The Psittacus genus contains two species of medium sized parrots native to Africa. They are mainly grey and the most common specie is called Grey Parrot or African Grey Parrot.
The Grey Parrot is a very popular pet bird as it is highly intelligent and can easily learn to whistle melodie, mimic sounds, words and short sentences. Several times I have heard the fire alarm or my cell phone ringing only to find out it was my parrot having fun.
When kept as a single pet parrot the Grey Parrot often connects to a single person, and is reserved to all others. It requires a lot of attention and training. If they do not get enough attention, it can result in mental problems such as feather picking. If you get an offer to buy a "used" bird make sure to check thoroughly if the bird seems to be OK or maybe have physical or mental problems due to neglect or improper care.
Imported birds are often delicate and shy and it requires a good deal of patience to make them tame. I recommend buying from a local breeder where you can check out the surroundings where it was born and raised and verify that all the birds seem to be in good health.
Species and subspecies
- Psittacus erithacus (Linnaeus, 1758) - Grey Parrot
- Psittacus timneh (Fraser, 1844) - Timneh Parrot
- Psittacus timneh timneh (Fraser, 1844)
- Psittacus timneh princeps (Alexander, 1909)
The most common in aviculture is the Grey Parrot or African Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus). It has a light grey plumage and a bright red tail. It is about the same size as most Amazon parrots.
The Timneh Parrot is much smaller and the plumage is a darker grey. The tail has a dark reddish brown color. It is not as common as a pet as the larger Grey Parrot.
The Timneh Parrot was previously considered a subspecies of Grey Parrot and was categorized as Psittacus erithacus timneh - but recent studies has moved it to its own specie and categorized as Psittacus timneh. The Grey Parrot (Princeps) was traditionally categorizes as Psittacus erithacus princeps but it is actually closer related to the Timney Parrot.
Both species are amazing as domestic birds and very skilled at talking and imitating sounds.