CONGO AFRICAN GREY – GENERAL SPECIES INFO
There are two subspecies of African grey parrots: the Congo African grey, and the smaller timneh that are scientifically recognized. However, with the Congo, the nominte subspecies, there are a wide variety of regional differences among the individual birds that affect depth of color and size within this subspecies.
Many aviculturists feel that the Ghana and Cameroon African greys should be recognized as separate subspecies. Scientifically, however, they do not meet the criteria; there are no natural barriers dividing the subspecies so that they might evolve differently.
The typical Congo African grey weighs about 450+ grams. This number fluctuates greatly as one of the regional differences in the Congo African grey subspecies is size and has some Congos weighing in much higher – reportedly up to 700 grams!
The Congo African grey can vary from dark charcoal gray to light and silvery in color depending on their region of origin. Their tails are bright red. They have an entirely black upper and lower mandible. They are between 12″ and 14″ in length on average, and the expected life span for a captive Congo African grey is about 50 years depending on the care it receives – the lifespan of wild species is typically less.
The native range of the Congo African grey is in the rapidly diminishing rainforests of west central and central Africa. They (and the timneh subspecies) have been recently (2012) uplisted as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because of their popularity in the pet trade, and also a threatening loss of habitat.
The Congo African grey natural diet consists of nuts and seeds, berries and fruit, and native vegetation. They are both canopy and ground feeders and are occasionally known to snack on an insect or two.
In captivity, we feed a variety of fresh foods: vegetables, fruits, berries, cooked or sprouted legumes and whole grains. The Congo African grey has a proneness to low blood calcium and needs an owner that is knowledgeable about its dietary requirements. Click here to learn more about how to provide the optimum diet for an African grey: NATURAL FEEDING.
The Congo African grey, more so than its subspecies partner the timneh, is a difficult parrot to keep in captivity. They are a very sensitive and high strung species which leads to phobias and fear based behaviors such as aggression and feather destruction.
The smart Congo owner will be highly attuned to their bird’s reactions to the things in its environment and use training to build self confidence and trust in their bird. Click here to sign up for our monthly newsletter that will everything you need to know about how to keep your bird healthy and happy: PARROT MAGIC