The most famous CAG, Alex, and his colleague, Dr. Irene Pepperberg, may be the reason for the popularity of this species, and certainly for its high profile. Alex and Dr. Pepperberg worked together for 30 years at Brandeis University until his unfortunate death in 2007, due to a catastrophic event associated to arteriosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”). In their three decades of research, Dr. Pepperberg taught Alex to recognize and identify objects, colors, and shapes. Alex could also understand the concepts of same and different, category, and could even count objects. Though Alex was on his way to much more complex though processes, including how to read, his fellow African Greys Griffin and Arthur (AKA “Wart”) are continuing to work with Dr. Pepperberg trying to reach the point that Alex had reached and even further.
But just because greys are smart and may choose to talk rather than scream, it’s a mistake to believe that they aren’t noisy. They aren’t as loud or persistent as some of the South American species, but they will learn household sounds and use them tirelessly to the dismay of guardians. Imagine the microwave beeping incessantly, or a cell phone ringing madly without the luxury of turning it off.
African grey parrots are more prone to deficiency in vitamin-A/beta-carotene, and therefore benefit from eating vegetables high in beta-carotene, such as cooked sweet potato and fresh kale. Vitamin-D deficiency is another concern, especially for greys on a poor diet. Offering a balanced pelleted diet as an African grey’s main diet will help prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies. A grey that consumes a pelleted diet generally does not need vitamin supplements added to its food.
The CAG is more popular of the two subspecies, being larger and having a scarlet tail and black beak. The TAG is smaller with a much darker gray body, nearly black, with a horn-colored beak, and its tail ranges in color from maroon to dark gray or black. Both birds make equally fine companions.
African grey parrots are more likely to be available in avian-specialty stores or from a bird breeder. African greys are also sometimes available for adoption from bird rescue/ adoption organizations.