Understanding Your African Gray Parrot

If you love birds, the African Gray parrot can be a lovely pet as it is affectionate, highly intelligent, and has great speaking skills. Don’t be surprised if you hear it mimicking you!

African Grays are contradictory creatures, they are super-friendly and love interaction but can easily get overstimulated and anxious.

They love to communicate with their owners and can quickly learn many words and phrases, and they will let you know their displeasure by screeching loudly.

These fluffy, talking parrots have a lifespan of up to 60 years in captivity, so be prepared to provide long-term care!

Keeping one as a pet requires a lot of work and commitment.  Domestication has made this species needy; they crave emotional connection and plenty of interaction.

Let’s take a sneak ‘beak’ into caring for an African Gray parrot and get tips on how to train them.

Guide to Caring for an African Gray Parrot

Understanding Your African Gray Parrot

Besides giving them attention, several factors influence an African Gray’s well-being, such as proper nutrition, environment, living space, and health.

Let’s get started on how you can care for your African Grays.


These birds are considered a popular choice as pets because of their ability to interact with humans and understand their language. However, it is not just a skill but a daily requirement to stay healthy. Lack of attention and interaction can cause depression, which leads to self-destructive behaviors like feather-plucking.

Spending a significant part of your day with your pet and talking to them is important. You can also stimulate them through interactive toys like puzzles.

These birds enjoy watching TV, so keep it on, especially if you fear they might get lonely!


Understanding Your African Gray Parrot

African Grays love filling themselves with many fruits, leaves, flowers, insects, and tree bark in their natural habitat. However, once domesticated, their diet has to be adjusted according to their energy consumption.

A formulated pellet diet for African Gray parrots can provide them with essential minerals and vitamins. You can also add seeds and nuts into the mix. A quarter cup of fruits and veggies is sufficient and helps fight deficiencies of calcium and Vitamin A and D.

Some fruits and vegetables that they can eat are:

  • Pomegranate
  • Mango
  • Melon
  • Arugula
  • Watercress
  • Kale
  • Sprouts
  • Oranges
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries

You can also introduce treats like cooked green beans or toast.

A well-rounded diet is important because African Grays in captivity are more likely to succumb to Hypocalcemia, which can lead to seizures. This is a serious health condition that arises due to a seed-only diet.


The environment plays a significant role in your pet bird’s overall wellness.

African Gray parrots are highly sensitive and prone to respiratory infections. The following household items could be dangerous for your parrot:

  • Perfumes
  • Aerosol Sprays
  • Candles
  • Cleaning products
  • Teflon

Their fumes are highly toxic for African Grays and can be fatal.

While these pets love one-on-one interaction with their owners, too much noise can be stressful. Their environment needs to be quieter as they tend to get anxious if there is a disturbance.

Place their cage in a peaceful corner of the house where there isn’t a lot of activity or noise.

Size of the Cage

Understanding Your African Gray Parrot

Another important aspect influencing an African Gray’s well-being is its living space. Other than a relaxed environment, the enclosure’s size matters. These medium-sized birds measure around 13 inches and need ample space to move around.

Health and Safety

While nutritional needs can be met through an appropriate, balanced diet, an African Gray’s emotional and mental well-being depends on factors like exercise, mental stimulation, and attention.

African Grays should have plenty of movement throughout the day to maintain their physical health.

Chew toys, puzzles, ladders, and hanging ropes can mentally and physically stimulate these parrots.

Training can greatly improve their mental health.

A stressed African Gray is self-destructive and has a weaker immune system, which could lead to health complications. Watch out for signs like feather-plucking. This happens when your bird is stressed or in a noisy environment.

We have shared a few tips on training these super-smart feathery creatures, which are particularly useful if you plan to adopt one!

How to Train Your African Gray?

Understanding Your African Gray Parrot

Training is a great way to bond and helps establish trust between you and your pet, so get started if you haven’t already. Remember to be patient with your birdie.

Follow these tips for a smooth flight of training!

  • Shorter sessions: Train your African Gray for 10-15 minutes daily. This helps them adapt and learn quickly.
  • Talking is enough: Most of the time, you only need to talk to your parrot. The more you talk to them, the faster they can catch on.
  • Keep it simple: Start with simpler words and work your way up. Speak frequently and clearly to help them learn.
  • Encourage them: Help and motivate your African Gray by showing enthusiasm while training. Your tone makes them excited and keeps them motivated!
  • Reward progress: Be generous with positive reinforcement, and whenever your parrot learns something new, reward them with a treat or a toy! This also speeds up the learning process.


While caring for African Grays is challenging, having such an affectionate pet around is highly gratifying. We hope this guide will help you provide care to and train your birdie.

Jessica Smith

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