In captivity these parrots can be taught to vocalize human speech. They are also exceptional mimics. Their intelligence and mimicry abilities make them a target for poachers, which are driving wild populations to extinction. FFI is working to save them by raising awareness and establishing Ometepe as their home.
Parrots are most often seen in shades of green, but they can be found in a wide variety of other colors too. The color of a parrot’s feathers is determined by how light hits and scatters the melanin pigments that make up the feather structures, explains Science Illustrated. The result is the bird’s distinctive kaleidoscope of color.
These yellow birds are a rare sight in the wild, but they can be commonly found in captivity. They’re highly intelligent and often bond closely with their owners. They can learn to vocalize human speech and can be entertaining by mimicking sounds and words.
Because of their attractive color and amazing mimicry abilities, these birds have become a popular pet. But the demands of the pet trade are hurting wild populations. FFI and its partners are working to establish Ometepe as a safe haven for these parrots, protecting them from the threats of the trade and habitat loss.
These chatty birds spend a great deal of their time in the trees, but also frequent open woodland and savannah. They are frugivores, eating primarily fruits, seeds and blossoms. But they are known to eat tree bark, nectar, insects and snails, as well.
In the wild, African greys are preyed upon by snakes and large cats, as well as humans who hunt them for traditional medicine and food, trap them for the pet trade and destroy their habitats by clearing forests for agriculture. Their numbers have plummeted in recent decades and they are now considered Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
When in captivity, these intelligent birds require a great deal of attention. They love to play and interact with their owners, although they tend not to enjoy intense physical contact. If left alone for long periods, they will scream to express their boredom or frustration. They are also prone to feather plucking. Their intelligence is said to be equal to that of a 5-year-old child.
In the wild, African greys eat fruits, leaves, bark, insects and flowers. In captivity, they should be fed a mix of vegetables and grains supplemented with seeds and nuts. They also need extra calcium, so add cooked beans, corn, pasta, rice and potatoes to their diet.
Like toddlers, African greys can repeat sounds they hear, including squeaky doors, vehicle back-up chimes, microwave alert bells and telephone ringtones. These birds can become frustrated and agitated when they are ignored or bored, so it’s important to spend time with them daily.
Keeping your bird happy may help prevent a variety of health issues, such as vitamin A deficiency. Symptoms of this include sneezing, nasal discharge and poor feather quality. A high-quality pelleted diet, such as Kaytee Fort-Diet Pro Health, may help your bird get all the nutrients he needs to stay healthy. The food provides the optimum level of omega-3’s and antioxidants that are critical for your bird.
African greys build strong bonds with their owners, and they can develop an excellent understanding of their emotions. They can also talk, and they are known for repeating sounds they hear. This can include squeaky doors, car back-up chimes, microwave alert bells and telephone ringtones. This can cause problems for owners who don’t want their birds to learn certain sounds. If a Grey becomes bored or feels neglected, it may screech in protest.
To avoid this, owners should play with their bird often and give them an outdoor aviary that mimics their natural habitat in the wild. They should provide them with a high-quality, formulated pellet diet and supplement it with fruits, vegetables, leafy greens and healthy seeds. Pretty Bird makes a specialized pellet for African greys that contains a more readily-utilizable source of calcium to prevent bone disease. This is a crucial step to keeping your Grey happy and healthy. It is also important to restrict them to parrot safe rooms when they are out of their cages, and to offer plenty of exercise and enrichment time.