African Grey Parrots are highly social birds that forage for food together in the wild in the dense rainforests of West and Central Africa.
The natural diet of African Grey Parrots is diverse and nutrient-rich – providing them with the necessary nutrition to thrive and breed in the wild.
Their wild diet throughout equatorial Africa is mostly made up of:
- Fruit & berries
Oil palm fruit is considered a large and critical aspect of the African Grey diet in the wild. The African oil palm Elaeis guineensis grows between Angola and the Gambia within the Grey Parrot range.
Bombax, Ficus, Macaranga, and Raphia are other genus of plants that they feed on.
They feed on a range of fruit species like figs, oil palm fruit, and wild mangoes.
They also consume nuts like shea nuts and African almond nuts.
Insects, including termites and ants, are also a part of their diet.
Supplementary food items can include:
- Insects, snails and other invertebrates
- Clay and soil from the ground
Seasonal changes in the African Grey Wild Diet
The diet of African Grey Parrots can change seasonally in response to the availability of food.
During the dry season they can rely more on seeds and nuts as their primary food source. In the wet season when fruits are more abundant, they consume a higher proportion of fresh fruits in their diet.
Wild vs Captive Diet for African Greys
I know and encourage anyone who is a caregiver for one or more African Greys to enjoy this website, so I always try and touch on details related to comparing wild life of a species to how we care and provide for them in a captive environment.
So it is essential to understand the African grey parrot’s natural diet to provide them with a healthy and balanced diet in captivity.
In the wild, these birds have access to a variety of foods, which helps them maintain good health. Providing a diverse diet to captive African grey parrots can help prevent nutrient deficiencies and obesity.
Even with the best captive set up with flight areas or a large aviary where your Grey can fly around, the bird is still not going to get the same level of flight exercise as a wild bird. So botht the quality and quantity of food being provided needs to be monitored and planned for to avoid health problems and weight gain.
African Grey Parrot FAQ
How long do African Grey Parrots live?
Nobody really knows how long a Grey Parrot will live on average in the wild, but it is thought to be around 20 years. However, the species faces many perils and this means their chance of living to their maximum possible lifespan in the wild is sadly quite low. In captivity, Grey Parrots are known to live beyond 40 years of age when provided with the high quality of life when it comes to their environment, diet and social needs being met.
Are African Grey parrots endangered?
African Grey Parrots are listed as Endangered with the IUCN. Widespread illegal poaching and habitat loss has caused the tragic decline of this magnificent species of parrot in their wild range. It is heartening that conservation and rescue groups continue to fight against cruel poaching - which occurs due to the human demand for these wild animals as pets where they do not belong. However it is an uphill battle and the decline of wild populations African Grey Parrots continues today. In some parts of their range, numbers have reduced by a disastrous 99% of the original population.
Are African Grey Parrots good pets?
Like all parrots, African Greys should be considered as wild animals. They are not a domesticated species like dogs and cats are. This means they are not naturally inclined to live within the confines of our human lives. While people with the time, knowledge, passion, determination, space and resources can provide an excellent quality of life for African Grey parrots as a pet, it is a decision that should never be taken lightly. Always consider the welfare of an African Grey parrot before deciding if you are capable and willing to provide the very best care it will require for many decades.
Where do African Grey Parrots come from?
African Greys are native only to the African continent. Specifically their range is small band across central Africa that covers the countries of: Angola, Cameroon, the Congo, Gabon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda.