Timneh Grey Parrot – Care Guide

Birds Human Classroom

The domestic birds that come from Africa are widely known and for good reasons. They vary in size, color, needs, and personality, which makes this area of the world an excellent tourist center or if you want to meet these species in their natural habitat. The psittacus erithacus timneh Parrot may seem very familiar, in fact, is almost identical to the African Grey Parrot, a bird, without doubt, majestic, very recognized and sought after. Another great example of these wonderful birds is the Senegal Parrot, which is smaller and easier to handle compared to the African grey parrot species. The color of the Timneh Parrot is something very striking, as is the African Parrot being one of the many reasons why it is so sought after as a pet. Throughout this article, this “cousin” so close to the Timneh Parrot will be named quite a bit due to its great similarity, but I ask for some patience and for you to understand that I will do my best to explain the differences, and you can identify them when adopting one of these spectacular pets. Without further ado, let’s get started.


As I mentioned, the Timneh Parrot comes from Africa but from different areas than the African Grey Parrot. Unlike other African parrots, the Timneh usually inhabits savannah woodlands, dense forests, mangroves, clearings, or the edges of some of these areas. There are some authors who mention having seen this bird in plantation areas or even in gardens. They are wild birds, so they occupy a small region in west Africa, between the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Southern Guinea, or Mali for example. Sadly, having a very striking plumage for humans, this bird was seriously affected becoming one of the species in danger of extinction, not only by illegal hunting but also by the actions of a man that cause habitat loss either through deforestation or any other activity that diminishes the ideal environment for this and other species that live within this area. Fortunately, thanks to laws and a certain amount of pressure from certain organizations, there are other humans working on behalf of this species that are no longer at risk, so they can still be seen among these areas of Africa but are still under the care of a man. 

You may be able to help maintain or preserve this species by adopting one of these bird species, but it will all depend on your willingness and whether you have an area to provide your new pet bird with everything it will need. In these cases, it is best to learn as much as you can about the subject so that you are as prepared as possible, and do not leave everything until the very last minute. Whatever the pet you are going to adopt, you should always inform yourself about the species you are interested in so that you have everything at home ready before bringing your pet, instead of having to do everything on the run. There are cases in which you will need professional help and doing things with time and properly, having everything under your control so that your new bird can get used to its new environment and your family better.


Congo Parrot and Timneh Parrot

The Timneh Parrot is categorized as a medium-sized bird, one of the differences being the African Grey Parrot. Something they share besides their plumage and habitat is their scientific name, where the Timneh bird’s name is Psittacus timneh. They reach a maximum weight of 400grs but an average would be closer to 300grs. As for their size, they measure from 11 to 13 inches once they have reached maturity. Now, among the differences with the African Grey, the plumage of the Timneh Parrot is of a grayish tonality like that of its “cousin” but it is a darker tone of charcoal gray, while the Congo Parrot has a lighter gray coloration. In addition to this, the Timneh has a white coloration on the lower body and near the legs, as well as on the face giving the sensation that they are wearing a mask. The tail, although both are short, the African Grey or Congo grey Parrot has a red tail line on the edge that stands out from the rest of the plumage, while the Timneh has a dark brown shade or dark maroon colored tail. The beak of both is quite strong and prominent, but the Timneh’s beak has a lighter shade in the area that is closer to its body pulling to a light pink color, while the Congo bird is completely black. Their eyes are yellow which stands out to be a brilliant color in a bird of a dark tone.

It may not be a bird with bright colors like the Macaw but it is still a very popular bird, which has been gaining fame despite being under the shadow of the Congo Parrot. The Congo Parrot had been known before but now that people have been noticing these differences between them, they have been leaning more towards the Timneh because it is easier to handle and care for than the Congo Parrot, it is smaller and still has the beautiful plumage that certainly stands out among the other subspecies. Among the names by which you can find this wonderful bird is Timneh African Grey Parrot (Congo African Grey Parrot is how its “cousin” is known), Timneh Grey Parrot, or Timneh African Grey. The average lifespan of the Timneh is quite long, passing 40 years so it is a huge commitment on your part to adopt one of these beautiful birds. They really are wonderful birds that have qualities that make them stand out and be so special. They deserve the care and attention that every living thing requires in order to lead a full and healthy life. You will be able to read a lot on the internet about this species of bird and how wonderful they are in a family environment, but none of that will work if you don’t give them what they need and more if they are going to be around for so long. With some effort in the first years, you can at least ensure that it gets used to your lifestyle and you can train it to have the attitudes you want, but it is still a pet that will need you to have a happy life. 


The Timneh Parrot is considered one of the most intelligent domestic birds in the world, being seen as an equal or slightly below the Congo Parrot, both are part of the family that some fans have come to call the “Einstein” of birds. In 1995 a study was made at the University of Arizona, where it was stated that the intelligence of this bird is compared to that of a 5-year-old child, but they maintain the temperament of a 2-year-old. African Grey’s are not only recognized and sought after for their plumage or intelligence, but also for their ability to speak and repeat certain sounds. Both Congo African and Timneh African are classified within the same group due to their great similarities, but as I mentioned before, there have been reports that the Timneh Parrot is a better choice for those who have little experience in the avian world due to the demands of the Congo African Grey. One might think that because of its intelligence and calmer personality the Timneh is ideal for those who are starting out with a bird or their first feathered pet, but there are other options on the market that may well have some capabilities similar to this bird that does not require as much care or maybe as delicate. Not to speak ill of it, but there are many people who get carried away by the appearance, thus ignoring everything else that comes with the package.

This is often seen with the Cockatoo for example. It is one of the best known and seen worldwide birds, especially thanks to the technology that there are so many fans of this species that follow some pets that have become figures among the social media. But what they do not see or teach is the level of demand and how delicate these birds are, so many end up in shelters or rescue centers because the owners were not up to it, or simply were not prepared for what it really meant to adopt this bird. That is why I emphasize that you learn as much as possible about each species before you adopt.

The Timneh Parrot creates bonds with several family members, while the Congo Parrot is often known for creating this close bond with a single person (one-person bird) or taking longer to accept one person at a time. This can have its benefits as disadvantages, but it all depends on the bird you want to acquire. Socialization is something very important if you want to really get the bird that so many people talk about and look for. They can be loving, fun, or goofy, as well as engage in certain conversations with you or the rest of the family, but again, it all depends on their breeding. There are some African Grey fans who claim that the Timneh Parrot tends to learn and grasp as many tricks as it does new things at a younger age and with greater ease than the Congo Parrot. This is because the Timneh matures at a younger age than its African cousin. This is where it is important that you get your pet from a reputable breeder. Not only will it help you enormously with the health issue, but it will also ensure a better bird for your home. Depending on how your pet was raised at birth, it will depend on how well it can get along with strangers and how quickly it can adapt to new environments, even though this species is excellent at this type of aspect. The Timneh Parrot is usually quieter and less prone to problems with both anxiety and feather plucking. For this as well as other reasons, the Timneh has been gaining so much fame by generating fewer problems for its owner. 

As for their vocalization skills, they are considered to be a bird that is moderately scandalous. The fact that they can learn words or simple sounds at an early age is not always a good thing, it all depends on their environment and the sounds that abound in the family environment. The Congo Parrot usually starts talking on average every year while the Timneh takes half the time to get into a short conversation with you. There are some that mimic sounds or words, they may resemble almost the same voice of the person they are interacting with, but there are some birds or moments where they use “their own voice”. It is very important that you are careful about what you teach your bird or what you say or do around them because you don’t want them to learn any words or sounds that will get you into serious trouble. Remember that their mentality is compared to that of a child under 5 years old, besides that it is something that has been illustrated in what they call “comedy movies” or you have lived it and know by experience, that children or little ones in the house have an innate ability to learn at such an amazing speed and ease those words or gestures that you least wish a child to have, being obviously those expressions that adults usually categorize as bad, rude or without manners. So you don’t want your bird to greet your visitor with a bad word, for some it will be seen as a joke and your bird will be a victim by not knowing what it is really saying, but it is not something you should encourage, much less applaud. In fact, you should be ashamed of yourself if this ever gets to happen. 


Following the idea that your bird is a child in a weird outfit, its feeding is of utmost importance and an aspect that MANY owners overlook. It is probably because in many of those so-called “movies” they put certain birds, especially doves, to eat seeds or bread. Certainly, they are part of their diet but they do not complement or cover all their requirements and nutritional needs, ending up in disease due to a deficiency or excess of some component. Besides this, you must be aware of what you can share with your bird. Salt and sugar are not recommended for your bird, but it is very important that you know this and you should not even think about giving chocolate to your pet, just like avocado, they are toxic and could end up killing your bird. The best option will always be within your reach, and No, it is not the internet, it is the avian vet, who is a professional that did not waste his time studying and specializing in these wonderful creatures so that you think that for 5 minutes that you take reading any article will make you an expert on them in the matter. If you think it’s a waste of money, it’s best not to adopt a pet, nor should it cross your mind. A pet always entails expenses, just like a family, it doesn’t support itself and this is something you plan and must anticipate, so you shouldn’t and you better not look for cheap solutions just to get out of it in a quick way, because it tends to get more expensive in the long run. The doctor is the one who will help you keep your bird in optimal condition and who can inform you about any doubts you may have. The breeder could also be an option but it’s best to always go to the experts, and be careful of those who pretend to be only one because they have worked with you as an assistant, or simply have a certificate related to this subject but don’t have a degree that really backs it up. 

The Timneh usually eat fruits, leaves or flowers, seeds, and nuts, but a very good option is to look for concentrated food that is completely natural. It is important that you avoid anything artificial as much as possible, it is not an important difference but it is something I recommend for the care of your bird as well as for you and your family. There are presentations that even resemble the food that birds usually get in their environment, also it is a good option that you mix from time to time between these options to avoid boredom from their diet and future problems. 

Being a medium-sized bird, it will require considerable space in the household to be able to carry out its life and be happy at your side. It is better that you allow it to spend more time outside the cage than inside so that you do not have problems with its personality or it becomes so rebellious that it is impossible to live or socialize with it afterward. Also, once you have trained her, this is not something you should worry about, but it is so important that you are as prepared as possible before adopting a bird. In case you have more doubts about the management of a bird at home, I invite you to read my article about the care and management of pet birds, which despite being something very general can help you in those details that you must cover and prepare yourself to be part of the avian world.

As for their health, there will be things that depend on how you handle your bird and how close you are to it. Knowing his habits and personality you will be able to quickly detect any symptom or change in his personality so that you can treat him as soon as possible. Under optimal conditions, they have been cataloged as a pretty healthy breed so they shouldn’t give you so many problems, but still, there are always things you should keep an eye on. Among these diseases are calcium deficiency disorder, respiratory disease, fungal, bacterial, or viral diseases, psittacosis, bone deformities in chicks, etc.


If you are a bird lover or fan of African Grey, between these two options you can look for the one that best suits your environment. The Timneh African Grey is an excellent addition to your house as long as you have what it takes to raise this majestic creature that can last almost a lifetime by your side. Their good reputation and appearance help them to be among the most popular, but it will all depend on the care you give them to ensure that you also have no problems with your neighbors in case they may be sensitive. If you have any doubts or think I’ve missed something, please let me know in the comment section down below.

Professor Whiskers
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