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Are African Grey Parrots Good for Beginners?

Are African Grey Parrots Good for Beginners?

Parrots come in different colors, personality shapes, and special needs. Whatever color you want you will most probably get it. Breeders are continuously working hard to come up with different color combinations and patterns. Today I did some digging on whether African Greys are right for someone who knows nothing about parrots but wants to get African Greys as their first-time bird. Here is what I learned.

Are African Grey Parrots good for beginners? African grey parrots are not considered good for beginners since they are high-maintenance parrots. African Greys can be noisy, require a lot of attention, live for a considerable long time, need a special diet, highly sensitive, experience behavioral issues, need big cages and toys. These attributes make African greys a bad option for beginners, dealing with an African Grey can be a bit tiring and confusing for first-time owners.

These attributes of the African grey parrot can be confusing for someone who has never dealt with parrots as pets before.

In case a new owner does not understand why the African Grey is going through a certain stage or change of behavior they may end up dying.

Factors to consider before buying a new Parrot/bird

Before bringing home any new parrot or bird you should always consider the following factors

  • The lifespan of the bird/parrot
  • Cost of the bird plus its cage
  • Its diet/needs
  • Behavior [noise levels]
  • Attention the bird needs
  • Other family members

What you need to know before buying an African GREY?


Well, it is important to know the lifespan of your parrot. This will help you plan ahead and decide whether you can be committed to that pet for that long.

African Grey Parrots can live for as long as 30 years. That is when they have been taken care of without negligence.

Being neglected can reduce their lifespan considerably.

With this in mind, you can decide whether you will offer the parrot for adoption since killing it is out of the question.

Realizing it to the wild is unethical especially if they are not in their natural wild. Releasing pet birds into the wild poses danger to them since they are not used to foraging for themselves and escaping predators.

The fact that African Greys can live for 30 years makes them a difficult bird to take care of given the amount of care they need on daily basis.

For someone who doesn’t know much about birds, having a bird for 30 years taking care of it every day can be very difficult. Given that they are still learning and trying to figure the bird out.

Cost of the African Greys

African Greys are one of the most expensive parrots in the pet bird industry. An African grey parrot price is between $500 to $4000.

Their unique abilities contribute to their high prices. Another factor that makes an African Grey too expensive is acquiring the legal papers needed to import or export this bird.

Given that they are marked as an endangered species due to poaching from the wild. They have been protected by law, and you will need legal papers to be allowed to keep these parrots which add up to their cost.

A young African grey parrot that is still feathering is a bit cheaper compared to an adult. However, the price varies as the bird ages. At a certain age, African greys price goes down.

The best age to buy an African grey is when they 2-6 months old, or before they have been weaned off their baby bird food.

At this age, you can hand feed them and be able to bond them as they grow. At this age, they might also be cheaper given the amount of time and care they need.

Genetic factors also play part in determining their cost. A crossbreed of the two African parrots namely Congo and Timneh African greys is more expensive than the pure breeds.

Location of purchase is also another factor that can influence their cost. When buying them from Africa they can be very cheap.

In fact, I have seen them going for as low as $200 in Kenya’s local pet stores. While if you are buying them from outside of Africa they can be more expensive.

Given that African greys are large parrots they will also need a big cage to house them. The cost of their cage also adds up to their total cost.

The most recommended size for an African Grey parrot is 3 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 4 feet high  (61 x 91 x 122 cm). You can check this cage out from Amazon.

Therefore, if you are looking into buying an African Grey as your first-time parrot you should consider its cost. This can be quite high given that there are a few more things that you will be figuring out along the way.

African Grey Parrot Diet

Feeding any bird or parrot a balanced diet is very important for their health.

Bird experts claim that nutrient deficiency is the most common problem among pet birds. This fact alone makes African Grey a bad option for beginners.

If you do not the right food and nutrients that your African grey needs, you will end up exposing it to nutrient deficiencies that will result in death.

African greys are specifically prone to Calcium deficiency plus vitamin A or beta carotene. Feeding them a diet that does not provide them with these nutrients will lead to poor health and eventually death.

As a rule of thumb, all captive parrots should have about 70% of their daily diet composed of commercially made high-quality pellets that will provide them with all the nutrients they need for survival. The other percentage should be made of fruits and vegetables plus treats.

You can check out these pellets specifically made for the African grey parrots, with all the nutrients they need.

Vegetables, fruits and greens re always a good source of vitamin A for all parrots.

Avoid feeding African Greys an all-seed or nut diet. Nuts and seeds are vitamin and mineral deficient and are loaded with fats which will end causing health issues.

You will need to have experience with what you are feeding African greys to avoid nutrient deficiencies. This might be quite overwhelming for beginners.

African Grey Parrot Behavior Attention

Behavior is one of the factors that make African Greys a bad choice for beginners. These parrots are complex, highly sensitive, and very intelligent.

In fact their intelligence has ben compared to that of a five year old.

African Greys adhere to certain habits and change of these habits can cause stress to them.

When they are not receiving enough attention Africn greys are prone to plucking their feathers and chewing them.

African greys do not like cuddling, though there are a few that will tolerate some degree of petting but not as much as cuddlers like Conures or cockatiels.

These demands can be quite exhausting to a beginner which will lead to the frustration of the African Grey.

Evidence from people who have kept these parrots for a long time shows that they prefer places with a lot of people who come and go.

Acceptance from other Family Members

If you do not live alone it very important to consult whether your family members are ok with you having a bird around.

They should have a say since they will be involved in taking care of the parrot when you are not around.

This means that they will need to learn about what the bird needs and how to keep it happy.

African greys can also be quite loud, which means your family members should also be able to tolerate these factors.

For family members who have never interacted with birds before this can be quite tasking.


It would be very tasking for a beginner to have African greys as their first pet parrot. They are high maintenance parrots that need money and time. More so time, if you do not provide them with enough of your time and care. They can end up harming themselves or becoming unbearably loud.