Psittacus Erithacus Timneh
Psittacus erithacus Timneh, Timneh African Grey, is one of three subspecies of the genus Psittacus, or African Grey Parrot and the Psittacus erithacus princeps or the Ghana African Grey. The other subspecies is the Psittacus erithacus erithacus, Congo African Grey.
The Timneh African Grey differs from its brother, the Congo, by size and coloring. The Timneh is slightly smaller than the Congo growing to an average of 11 to 13 inches long. Their feathers are generally darker grey than the Congo and have maroon tail feathers.
The Timneh is native to the western Upper Guinea forests and bordering savannas of West Africa, primarily in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the westernmost parts of the Ivory Coast. Due to deforestation of the rainforest and the pet trade, the status of the Timneh African Grey Parrot has been listed as Near Threatened by conservationists.
A Timneh in captivity generally lives 40-60 years. Reaching sexual maturity around age three, they are monogamous and can breed as often as three times a year depending on the couple. During breeding season they lay 2 to 4 eggs every two to three days. The young hatch at 28-30 days and are independent at 12 to 14 weeks.
Timnehs have a long history of being kept as pets and companions. It is said that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and even King Henry VIII of England had African Greys as parrots. This long history is likely due to their incredible intelligence. They are able to mimic a wide variety of sounds and can learn extensive vocabularies. In addition to the ability to learn to speak words, many African Greys have been known to understand some words in context.
They are also extremely social birds and develop a strong bond with their owners and many enjoy a little snuggling and petting by their owners. They do not normally get along with many other species but are great as pets because they are not normally very loud. While they do require a significant amount of time each day interacting with their owner outside of their cage.
Common illnesses and problems include; bacterial infections, viral infections, and fungal infections, feather plucking, allergies, Papillomas, gout, and lipomas in older birds. Feather plucking or any behavioral issues are generally caused by an environmental issue like not getting enough sleep, the proper nutrients, environmental stress, or a lack of trust of their owner.
Behavior problems are less common in the Timneh African Grey than in the other African Grey subspecies, making them an excellent pet. Basic care includes, an organic pellet based diet, fresh fruits, veggies, and water daily, a clean dry cage environment, time outside the cage every day, toys, weekly showers, and plenty of restful sleep – approximately 10-12 hours a night.
Bonds of trust can be developed with several people as Timnehs are not necessarily one person birds. They’ll love and bond with anyone who spends time with them. Socializing your bird will help to ensure a stress free environment. Behavior issues can generally be eliminated by providing an ideal environment and taking the time to establish a strong bond through training and good care.