The Government of Kenya has recently issued regulations requiring the licensing of African Grey Parrots.
If you own, or want to own an African Grey Parrot, here is what you need to know.
Once widespread throughout Western and Central Africa, the African Grey Parrot is now on the brink of extinction due to habitat loss and massive illegal animal trade. Even though the United Nations has banned the trade of these parrots under the CITES agreement, thousands of parrots are still stolen monthly from the wild and sold illegally. Many of the parrots die or are seriously injured during the capture and transport; the ones that do survive end up in small cages around the world, possibly never to fly again.
African Greys are popular pets due to their ability to mimic human voices. But whether the parrot was illegally sold from the wild or legally (in some countries) born and bred in captivity, it is still a wild animal with natural instincts and needs. Greys are amongst the smartest of parrot species, so they require a lot of care to avoid boredom. As highly intelligent birds, they are also high-maintenance and are not suitable for people who work long hours or are away from home a lot. A bored parrot will be loud and vocal, have angry outbursts and pluck out its feathers. They frequently bond with one family member, often rejecting all others, and are often intolerant or fearful of strangers.
African Greys have very specific requirements and if you cannot provide all the following, you should not be keeping a parrot:
- Large enclosure. The cage must be at a minimum 90 x 60 x 120 cm, with several perches, toys, climbing frames and other stimulation. The parrot must be able to fully extend its wings and flap without touching the cage sides. African Greys are quite messy, so lining the cage bottom with newspaper provides an easy way of cleaning the cage.
- Their diet should consist of 70% commercial pellets, 20-25% fruits (mango, papaya, banana, pineapple, melons, oranges, apples, berries, coconuts) and vegetables (cucumber, broccoli, spinach, zucchini, peas, kale, butternut, peppers, carrots, corn, lettuce) and only 5-10% nuts, seeds and grains. Clean, fresh water should always be available, both for drinking and bathing. Feeding your parrot mainly seeds is an incomplete and imbalanced diet and will lead to obesity and illness as seeds are high in carbs and fat.
- Daily mental stimulation and attention. You should spend at least 1-2 hours daily in close contact with your parrot.
- 1-2 hours of daily exercise; the parrot should be allowed out of the cage to fly around the room and explore. This provides both exercise and mental stimulation.
Licensing – For more information please see below as per Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) Guidelines.
African Greys can live up to 60 years, but without the right living conditions they are very prone to various behavioral problems, including aggressive behaviour, jealousy, stress and feather plucking. Ultimately, birds should not be kept in cages at all, but if your parrot has been born and raised in captivity, it cannot suddenly without consideration be released back into the wild either, thus you have the responsibility of making sure it has a comfortable existence. Never ever acquire a parrot that you suspect has been illegally captured as you then become part of the reason why these amazing birds are going extinct.
Below is a link of the released amnesty and registration of illegally possessed African Grey Parrots running for 45 Days from 25th October 2021.