letterhead or brandname