African Grey parrotSpecies profile

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Psittaciformes

Family: Psittacidae

Tribe: Psittacini

Genus: Psittacus

Species: P. erithacus

Gray parrots, commonly refered as African grays or congo african grey parrot, are native to rainforests of central Africa, ranging in a band across the continent from Côte d’Ivoire to western Kenya. Grey parrots are found as largest in africa, having silver feathers, white mask, and a bright, reddish tail. Males and females are very similar in appearance.

African Grey Parrots – Most Intelligent Species of  Psittacines

  • African grey parrots are known as highly intelligent. It is also discovered that they’re one of the most intelligent species of psittacines. 
  • They’re capable to perform various four- to six-year-old human child tasks. They are greatest mimic of human speech among the 350 or so known parrot species.
  • African grey parrots were observed to copy a variety of actions involving six different body parts and to associate each action with its appropriate label. This is a form of social-learning and imitation.

Experimental Predictions and Results about african grey parrots

  • Experiments have shown that grey parrots can learn number sequences and can learn to associate human voices with the faces of the humans who create them. 
  • The American scientist Irene Pepperberg’s research with Alex the parrot showed his ability to learn more than 100 words, differentiating between objects, colours, materials and shapes.
  • Some research has shown that foot preference can be linked to the number of words a particular Grey parrot may know and use. 
  • Researchers found that African Grey parrots who prefer to use their right foot showed a marked increase in the number of words within their lexicon as compared to parrots who were left-footed.
  • Scientists postulate that parrots may have lateralization of brain function, much like mammals do.
  • They will also help members of their species, even complete strangers, without expecting their altruism to be reciprocated.
  • In a study preformed by Irene Pepperberg (2007), African grey parrots were tested on insightful behavior and imitative competence. The results showed that the two parrots with limited vocabulary immediately acted out the correct physical, insightful task.

Behaviour and Mating

  • Grey parrots are notorious for mimicking noises heard in their environment and using them tirelessly. They are highly intelligent birds, needing extensive behavioral and social enrichment as well as extensive attention in captivity or else they may become distressed. Feather plucking is a common symptom seen among such distressed grey parrots.
Mating of grey parrots

Mating of Grey parrots

  • Breeding occurs in loose colonies with each pair occupying its own tree. Individuals select mates carefully and have a lifelong monogamous bond that begins at sexually maturity, at three to five years of age. 
  • Males feed mates and both sing soft monotonous notes. At this time the female will sleep in the nest cavity while the male guards it. In captivity, males feed females after copulation events and both sexes participate in a mating dance in which they droop their wings.  
  • The captive and wild parrots the average lifespan is between 40 and 50 years. In captivity, African grey parrots have a mean lifespan of 45 years, but they can live up to 60 years. In the wild, the average lifespan is 22.7 years.
  • Wild African grey parrots are very shy and rarely allow humans to approach them. They are highly social and nest in large groups, although family groups occupy their own nesting tree. They are often observed roosting in large, noisy flocks calling loudly during mornings and evenings and in flight. 
  • During the day, they break into smaller flocks and fly long distances to forage. They often roost in trees over water and are said to prefer roosting on islands in rivers. Young birds stay with their family groups for a long period of time, up to several years. 
  • African grey parrots in the wild must learn a complex set of skills. They need to learn how to separate desirable food plants from toxic plants, how to defend territory, how to recognize and avoid predators, how to find safe water, and how to rejoin their families when separated. Also, they must learn how to develop role-appropriate behaviors such as competing and defending nest sites and raising offspring. 

Conservation Status

  • African grey parrots are the second most heavily harvested parrot in the world. The trade between 1980 and 1995 documented an excess of 500,000 birds caught in the wild. From 1994 to 2003, just fewer than 360,000 wild caught parrots were reportedly exported from their native range. 
  • They are one of the most popular avian pets in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East. In Principe, trappers heavily harvest African grey parrots for the international pet trade.  

By- Anjali

Content Writer (Erakina by RTMN)


Tags: parrot

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