African Grey Parrot

(Psittacus erithacus)

FUN FACT

Earl and Zane make a variety of noises, including a kiss, a cough, variations on “hello” and “goodbye”, and a wide variety of whistles, clicks, and beeps. They often use interesting noises to attract attention from visitors.

African grey parrots are a medium sized parrot native to the forests of central Africa. They are predominantly grey with a reddish colored tail. Like all parrots, African greys are naturally capable of copying sounds and are some of the best mimics in the bird world. In the wild, the birds often copy the sounds of other animals in the forest. When the parrots live around people, however, they may learn to copy laughter, the sound of the telephone ringing, whistling, human speech, and many other sounds. This trait makes many parrots, including African greys, popular as pets. Despite their popularity, parrots can make very challenging pets and are not the best choice for many families. They have a strong bite, the natural tendency to call loudly, and have a surprisingly long lifespan. African grey parrots can live to be 40-60 years old.

The National Aviary is home to two African grey parrots – Zane and Earl. Zane is female and was named for the famous adventure novelist of the early 1900’s, Zane Grey. Earl is male was named after Earl Grey tea. They are siblings and were hatched at the National Aviary in 2001.

Distribution

West and Central Africa

Habitat

Primary and secondary forests

Diet

Fruits, seeds, nuts, and leaves.

Breeding

African Grey Parrots are monogamous and not much is known of their courtship displays in the wild. They make their nests in hollow tree cavities and generally lay between 1 and 4 white eggs. The eggs take approximately 28 days to hatch and the young birds remain with their parents for 4 months or more.

Status

Near Threatened

At the Aviary

See Earl and Zane in the Grasslands exhibit