African grey parrot

(Psittacus erithacus)


African grey parrot IUCN VULNERABLE (VU)


Facts about this animal

The African Grey parrot reaches a total length of 30-35,cm, i.e. is the size of an average amazon parrot. There are two subspecies, the Congo African Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus erithacus), which is larger, and the Timneh African Grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus timneh), which is smaller in size.

The colour of the plumage is various shades of grey, except for the tail which is striking crimson or maroon, depending on the subspecies. The iris of adults is light yellow, of juveniles brown. the beak is black or, in Timnehs, partly horn coloured. It is hooked like most parrots and is extremely powerful.

A clutch typically consists of 2 to 4 eggs, which are incubated by the female alone, while the male provides his mate with food while she sits on the eggs.Once the chicks are hatched, both parents tend to them.

African greys feed primarily on nuts and fruit, supplemented by buds and leaves.

Did you know?
that the African grey has the reputation as being the best talker of all parrot species? African grey parrots cannot only mimic speech, but mimic it in a voice that sounds quite human. They also imitate sounds with incredible accuracy, from dripping faucets to construction equipment. Parrot keepers should be careful about uttering any words they don't want the birds to learn, since they seem to have a special talent for learning just what they shouldn't!


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Psittacus erithacus
Name (English) African grey parrot
Name (French) Perroquet gris, Perroquet jaco
Name (German) Graupapagei
Name (Spanish) Loro yaco
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Not listed



Photo Copyright by
L Miguel Bugallo Sánchez



Range Subsaharan Africa: Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Congo DR, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory CoastKenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tomé and Principe, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda
Habitat Various types of forest: dry, moist, lowland, montane, swamp
Wild population P. e. timneh population: 120,100-259,000 birds, and P. e. erithacus population: 40,000-100,000 birds (1992) (Red List IUCN 2011)
Zoo population 1068 reported to ISIS (2008)

In the Zoo

African grey parrot


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 11D of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Michael Gwyther-Jones

Why do zoos keep this animal

Grey parrots are very popular birds, which are good ambassador species for the conservation of neotropical forests. They have an interesting anatomy and behaviour, are intelligent birds able to mimic human speech and even to associate words with their meanings, and are thus also of educational interest. Zoos may keep African greys also for animal welfare reasons as they may have to take care of confiscated birds, or former pet birds.