Psittacus Erithacus Timneh
The timneh African grey, scientifically known as psittacus erithacus timneh, is one of two recognized subspecies of African grey (along with the congo – psittacus erithacus erithacus.) The two subspecies are physically differentiated by the timneh’s darker grey coloring, smaller stature, partially horn-colored upper mandible and the maroon colored tail feathers. The timneh African grey is a beautiful parrot – even without all the flashiness.
The timneh occupies a range in Africa that extends from Guinea to the Ivory Coast and is separated from the much larger and more diverse territory of the congo african grey. Due to habitat destruction and the pet trade, the timneh African grey, along with the congo African grey, were uplisted as vulnerable in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2012. While it is reported that this species numbers in wild population can withstand legal trade, authorities have failed to stop those who disguise the actual numbers of birds being trapped and exported illegally. Numbers in the wild are dwindling.
The timneh African grey is between 9 and 11 inches in length and weighs approximate 275-375 grams, these figures can vary somewhat from bird to bird.
The life span of a timneh African grey can be between 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 pair. 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 pets. This long history in human society is likely due to their incredible intelligence. They are able to mimic a wide variety of sounds and manage extensive vocabularies. In addition to the ability to put labels to the things in their environment, many African Greys have been known to assign appropriate adjectives to the words they learn – such as big ball or cold apple.
In captivity, they are 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 apartment pets because they are not normally very loud. They do require a significant amount of time each day interacting with their owner outside of their cage.
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 create the stress free environment that it needs to thrive. Behavior issues, such as biting and plucking are common with the African grey species and are best avoided with appropriate care and training.
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