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Grey Parrot
The African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is an Old World parrot in the family Psittacidae. This article describes the Congo African grey parrot. The Timneh parrot (Psittacus timneh) was earlier treated as a subspecies but has since been elevated to a full species. There are two general types of the African Grey Parrot – the Congo African Grey and the Timneh African Grey. The African Grey Parrot species originate in the lowlands of western and central Africa from northern Angola to Guinea. The Congo African Grey (CAG) and the Timneh African Grey (TAG) are actually located in different regions of Africa.

African Grey Parrots are loving, playful, have the intelligence level of up to a five-year old with the temperament of a two-year old, and bring joy and laughter into the lives of all who have the pleasure of knowing one. African Greys are known as the "Einstein's" of the parrot world because of their incredible talking ability. 

Description Edit

The African grey parrot is a medium-sized, predominantly grey, black-billed parrot. Their average weight is 400 grams (0.88 lb), with an average length of 33 centimetres (13 in) and an average wingspan of 46–52 cm. The Congo species is a lighter grey, with darker grey over the head and both wings, while the head and body feathers have a slight white edge to them. The tail feathers are red. The Timneh is a darker gray and has a dark maroon colored tail as well as having a portion of their beak being light pink in color. Due to artificial selection by parrot breeders, some Congo African grey parrots are partially or completely red. Both sexes appear similar. The coloration of juveniles is similar to that of adults, but the eye is typically dark grey to black, in comparison to the yellow irises around dark eyes of the adult birds. The undertail coverts are also tinged with grey. The adults weigh between 418 and 526 grams. African grey parrots may live for 40–60 years in captivity, although their mean lifespan in the wild appears to be shorter at about 23 years.

Distribution and Habitat Edit

The African grey parrot is native to equatorial Africa, including Angola, Cameroon, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda. The species is found inside a range from Kenya to the eastern part of the Ivory Coast. Between 120,100 and 259,000 Timneh African gray parrots remain worldwide. Current estimates for the global population of Congo African grey parrots are uncertain and range from 0.63 to 13 million birds. Populations are decreasing worldwide. The species seems to favor dense forests, but can also be found at forest edges and in more open vegetation types (gallery and savanna forests).

A population study published in 2015 found that the species had been ″virtually eliminated″ from Ghana with numbers declining 90 to 99% since 1992. They were found in only 10 of 42 forested areas, and in three roosts that once held between 700 and 1200 birds each, now had only 18 in total. Local people mainly blamed the pet trade, and the felling of timber for the decline. Populations are thought to be stable in Cameroon, and in the Congo an estimated 15,000 are taken every year for the pet trade, from the eastern part of the country. The annual quota is 5,000.

Behavior and Ecology Edit

Breeding Edit

African grey parrots are monogamous breeders which nest in tree cavities. Each couple of parrots needs its own tree to nest. The hen lays three to five eggs, which she incubates for 30 days while being fed by her mate. The adults defend their nesting sites. Both parents help take care of the chicks until they can go off on their own. African grey parrot chicks require feeding and care from their parents in the nest. The parents take care of them until four or five weeks after they are fledged. Young leave the nest at the age of 12 weeks. Little is known about the courtship behavior of this species in the wild. They weigh between 12 and 14 g at hatching and between 372 and 526 g when they leave their parents.

Diet Edit

They are mostly frugivorous; most of their diet consists of fruit, nuts, and seeds. The species prefers oil palm fruit and also eat flowers and tree bark, as well as insects and snails. In the wild, the African grey is partly a ground feeder. In captivity, it can eat sunflower seeds, bird pellets, a variety of fruits such as pears, orange, pomegranate, apple, and banana, and vegetables such as carrots, cooked sweet potato, celery, fresh kale, peas, and green beans. They also need a source of calcium.

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