Great Information on The Timneh African Grey Parrot |

Timneh Info

Photo credit: Gaye Elka Freedman

Timneh African Grey Info

Can you tell the difference between a timneh and a Congo African grey? It’s pretty easy once you know what to look for – the timneh is smaller in size and darker in color, but that won’t help you if you are unfamiliar with all African greys. The more definitive difference is the horn colored upper beak and maroon colored undertail feathers of the timneh as opposed to the all-black beak and bright red tail of the Congo African grey.

There are also some personality differences: the timneh is typically less phobic and fearful than its Congo African grey cousin, and a bit more relaxed in its environment. Do be aware that “less phobic” does not mean issue-free!

Both subspecies of African grey parrots are difficult birds to manage in captivity. Their tendencies towards fearfulness and their over-sensitivity to their environment make them candidates for unwanted behaviors like biting and screaming – they require an owner who keeps this firmly in mind during all interactions and is sure to keep their bird well socialized to a variety of people and comfortable with new things and experiences.

Sadly, African greys are also candidates for feather plucking and MANY greys in captivity do just that. Along with cockatoos, they are one of the parrot species most commonly relinquished to parrot rescues, where most are in various stages of feather destruction.


1)  Keep your African grey’s environment stress free. Many people would take that to mean eliminating all things that might cause your parrot upset. In a way, it actually means the opposite.

The inexperienced African grey is easily disturbed by unfamiliar things in the environment. You want to eliminate your parrot’s stress – not its environment.

The way to raise a stress free parrot is by giving him plenty of experience with new things, people, places and events that all have a positive outcome. As long as those experiences have been offered in ways that do not induce fearful reactions, they will be considered acceptable and even welcomed in the future.

2) Keep your African grey healthy. More and more diseases are being found as potential causes of feather plucking. Most parrot diseases are the result of poor diet. By keeping yourself well educated and feeding your bird an appropriate diet that includes fresh produce every day, you lessen the chance that your bird will succumb a disease that causes feather plucking. Please click HERE to learn how to provide the perfect African grey diet.

3) Keep your African grey mentally stimulated. Science now ranks parrots on par with the small primates in intelligence. This comes as no surprise to parrot owners. Given this fact, you can only imagine how frustrating and depressing it would be to a highly intelligent creature to sit in a cage and stare at the wall day after day.

Not only should you provide your timneh African grey with toys for entertainment (and exercise!) and foragers for food finding missions (and exercise!), you should add training to your daily routine with your bird to give it opportunities to make decisions and earn rewards (and…that’s right…exercise!).

It is appropriate to say that you get out of your bird what you put into it. And, without fail, those African grey owners who heed these tips have gone on to have the most mentally well-adjusted birds and will share a meaningful lifetime together.

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