One of the common questions that I get from those looking to buy African Greys as pets is about their size, wingspan, weight, and the perfect cage size for them.
In this article, I will cover the average size and weight of both the Congo and Timneh subspecies, their growth stages, and the impact of their natural habitat and diet on their physical development.
Additionally, I will address the space and dietary needs to be kept in mind by those keeping African Greys as pets and provide other notable size-related facts.
So let’s get to it.
African Grey Parrot Size and Weight
The African Grey Parrot is categorized into two subspecies that differ slightly in size.
The Congo African Grey typically measures between 30 to 35 centimeters (11.8 – 13.7 in) in length.
In contrast, the Timneh African Grey is somewhat smaller, with a length ranging from 23 to 28 centimeters.
Congo African Greys are more popular in the pet trade, due to their larger sizes and red tail feathers. They are also slightly more expensive due to this reason.
When it comes to weight, the Congo African Grey falls within the 400 to 650 grams range.
The Timneh subspecies, being smaller, weighs between 250 and 375 grams.
These weights are indicative of healthy, adult birds.
Beyond body size, the wingspan is a critical dimension, especially when considering space for captivity and the bird’s exercise needs.
The Congo African Grey has a wingspan that can stretch up to 50 to 60 centimeters, whereas the Timneh’s wingspan is proportionately smaller, typically reaching around 46 to 52 centimeters.
Comparison With Other Parrot Species
For context, compared to other parrot species, African Greys are generally smaller than macaws, which can reach lengths up to 100 centimeters and weigh as much as 1 to 2 kilograms.
Macaws are one of the largest parrot species in the world, specifically the Hyacinth Macaws.
On the other hand, they are larger than cockatiels, which average about 30 to 33 centimeters in length but weigh a lighter 80 to 150 grams.
African Greys are more comparable in size to cockatoos, which vary widely in size but often range from 30 to 60 centimeters in length, with weights spanning from 300 to 1,200 grams depending on the species.
Here’s a table that summarizes the comparison:
|Average Length (cm)
|Average Weight (grams)
|Congo African Grey
|30 – 40cm (11.8 – 15.7 in)
|400 – 650 gm (0.9 – 1.4 lbs)
|50 – 60cm (19.7 – 23.6 in)
|Timneh African Grey
|23 – 28cm (9 – 11 in)
|250 – 375 gm (0.55 – 0.82 lbs)
|46 – 52cm (18 – 20.4 in)
|Up to 100cm (upto 39 in)
|1,000 – 2,000 gm (2.2 – 4.4 lbs)
|Up to 120cm (~47 in)
|30 – 60cm (11.8 – 23.6 in)
|300 – 1,200 gm (0.66 – 2.6 lbs)
|60 – 80cm (23.6 – 31.5in)
|30 to 33cm (11.8 – 13 in)
|80 to 150 gm (2.6 – 5.2 oz)
|25 – 30cm (9.8 – 11.8 in)
Growth and Development
African Grey Parrots undergo a significant transformation from hatchlings to full-grown adults.
The journey begins in the egg, where after a gestation period of about 30 days, a hatchling emerges weighing a mere 10 to 15 grams.
These fragile neonates are entirely dependent on their parents for warmth and nutrition.
In the initial weeks, growth is rapid. Feeding on a diet of regurgitated food provided by both parents, the chick’s weight can increase up to tenfold within the first month.
Pin feathers begin to replace the downy covering, and by the end of the second month, the young parrots start to resemble their adult counterparts, albeit with less refined plumage.
Weaning occurs around 12 weeks of age, which is when the young parrots begin to eat solid food independently.
However, they may not reach full maturity until they are 3 to 5 years old.
c, with the final molt giving them their distinctive adult feather pattern.
Sexual dimorphism in size is present but subtle; males are generally larger than females.
This size difference is not always easily discernible without veterinary intervention or DNA testing, as it can be quite minimal.
In some cases, the head and beak of the male may appear slightly broader and more massive than those of the female, but these are not reliable indicators without genetic confirmation.
Habitat and Lifestyle, and How it Affects Size
The African Grey Parrot’s natural habitat is diverse, spanning the dense, humid rainforests and the bordering savannas of Central and West Africa.
The Congo African Gray Parrots are found in Ivory Coast, Kenya and Tanzania, whereas Timneh’s are found in Ivory Coast and Liberia
These environments provide a rich array of resources that are crucial for the parrot’s development.
In the wild, their size can be influenced by the availability of food sources and the need for flight agility in dense forests or open areas.
In the rainforest, African Greys have access to a variety of fruits, nuts, seeds, and even insects, which contribute to a balanced diet essential for their growth.
The savanna-dwelling Greys may have a diet that leans more on the grains and seeds available in these grasslands.
The nutritional value and caloric content of their natural diet directly affect their size and weight.
In captivity, African Greys often have a different diet, which can impact their physical development.
A diet lacking in variety or one that is too calorie-dense can lead to obesity, while one that is deficient in essential nutrients can result in underdevelopment or health issues.
It is crucial for captive African Greys to have a diet that mimics the nutritional diversity of their wild counterparts.
This should include a mix of fruits, vegetables, high-quality pellets, and occasional nuts and seeds for fat content.
Foraging behavior plays a significant role in the physical development of these parrots.
In the wild, African Greys spend a considerable amount of time foraging for food, which encourages exercise and contributes to a healthy metabolism.
This natural behavior should be encouraged in captivity through the use of foraging toys and puzzles that stimulate the bird mentally and physically, aiding in maintaining an appropriate weight and muscle tone.
The combination of a habitat that encourages active foraging and a diet rich in diverse nutrients is essential for the optimal growth and size of African Grey Parrots.
Whether in the wild or in captivity, these factors are integral to their development and overall health.
African Grey Parrots as Pets
When keeping an African Grey Parrot as a pet, space is a significant consideration.
Given their wingspan—up to 24 inches for Congos and slightly less for Timnehs—a spacious cage is essential.
The cage should be large enough to allow for full extension of the wings without touching the sides, ideally at least twice the wingspan in width.
Recommended Cage Sizes
The recommended cage size for an African Grey Parrot varies depending on the subspecies.
For a Timneh African Grey, which is slightly smaller, a cage measuring at least 36 inches in width, 24 inches in depth, and 48 inches in height is recommended.
This size ensures that the bird has enough space to move, stretch, and play comfortably.
For the larger Congo African Grey, the cage should be a minimum of 40 inches in width, 30 inches in depth, and 60 inches in height.
This larger space is necessary to accommodate the bird’s size and provide ample room for wing-flapping, playing, and engaging in other activities.
Both subspecies benefit from cages with horizontal bars to encourage climbing, and the bar spacing should be between 3/4 inch and 1 inch to ensure the bird’s safety.
The cage should also be equipped with sturdy perches of varying diameters to promote foot health, as well as toys for mental stimulation and easy access to food and water dishes.
It’s important to provide the largest cage possible within the constraints of your household to ensure the bird has plenty of space to live and play.
If the bird is expected to spend a significant amount of time inside the cage, opting for a larger size is always beneficial.
Activities and Out of Cage Time
The activity level of African Greys is high; they are intelligent and curious birds that require mental stimulation.
They are widely known for their ability to mimic human speech.
Owners should provide a variety of perches at different levels and textures, as well as toys that encourage natural behaviors such as foraging, chewing, and problem-solving.
Additionally, out-of-cage time in a safe, bird-proofed area is crucial for physical health and social interaction.
A balanced diet is paramount for maintaining a healthy size in African Grey Parrots.
In captivity, they should be fed a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables daily to provide essential vitamins and minerals.
Leafy greens, carrots, apples, and berries can be part of their diet, but it is important to avoid avocado, chocolate, and caffeine, which are toxic to birds.
Formulated pellets should make up a significant portion of the diet—about 75-80%—as they are designed to meet all the nutritional needs of a parrot.
The remaining 20-25% of the diet can consist of the aforementioned fresh produce and a small amount of nuts and seeds as treats.
This dietary balance helps prevent malnutrition and obesity, common issues in pet parrots that can lead to a host of health problems.
Understanding the size of African Grey Parrots is crucial for their proper care, whether in captivity or in the wild.
These intelligent birds have an average size range that varies between the two main subspecies.
The Congo African Grey typically measures 30 to 40 centimeters in length with a weight range of 400 to 650 grams.
The smaller Timneh African Grey ranges from 23 to 28 centimeters in length and weighs between 250 to 375 grams.
Their growth and development from hatchlings to adults take approximately 3 to 5 years, with males generally being slightly larger than females.
The natural habitats of these parrots—from rainforests to savannas—provide them with a diverse diet that is essential for their growth.
For those keeping African Grey Parrots as pets, it is essential to provide a living space that accommodates their wingspan and activity level, along with a balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits, vegetables, and formulated pellets.
Thank you for reading.