You are here

Congo African Grey Parrot

Psittacus erithacus erithacus
Conservation Status: 
Endangered on the IUCN Red List, uplisted in December 2016.
Range: 
Central Africa
Habitat: 
Various types of forest: dry, moist, lowland, mountain, and swamp.

African Greys are very social birds that nest and travel in large groups, though each family group has their own tree.  African Greys tend not to flock with other species, which is unusual.  The young spend their first 2 to 3 years learning from older birds.  They learn which plants are safe to eat and which are toxic, how to raise young, how to defend their nest, and how to avoid predators.  Their predators include vultures and hawks.  The flock uses contact calls to stay together and warn each other about danger.  They eat nuts, fruits, buds, and leaves.

Greys pair for life.  Each pair chooses a separate tree for their nest.  The female goes in a nest hole while the male defends it.  Males feed females and they sing together.  A clutch typically consists of 2 to 4 eggs, which are incubated by the female alone for about 30 days, while the male provides his mate with food. Once the chicks are hatched, both parents tend to them until they fledge at 12 weeks old.  The young may then stay with their parents for 2 to 3 years.  A pair may have two clutches each year.

African Greys were listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List in December 2016 and their population trend is on the decline due to illegal pet trade and habitat loss. They are the single most heavily traded wild bird according to a study by CITES. Over 1.3 million of them (including the Timneh African Grey) were taken from their natural environment between 1982 and 2001.