Timneh African Grey – Profile & Care Guide

Timneh African grey parrot, a popular pet bird.

Common name: Timneh African Grey
Latin name:
Psittacus timneh
30.5cm/12 inches
237 - 275 grams
Life Span:
40 years or more
western parts of the upper Guinea forests & bordering savannah of West Africa from Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone and Southern Mali.
Noise Level:

Timneh African grey parrot intelligence

Timneh African Greys are extremely intelligent with a great ability to continue learning throughout their lives. Adults are considered shy and introverted. They usually bond with only one person, often being aloof with everyone else.

They are also one of the most rigid and pattern orientated of all parrots, being keenly observant and sensitive to the slightest change in routine. They are very empathetic and emotional birds who have distinct personalities and can be very demanding of their owner's time and attention.

Timneh African grey parrot talking ability

They have the capability to be excellent takers and mimics, accurately imitating household sounds such as the telephone or microwave.

They are so accurate with human voices you can in some cases recognise the person they are mimicking.

Feather plucking in Timneh African grey parrots

Timneh African Greys, like their cousins the Congolese African grey, have a reputation of being prone to feather plucking. In worst-case scenarios, they can inflict other forms of self-mutilation for a variety of physical and physiological reasons.

This also applies if their emotional needs are not being met or they are stressed.

Housing for your Timneh African grey parrot

    • A good recommendation here would be a minimum in the area of 90 cm x 60 cm x 120 cm tall, but again bigger is definitely better when it comes to housing parrots.
    • The bar spacing should be around 2 cm.
    • At least part of the cage should have horizontally oriented bars to allow the Timneh to climb on the sides of the cage.
    • Place the cage in a part of the house where the bird can have lots of interaction with people - but not in the most hectic area of the home. Keep the cage away from windows where they could receive direct sunlight or draughts. Not too close to central heating vents or air conditioning ducts.
    • A selection of perches should be provided - varied in size and composition. Different varieties of perches can include beak and nail trimming perches and also the very popular Java multi-branches perches. Java multi branches and finch branches can be attached to either the inside, top or side of your bird's cage.
    • A good selection of appropriate toys should be provided. Rotate the toys through the cage a few at a time - this can help to provide entertainment and stimulation.
    • Plan on having your Timneh spend a significant amount of time on the outside of his or her cage daily.
The Timneh parrot used to be classified as a subspecies of the Congo grey (Psittacus erithacus timneh). It has since been elevated to a full species: Psittacus timneh.
Timneh African grey parrot
Psittacus timneh
Psittacus timneh (Timneh African grey parrot)

Images by Dorothy Schwarz

Feeding your Timneh African Grey parrot

  • Their diet in the wild is found in the treetops. It mainly consists of seeds, nuts, fruit and berries.
  • In captivity, they will eat a variety of sprouts, seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, commercial pellets, as well as the same nutritional foods humans eat. Do keep in mind that seeds have some nutritional value and place in the diet but are largely fattening (high proportion of sunflower seeds) and poorly balanced as a main part of the diet.
  • Timneh African Grey is somewhat prone to calcium deficiency, so calcium levels should be monitored at a yearly vet check. Calcium supplements should not be used except under the advice of an avian vet, but it can be beneficial to feed a variety of calcium-rich foods such as leafy green vegetables (kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, spinach).
  • Fresh clean water should be available at all times. Food and water dishes should be washed daily.


In summary, many people will choose the Congo African grey over the Timneh African Grey because of their bright scarlet tail and well known talking abilities. However don't ignore the Timneh, they are fantastic birds, speak well and make excellent pets.