Graceful Timneh African Grey Parrot displaying its distinctive maroon-colored tail and inquisitive demeanor.

Timneh African Grey Parrots – All You Need to Know

Like their close relatives, the Congo African Grey Parrots, Timneh African Grey Parrots proudly hold their place among the world’s most intelligent bird species. These birds are notable not only for their unique physical characteristics and behaviors but also for their strikingly proficient communication skills.

Their Biology and Appearance

Scientifically known as Psittacus erithacus timneh, the Timneh African Grey Parrot is one of two African Grey Parrot subspecies. Unlike the Congo Grey, they are endemic to the rainforests of West Africa, with a significant presence in countries like Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast.

In terms of size, Timnehs are marginally smaller than Congo Greys, standing at an average height of 9-11 inches. Furthermore, their feathers are a deeper shade of grey, and their tails sport a unique maroon color. This feature effectively distinguishes them from their Congo counterparts. One more distinguishing trait is their horn-colored upper mandible, which contrasts with the Congo Grey’s uniformly black beak.

Graceful Timneh African Grey Parrot displaying its distinctive maroon-colored tail and inquisitive demeanor.
Timneh African Grey Parrot

Behavior, Social Structure, and Breeding

Much like other parrot species, Timnehs are highly sociable creatures. They form organized groups and communicate using a broad array of vocalizations and physical cues. This behavior highlights their sophisticated social structure.

During the breeding season, these birds form lifelong monogamous pairs. They participate in mutual grooming and feeding, activities that significantly strengthen their bond. Timnehs typically build their nests within the safety of tree cavities. This setting ensures a secure environment for laying and incubating eggs. A usual clutch consists of 2-3 eggs, and both parents share the responsibility of incubating them for roughly a month.

Diet and Foraging Habits

Timnehs follow an omnivorous diet, feeding on a mixture of fruits, seeds, nuts, leaves, and occasionally small insects. Much like their Congo relatives, they exhibit intelligent foraging techniques, including teamwork and tool usage. Their adaptability aids their survival in West Africa’s diverse ecosystems.

Intellectual Abilities and Communication

Timnehs have exhibited noteworthy cognitive abilities, such as problem-solving, understanding cause-and-effect relationships, and even displaying rudimentary counting skills. Their mimicry abilities, while not as extensive as the Congo Greys, are still impressive. They can mimic human speech and other sounds, albeit with a less extensive vocabulary.

Conservation Status

The IUCN Red List classifies Timneh African Grey Parrots as ‘Endangered,’ primarily due to habitat loss and illegal pet trade. Efforts are ongoing to preserve their numbers through habitat protection and stricter trade regulations.

Captive Care and Health

Raising Timnehs requires a stimulating environment filled with toys and puzzles for mental engagement. Regular social interaction and a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and high-quality parrot pellets are essential for their well-being.

Timnehs may face health issues similar to Congo Greys, such as feather plucking and calcium deficiencies. Regular vet check-ups are advised for early detection and treatment of potential health concerns.


The Timneh African Grey Parrots are striking representatives of African avian biodiversity, reflecting intelligence and beauty in equal measure. Despite their differences with Congo Greys, they remain equally captivating and rewarding companions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Timneh African Grey Parrots easier to care for than Congo Greys?

While Timneh Greys are generally considered more resilient and adaptable to change than Congo Greys, they still require dedicated care, including a balanced diet, mental stimulation, and regular vet check-ups.

How do the vocal abilities of Timneh and Congo Greys compare?

Both species can mimic human speech and sounds. However, Congo Greys tend to have a larger vocabulary and a clearer speech pattern compared to Timnehs.

Do Timneh African Grey Parrots bond with multiple people?

Timnehs, like most parrots, can form strong bonds with their primary caregiver. They can also form bonds with multiple people, although this can depend on the bird’s individual temperament and socialization from a young age.

Is there a significant difference in lifespan between Timneh and Congo Greys?

Both Timneh and Congo Greys can live up to 60 years with proper care. However, their longevity can be influenced by factors such as diet, environment, and healthcare.

What should I do if my Timneh Parrot appears stressed or agitated?

If your Timneh appears stressed, it may be reacting to a change in environment, lack of social interaction, or health issues. Try to identify any recent changes and consult a vet if the symptoms persist.

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