African grey parrots have been kept as pets for thousands of years—there are records of these birds as household pets in biblical times. Its fascinating ability to reason and an uncanny talent for accurately mimicking human speech—as well as understanding it—has helped to catapult this bird to stardom, in both research and the pet trade. It's not uncommon for a well-trained African grey to learn hundreds of words and sounds.
African greys are widely regarded as the most intelligent of the parrot species, a fact which becomes evident upon observing their behavior. Many grow to be extremely sweet and affectionate toward their owners, and the species is known for being quite sociable. But an African grey that is bored or neglected is an unhappy bird, and it will not hesitate to air its grievances when given the opportunity.
This is a complex bird, given to contradictions. Although it is very social and demands interaction, it is not necessarily a cuddly bird. And some birds have a tendency to become “one-person” birds, even if owners make every effort to socialize them with all members of the family.
The African grey is not known as a loud screamer, reserving much of this instinct for talking and chattering. It can be suitable for owners living in apartments or condos, although some individuals will prove problematic in this environment.
The African grey parrot grows to a mature adult size of approximately 12 to 13 inches from beak to the tip of the tail. The weight ranges from 10 to 20 ounces, with the Congo greys being the larger birds.
African grey parrots, when properly cared for, typically live about 50 years. There are, however, individuals that have lived as long as 75 years.