PET BIRD PERSONALITIES (1): African Greys, Amazons

African Greys

As their name suggests, African greys come from Africa and are predominantly gray birds with red tails. These highly intelligent parrots are regarded throughout the bird-keeping world for their talking abilities, although no bird is guaranteed to talk.

On the negative side, greys are prone to feather picking and produce powder down, which can cause allergic reactions in some people. Greys may become bonded to one person in the home. They are also prone to becoming stressed if they sense tension in the home or if a routine is not estab-lished for them. Greys can be high-strung, and they are often suspicious of new people, although they become accustomed to strangers rather quickly. Greys need good-sized cages, plenty of toys, and ample time out of their cages with their owners.

Their diet should consist of a good-quality seed mix or pellets supplemented with a variety of fresh foods. Greys may need more calcium in their diets than other parrots. You can provide your grey with calcium by sprin-kling a supplement on his fresh foods, offering a cuttlebone in his cage, or adding calcium-rich foods, such as broccoli, almonds, soybeans, tofu, and collard greens, to your grey’s diet.


Amazons are medium-sized, chunky green parrots from Latin America. They are noted for their talking and singing skills and can be quite outgoing birds, singing opera or performing tricks for people outside the family flock. Amazons are playful birds who enjoy human companionship, and they will tolerate cuddling on their terms.

Amazons may be aggressive during breeding season. They can also bond to a single person in the home. They can be strong-willed and stubborn and enjoy being the dominant creature in the parrot-owner relationship. Amazon owners need to watch the amount of fat their birds consume because Amazons are natural snackers and can become obese. A pelleted diet sup-plemented with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables should help keep an Amazon in shape. These parrots need roomy cages with interesting toys and time out of their cages on play gyms or with their owners to keep mentally and phys-ically fit. (Source: Julia Rach Mancini: Why Does My Birds Do That?)

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