If you want a parrot that can talk, you may want to consider the African grey. This extremely intelligent parrot species is the best talker in the parrot family. Of course, this doesn’t mean that every African grey will talk, but most of them do learn to speak quite fluently.
While African greys are often excellent talkers, this doesn’t mean they are the right pet for everyone that wants a talking bird. These birds have a tendency to become shy and standoffish if they aren’t handled frequently. Greys that are handled often still are rarely as cuddly and affectionate as other parrot species. If you want a bird that loves to snuggle with you, you may want to avoid this species.
Another thing to consider before you shop for an African grey is whether any family members have allergies or asthma. African greys have more dander than most other bird species. People who aren’t bothered by allergies to parakeets or conures may find that they can’t tolerate an African grey.
While they have many of the same care requirements as other bird species, there are a few things you should keep in mind when you are caring for African greys. These birds can grow up to become cage bound and fearful if they aren’t exposed to different people and situations at a young age.
Even worse, because of their high intelligence, if these birds feel neglected or lack stimulation, they will often start plucking out their chest, shoulder and tail feathers. This means that you should be sure to give your bird plenty of toys and you should be prepared to interact with him for at least an hour a day. Toys that involve some sort of problem solving element, such as knots to undo or mazes to solve are a good choice.
All African greys need a roomy cage. Even if your bird will be spending time on a play gym or T stand each day, he will need room to play and explore while he is in his cage. The ideal cage is two feet (60 cm) deep by three feet (91 cm) wide and four feet (121 cm) tall, which gives him enough space to flap his wings, climb around and hang upside down.
Of course, a bigger cage is always better. Be sure any cage you choose has strong bars that are spaced between 3/4 of an inch (1,91 cm) and an inch (2,54 cm) apart. Also, make sure that any decorative scrollwork is nowhere near the inside of your bird’s cage, as more than one African grey has injured himself by catching a leg band on the scrollwork.
If you decide that an African grey is the right bird for you, then you will need to decide whether you want a Timneh grey or a Congo grey. The Timneh is smaller and usually talks less readily than the Congo. In addition, the Timneh is not as colorful, since he lacks the bright red tail of the Congo. However, the Timneh is often much cheaper.
If you want a bird that is intelligent enough to hold an actual conversation, but doesn’t always care to cuddle, then the African grey may just be the perfect choice for you.