thriving vs. surviving


© 2013 Birdzhaven — All Rights Reserved

Birdz of Africa

A continent the size of Africa hosts a surprisingly limited number of parrot species. I count approximately 25 different varieties but the conversation could easily drift into sub-species, etcetera.


The most well know parrots from Africa are the Grey parrots, namely the Congo and the Timneh. These birds are highly intelligent and require a lot of mental stimulation in order for them to thrive in their captive environments. Generally speaking, the Congo has a propensity to choose one person in the family and will often set boundaries for the rest of the human flock. Timnehs are a little smaller in stature and tend to be more accepting of the entire family.


Many people gravitate toward the Greys for the wrong reason; they want a bird that talks. It is true that many of them are excellent mimics of speech and sounds but many of Greys never learn to replicate human speech and therefore an unfair to expectation to place on a bird. My personal observation is that some people are looking for a personal court jester to entertain them when they are idle and the parrot is unable to fill the void in their lives. Sadly, many Grey parrots resort to self-mutilation because their human hosts do not educate themselves on the demands of caring for this highly intelligent parrot. My wife and I have adopted a couple of Greys that had resorted to feather plucking as a coping mechanism to deal with boredom. Thankfully, none of our parrots have started this practice while living with us so we use that as a touchstone that our Greys are "thriving and not just surviving" in our home.


The Cape parrots or to be specific the Brown-necked parrots are intriguing birds as they enjoy human companionship and have a more resilient demeanor than the Greys. Clowns at heart the Capes are highly animated and engaging birds. All of the Capes in our little flock “speak” and it is humorous to hear two of them squabbling between each other in English "no, stop that!"