African Greys Timnehs and Congos
African Grey Parrots--"Best talkers, smartest parrots". That is what you will hear when people speak of their Congos and Timneh African Grey species. And in all likelihood, they are right! A stunning silvery grey package of brains!
And they do talk, but in addition to talk, you will get the beep of your microwave, your cell phone ringing, the doorbell, and your wife yelling for your kids! All will be in perfect reproduction, and so much so, that you will reach for a phone that is not ringing, and wonder why your wife does not stop her calling!
Congos are the larger African Grey, approximately 33 cm in length, in a silver color with a bright red tail. Weight ranges for the Congo are 380 to 554 grams on average. Timnehs are slightly smaller, 300 to 360 grams, darker in color, with a beautiful burgundy tail. Each can talk equally well, but the Timneh is sometimes felt to be somewhat better as a pet, especially in a family situation.
Congos may enjoy a single owner, and not so much action in the house. They may be slow to accept change, including a new cage, new curtains in the house, and even toys! So start them early with new experiences, lots of toys, new people, and socialization. Be aware that African Greys are a dusty bird that may not take well to bathing. Understand that your African Grey hails from Central Africa and the Kenya, Tanzania areas, a dry and arid part of the world; where in his natural habitat; he or she may not get bathed as often as the rainforest species. For those of you with allergies, there are some parrots that may prove better than others to own, and a dustier African Grey, may not be a first choice.
Prepare yourself, when owning an African Grey parrot, for intelligence that will amaze you and real cognitive thinking skills. They truly seem to be able to reason, and to use language in context, to get what they may want or to participate in what's happening around them. To place one of these intelligent birds in a cage and expect him to amuse himself all the time will prove itself to be incorrect bird care.
He needs, and requires, stimulation with new toys, a television to entertain, companionship with his people, and challenges. Feather destruction can become a problem in this species whether it is from boredom, stress, habit, or genetics. Plan ahead to keep your bird in an adequate size cage, 32" x 23" minimum recommendation, with interesting toys that you rotate frequently to keep him entertained.