Timneh African greys (Psittacus timneh) are mid-sized parrots native to the grassy plains and forests of West Africa. Habitat loss has been a major problem for the wild population. These birds have slightly smaller bodies than African greys (Psittacus erithacus), and once were considered a subspecies. If you plan to bring a Timneh African grey into your home, the cage is a major consideration. It's important for your pal to have enough space to move around. The extras inside the cage also matter.
Characteristics and Cage Considerations
The size of an adult Timneh African grey is a critical factor in picking out a cage. Mature specimens usually grow to between 9 and 11 inches long from their bills to their tail tips, and they generally weigh anywhere between 8.8 and 13.2 ounces. The cage you previously used to house a little zebra finch (Poephila guttata), for example, will not work for your new buddy.
These parrots are somewhere in between "quiet" and "noisy," but do often have inclinations for chatting. Take that into account when deciding where to put the cage. A den might be a better location than a home office where you need 100 percent concentration.
Lots of cage space always is a great thing for Timneh African greys. Cage height of around 4 feet usually is optimal. Widths of 3 feet also work well, with depths of 2 feet. Even if you make sure that your bird gets daily exercise outside of his cage, you want to make sure that he has ample room to stretch and play inside his living environment. Depending on the individuals, Timneh African greys can be companionable with others of their species. If you keep a pair of them together, look for a cage with more depth -- think 6 feet rather than 3 feet.
Cage Bar Spacing
Size isn't the sole crucial factor in the choice of a cage for your Timneh African grey. Bar spacing is important. Timneh African greys often do well with 3/4-inch spacing. Suitable bar spacing is a serious matter. With appropriate spacing, you can keep your bird much more secure within his cage -- and prevent him from going loose. Proper spacing can also stop any of a bird's body parts from potentially jutting out of the cage and getting caught between the bars.
Toys in the Cage
Ample toys placed inside the cage are essential for keeping your Timeh African grey self-assured, content and healthy. These birds thrive when they have lots of interesting things to do. Puzzles, hanging hammocks and rope gyms are all items to consider as cage furniture, in addition to the necessary perches. Puzzle toys are useful for getting birds' brains going. If you put wee portions of parrot-safe snacks inside them, they not only can keep your bird fully engaged, they also can provide delicious treats in the end -- think fresh veggies, for example.
Give your bright little parrot a lot of variety in toys, through color variations and how they feel to touch. If your bird is bored and frustrated, he will be prone to health issues such as excessive feather plucking. Fascinating toys can help prevent such problems.
- The International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators: The Nature of Greys
- BirdLife International: Timneh Parrot
- The International Association of Avian Trainers and Educators: Enrichment Tips
- The African Grey Parrot Handbook; Mattie Sue Athan and Dianalee Deter
- University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web: Psittacus erithacus
- Southeast Texas Avian Rescue: The African Grey Timneh