The African Grey Parrot is a medium-sized parrot endemic to Africa, measuring around 12 inches/30cm in length (Congo subspecies). The African grey parrot is mostly grey, with white highlights and a red or maroon tail depending on the subspecies. African Grey parrots, like other parrots, have four toes on each foot, two in front and two in rear. They eat mostly nuts and fruits, with some leafy greens thrown in for good measure.
While making impartial comparisons of animal intelligence is always difficult, Psittaciformes are often recognised as being among the most intelligent of birds. African grey parrots are known for their cognitive skills, which are thought to have arisen from their history of cooperative foraging on the ground in central Africa.
Irene Pepperberg’s study with captive African grey parrots, notably Alex, has revealed that these parrots can, to some degree, associate human words with their meanings. Ambitious claims of language usage have also been made for another African grey parrot, N’kisi, who has a vocabulary of over a thousand words; allegations that this bird has also shown telepathic abilities are more contentious. There is no question, however, that African Greys and other parrots (particularly macaws and cockatoos) are very clever when compared to other birds.
African Grey parrots taken in the wild need time and effort to adjust to human presence and have a growling inclination. Hand-fed African Grey parrots are lovely and loving companions in general. Pet owners often describe their bond with their pets as “like having a five-year-old kid.” (As previously said.) They are often regarded as the finest mimics of all parrots. While this is most likely correct, rumours of Greys learning the “ultrasonic noises” of TV remote controllers are nearly definitely incorrect (most, if not all, remotes use infrared light rather than any frequency of sound to communicate with the TV).
Anyone thinking about adopting an African Grey parrot as a pet should keep in mind that they grow bored fast unless they are given with engaging toys and contact with their owners. In captivity, they may live for more than 40 years.
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