Described as the perfect combination of brains and beauty, the African Grey is one of the more popular parrots kept by the aviculturist. Psittacus erithacus erithacus, the Congo African Grey, is the most common, while P. e. princeps is the least. Their pale head and grey body is strikingly offset by their brilliant red tail feathers.
Typically, the African Grey is shy and reserved. With early and prudent handling, they will become trusting and affectionate, although not as demonstrative, per se, as some of the other small to medium parrots.
African Greys are probably best known for their amazing ability to mimic not only the human voice but also an impressive array of environmental sounds. A Who's Who of African Greys includes Prudle and Alex. Famous for mimicry or intellect, Prudle holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the biggest vocabulary, at 800 words, while Alex, incredibly, exhibited what can only be called cognitive abilities - he could talk, count, and…read a little.
With plenty of early stimulation, most African Greys will start speaking after one year of age. Even if your African Grey only maintains a handful of words in her vocabulary, it is certain you will share an entertaining and interactive life with one of these very special members of the parrot family. Average cost of an African Grey is $1,000 - $1,500.
(Sadly, Alex, the African Grey Parrot passed away in 2007.)