Posted Sep 18, 2014
I'll start with the negatives first because owning an exotic bird is not like owning a house-cat, it takes training (for yourself and the bird) and persistence but the end result can be extremely rewarding. African grey parrots can be aggressive if not socialized early in life. They also tend to be very possessive of one owner. This means they can be aggressive toward children, spouses, and other pets. In my experience, they need high levels of stimulation. This means lots of toys and wide-open space to fly around and climb. These birds are highly intelligent, specifically with object recognition and name recollection. Starting around year two, you will be amazed at the amount of talking and how the bird will associate specific sounds with the correct object. In my experience this includes specific cheers when football games are on, singing theme songs to shows when they come on, calling all family members by the correct names, and even (unfortunately) cursing for you when you stub your toe. Taken all together, owning an african grey can be extremely rewarding and very fun, but it takes work to keep it from becoming aggressive. Lack of stimulation can also lead to poor mental health, which means loss of feathers and increased aggression. I have loved owning this bird and, given the life expectancy, I look forward to decades of enjoyment to come.