The Timneh Grey Parrot

25th June 2010

Distribution: The Timneh Grey Parrot is endemic to the western parts of the moist Upper Guinea forests and bordering savannas of West Africa from Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Southern Mali east to at least 70 km east of the Bandama River in Ivory Coast.

Status: Because of the deforestation of the rainforest and the pet trade, the status of the Timneh African Grey Parrot has been listed as been uplisted from a species of Least Concern to Near Threatened in the 2007 IUCN Red List.

Habitat: This bird is found in lowland areas, in moist forests and bordering savannas, sometimes in parks.

General habits: In captivity, these birds, like other parrots, require plenty of attention, and can get quite cranky if they are not paid the attention and care they require. Both Congo African Greys and Timnehs are shy, cautious birds and can be temperamental, though Timnehs are known for their good temperaments and are often said to be less cranky than their cousins.

Whistling and making the sounds of appliances (think Microwave oven), squeaking doors, doorbell chimes, telephone rings, and computer game sound effects are not beyond the reach of a Timneh, but some captive birds never speak or imitate some people's voices. Some birds have even been known to make a noise and respond to it; i.e., ring the phone and then say, "Hello," or even continue an entire one-sided conversation. They are, obviously, very bright pets with the intelligence of a 5 year old.

They are also extremely social birds and develop a strong bond with their owners and many enjoy a little snuggling and petting by their owners. They do not normally get along with many other species.

Feeding habits: Timneh Grey Parrots naturally eat seeds, fruits, and nuts. When captive, it should be fed a wide variety of food, ranging from pellets and seed mixes to fresh fruits, vegetables, and table food. However, it does not require extra calcium, as it is unable to store it in its bones. Oranges, collard and/or mustard greens, and cooked broccoli are excellent dietary supplements. Some toxic foods that should be avoided are avocados and chocolate. Salty foods and dairy products are also difficult for the bird to digest.

Breeding habits: It is a monogamous species which can breed as often as three times a year depending on the couple.

Eggs: The hen usually lays 2 to 4 eggs, at 2 or 3 days intervals, which take 26-30 days to hatch.

Young: The chicks become independent at 12 to 14 weeks. They reach sexual maturity at around three years. A Timneh in captivity can live some 40-60 years, or even longer (some say 70).

Call: The Timneh Grey Parrot is not normally very loud.

Description: Like the African Grey Parrot (or Congo Grey Parrot), the Timneh is predominantly grey: it has dark grey wings and a pale grey rump. A featherless rim of skin around the eyes is whitish to light grey. The head and neck feathers have paler margins, giving that part of the body a scalloped appearance. The major difference with the Congo African Grey is that the Timneh's tail is a dark maroon, instead of red and that they have a somewhat darker charcoal grey colouring. Another distinguishing feature of the Timneh is its lighter beak coulor on the top, when the Congo has an entirely black beak. Finally, the Timneh is generally smaller (22 to 28 cm from beak to tail instead of 27 to 33 cm for the Congo).

The Timneh Grey Parrot eyes start out being dark grey or black and lighten, as it ages, to their final colour of light yellow.

Did you know: The Timneh Grey Parrot is often bred in captivity.

There are many dangers to Timnehs in the average house, including poisonous plants, cleaning products, aerosols, and Teflon pans. (Don't heat a non-stick pan with nothing in it, as it gives off toxic fumes that could kill your bird.)

Common illnesses and problems include; bacterial infections, viral infections, and fungal infections, feather plucking, allergies, Papillomas, gout, and lipomas in older birds. Feather plucking or any behavioral issues are generally caused by an environmental issue like not getting enough sleep, the proper nutrients, environmental stress, or a lack of trust of their owner.

The Timneh Grey Parrot is also called: Timneh African Grey Parrot, African Grey Timneh [English]