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Training a Grey African Parrot

Afrian grey's head

Training a grey African parrot requires patience, understanding, knowledge, and a lot of discipline.

As with any animal (or human being), if you teach something today and consider your job done, you’ll find that whatever behavior you were attempting to teach will be forgotten much quicker than it took you to teach it.

Consistency and discipline are of paramount importance when training a grey African parrot.

The African Grey Parrot is a medium-sized parrot of the genus Psittacus, and is native to Africa, as the name states. Also as the name states, they are predominantly grey, and have some white accents under their wings, around the eyes, and on their torso.

Some of their feathers are very dark grey, while others are of a lighter grey color. Their tail has a very contrasting red or maroon tails depending on the subspecies.

There are two subspecies, the Congo African Grey parrot and the Timneh African Grey parrot.

The african grey parrot may be counted as one of the most intelligent of birds, therefore training grey African parrot is much easier (for the most part) than training another species of bird.

The difficulties the arise in training a grey African parrot will mostly be subject to the interactions you develop with an intelligent bird that may not always want to do what you want him to do.

The phrase “repeats everything like a parrot” or when referring to someone who mimics it is said that they are “parroting”, is not as fitting when it comes to the African grey as it is with other parrots. The African grey is not only great at mimicking, but is known and esteemed for its cognitive abilities as well.

Research and observation of the African grey parrot has led to the conclusion that these parrots are capable of associating human words with their meanings, at least to some extent.

Some birds have been known to form and speak in sentences and not just use isolated words. Although these attributes have been given  to a small number of African grey’s under observation, it is a fact tat this bird is among the elite in speaking birds.

Speaking is not the only thing you can teach when training a grey African parrot. In fact, because the African grey is well known for its speaking abilities, there is much disappointment when a person happens upon a quiet African grey.

Getting upset with the breeder will lead the person nowhere, because getting a quiet or very vocal African grey parrot is like trying to get a child with certain characteristics – designing the ideal animal or child is not an exact science.

In training a grey African parrot there are a few key points that should be kept in mind in order to maximize your chances for success. They are:

Never teach something you know they don’t want to learn

  • Try to understand your bird and read into their body language – work with them!
  • Reward good behavior
  • Find a reward in the form of a treat, but don’t forget to praise!
  • Take baby steps in training and reward in small doses to encourage learning.
  • Be consistent and repeat training to reinforce

And remember, a well behaved parrot will bring much happiness for both you and your bird, for many, many years.

Training Guidelines For African Grey Parrots