THE CONGO AFRICAN GREY
The congo african grey is considered to be one of the most difficult species to keep emotionally stable in captivity. They are highly intelligent, and so sensitive to their surroundings that they almost appear to be searching for things to disapprove of, and the things they find are not always obvious to we humans when we are looking for solutions to their problems.
A notable example is of one african grey whose owner would at times find it trembling in the corner of its cage for no clear reason. During these periods, the bird would not allow any physical contact and would bite if the matter was pressed, leaving the owner with no way to calm the bird.
After several vet visits which offered no answers, the owner finally determined the upset was caused by the sounds coming from the washer and dryer on the other side of the wall in the next room.
It’s very sad that this bird had suffered in this manner for so long. Had the owner invested in socializing and training from the beginning, the bird would have been more comfortable and trusting in its surroundings and could have been spared these hours of terror. A confident and secure African grey, would have regarded the strange sounds with concern and nothing more.
TYPICAL PERSONALITY TRAITS OF THE CONGO AFRICAN GREY
Of the two different subspecies of African grey, the Congo is said to be the most difficult to manage. Some Congo African grey owners use the words “phobic” and “neurotic” to describe their birds, and many report feather destructive behaviors to varying degrees.
They are arguably the most intelligent of the parrot species, a claim that is hard to disregard if you have any familiarity with Alex, the famous Congo African grey that belonged to Dr. Irene Pepperberg. Dr. Pepperberg’s years of research in avian cognition has brought parrot intelligence into the spotlight.
It is difficult to determine whether the Congo African grey’s intelligence plays a role in their natural inclination toward nervous and fearful behaviors. But, it is heartbreaking to live with a bird that displays fear – we want to calm them by reassuring them that they are safe, but how do you convince a bird to stop being afraid?
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS WITH A CONGO AFRICAN GREY
To raise an African grey to be trusting and fear free, or to rid an adult bird of fears and phobias that have developed over a lifetime, an owner must instill confidence in their bird. In order for your bird feel secure and confident, it must trust that it is safe in its environment and know that you mean it no harm.
To accomplish that, your African grey needs a history of experiences that have had a positive outcome. This puts you in the driver’s seat because you CAN control the outcome of the interactions you have with your bird that will establish trust, build powerful bonds and eliminate fears.
Through training using positive reinforcement, your African grey will learn through experience that you are a trusted ally that not only provides an opportunity to earn treats, but one that continually shows respect and is safe to be with. As your bird’s confidence in YOU grows, it will extend to the environment.
Objects, sounds and movements that once sent your fearful Congo African grey off the deep end will no longer be a source of fright. Your bird won’t feel the need to cower in your presence or lash out at you in fear.
Are you experiencing similar behavior with YOUR Congo African grey? Click here to learn more about how to build strong bonds of trust with your Congo African grey: