do african greys get along with other birds

The next thing you wanted to know was how you handled behavior like biting or beaking. Consider the purpose you believe Kea’s yelling when Rangi bites her serves. This is a clear and distinct communication between two parrots. Were humans, not parrots. I’m not interested in modeling our parrots’ behavior in a way that mimics how we see two parrots interacting because, among other reasons, I don’t think it will be appropriate or effective in the long run as a teaching or learning aid. To begin with, the fact that Rangi stops biting you right away and shifts his attention could mean that he perceives your yelling as an unpleasant stimulus. In actuality, you are going back to managing your behavior with negative reinforcement. In order to prevent these encounters, I would advise you to reassess your interactions with Rangi, learn to recognize signs that you have already come to associate with an imminent bite or aggressive encounter, and begin rearranging your surroundings or handling standards with him. It’s time to swap out your existing approach for fresh tactics based on differential reinforcement. See the excellent case study on biting at the WPT reference library by Susan Friedman and Lee McGuire in the article The Success Files. Its a beauty. The habit of using your beak as a guide when stepping onto your hand is one of the contributing issues you are facing. True beak-leading behavior, in my opinion, is extremely delicate; some large parrots even use the front of their upper mandible instead of their open beak grasp. You can begin training your Greys to step up without using their beaks if their stepping up interaction is causing them to use their beaks in an uncomfortable way. A fantastic visual tool for accomplishing this is the Parrot Training DVD by Barbara Heidenreich. It’s also time to read Susan Friedman’s excellent Empowering Parrots, a step-by-step manual for enhancing positive behavior. It’s available at the WPT Reference Library, a free one-stop shop for sound oil advice.

You mentioned that Rangi occasionally acts aggressively toward Kea. Although all of my pairs will occasionally act aggressively toward one another for a variety of reasons, this does not automatically mean that they are not suitable for living together in the same enclosure. This rarely goes beyond posturing in a committed and compatible pair, but it’s crucial to keep an eye on these exchanges to make sure the frequency is appropriate and that physical confrontations are promptly ended. It comes down to good observational skills on your part.

Jim provides consultancy services on parrot behaviour through Parrot Behaviour & Enrichment Consultations ( He holds Bachelor’s degrees in Teaching (ACU) and Applied Science (UQ) and is a Senior Biology and Environmental Sciences teacher. Jim’s approach to education on parrot behaviour aims to connect the behaviours we see amongst psittacines in the wild with those we observe in captivity to best inform environmental arrangement for behavioural success. An Applied Behaviour Analysis approach to assessing behaviour is the foundation of his consultancy assessments on individual parrot clients.

Additionally, it’s advised to keep quiet when your greyhound bites. Observing our Greys, I’ve noticed that every time Rangi gives Kea a hard nip, she lets out a yelp. I started to mimic her when she bites me. She wants to use her beak first and then her foot when we are teaching her how to step up. Sometimes she takes the hand a little too hard without realizing it. Nevertheless, it hurts when she does, and I’ve been yelling at her to stop right away. When Rangi plays too rough with me and presses against my hand, I also attempted to yell. When I yelp he stops. I’m not sure why, exactly, people advise against making noise when they bite because they might find it amusing and carry on. Contrary to what I’ve discovered, Rangi stops, looks at me, and doesn’t press on my hand again when it hurts.

For my part, I think it’s fantastic that Rangi and Kea could eventually share an enclosure. It is possible, but you have to make sure that you handle the transition sensitively to their apparent comfort level with one another and that the shared enclosure is big enough to accommodate two African Greys. That’s crucial because, in smaller indoor cages, each bird faces pressures to achieve spatial comfort that are lessened in larger aviary-style enclosures, potentially making it more difficult. When you are at home, begin by observing the birds for brief periods of time in their shared cage. If the families are content with the routine and they get used to it, the time can be extended. Another piece of advice is to completely rearrange the furnishings and perch if you are using an existing cage to create a new shared space. In this manner, you can acclimate them to a novel setting, allow them ample opportunity to investigate it, and determine their preferred perching spots without the influence of pre-existing favorites.

From your description of your older Greys body language, it appears that he may be a parrot who has relatively high anxiety levels. Anxious or nervous Greys will frequently display the “wide-eyed” appearance that you describe. They will also stand up quite tall, with feathers slicked down and held closely to the body. They often startle easily, and do also display the behavior you describe of leaning forward with wings spread and quivering. His sudden biting is also consistent with this problem. His earlier too-short wing clip and resulting falls lend credence to the idea that he is a relatively anxious Grey. This type of early beginning frequently results in this residual problem behavior. I always feel a great deal of compassion for birds who have started life with this disability. Therefore, the first part of your solution will be to help your older Grey to relax. It isnt within the scope of this response to describe all the many ways that stress reduction can be accomplished with a parrot. However, you may find an article I wrote on the subject, titled “Stress Reduction for Companion Parrots,” at ; This may give you some usable ideas for helping him to calm down. Obviously, if he is more relaxed, this will help him to accept your new Greys presence in the household. It is possible that the Bach Flower Rescue Remedy may help him if placed in his drinking water, but this will be only the beginning of the solution for him. Your older Greys anxious behavior is a result of learning. He learned that he had reason to be afraid because of his sudden falls. You will see his behavior return to a more “normal” state when he has a chance to learn that his world is a safe place. The article referenced above will help you with this goal. Its too bad that we cant just ask him why he is behaving so aggressively toward your baby Grey. However, in the absence of an explanation from him, we can make some guesses based upon his behavior. His aggression toward your new Grey indicates that he does, in some way, consider her a threat. Therefore, this previously frightened parrot now feels even more threatened due to the presence of his new roommate. I would not despair at this point, though. I have lived with a great many African Greys and, generally speaking, they usually learn to appreciate the presence of other Greys in the home. I feel confident that your older Grey can learn to enjoy his younger “sister” over time, but this will need to be a learning experience. It is important that you separate their cages by enough distance that he cannot run over to attack her. My usual advice is to separate parrot cages by at least five to six feet. Parrots, by virtue of their intelligence and sensitivity, tend to have “big” personalities. They usually appreciate having some space around them, rather than having another parrot (especially one they dont know well) very close to them. By separating the cages, he will feel less threatened by her presence and she will feel protected from him. That way, they can get to know each other from afar and will have a better chance of being friends in the future. Next, try to enrich his life in the present. Have things changed for him since your baby Grey came home? Does he get less attention than he did before? Might he sense your frustration with him for his behavior toward her? See if you cant give him a little more attention each day, introduce a new activity or give him some toys or projects that he can stay busy with. By giving him other things to think about he may settle down and be less focused on her. If he is afraid of new things, see if you cant create some small projects for him that we might readily accept. A wonderful resource for such ideas is Kris Porters website ; Lastly, try to find a sense of compassion towards him. He wants to be happy and successful in your home. He just had some early experiences that make this more of a challenge for him than it is for your younger Grey who did not suffer the trauma of a too-short wing trim. The above changes will help to ease the current stress between the two birds. However, the real solution will come about when your older Grey learns that this new addition to the household means that good things happen for him because of proximity to her. Figure out what type of treat he really loves. Try to find an item that isnt a part of his usual diet. Greys usually like best any foods that are high in fat. Perhaps a bit of cream cheese on a spoon? Maybe sunflower seeds or bits of nuts? Once youve identified a training treat, then begin to use the following exercise on a daily basis. This should be begun only after youve moved their cages further apart. Have your older Grey step onto your hand (at a time when he is not likely to bite you) and then take just one step toward your younger Grey. Hold him so that he can see her, talk to him about her, praise him for going closer to her, and then when his body language is relaxed and shows no signs of aggression, give him the treat and return him to his cage. Do this several times until you can step him up, take a step toward her and he shows no signs of distress. Give him a treat every time. Once you have accomplished this initial exercise, then begin to move closer to her, always making progress in very small increments. Next, hold him and take two steps toward her, offering him the treat when you see his body language relax. After several successful sessions at that distance, then move three steps toward her. Continue in this regard until you can walk all the way up to her cage with your older Grey on your hand, and with him showing no signs of concern. Your keys to success will be the following: (1) dont proceed too quickly through these steps (try for many repetitions at each distance), (2) only give him the treat when his body language is relaxed on your hand (you dont want to reward any aggressive body language), and (3) completely ignore at all times any signs of aggression in him toward her (unless there is direct physical threat to her). By the time you have implemented this behavior modification plan for several weeks, you should begin to see a change in your older Greys behavior toward the younger bird. However, even if you see a complete absence of aggressive behavior towards her, I would still encourage you to keep them apart. They should each always have their own cage and their own play stands or alternate perches. Just because they are the same species, does not guarantee that they will become good friends. However, you should all be able to live peacefully and happily in your home together. And, who knows? Perhaps they will surprise us and learn to interact happily with each other, if given enough time to get to know each other.

Thank you so much for using the WPT “Ask the Expert” feature and for your question, Debra. I applaud you for acting swiftly to find a resolution to what seems to be a very upsetting circumstance for everyone involved. I’m confident that these two Greys can learn to live well together in your house, and I advise you to be patient with your older African Grey until you can put the suggestions listed below into practice. I will have to speculate about what might be causing your older Grey’s behavior and what the best course of action would be to solve the issue in the absence of more information about the two birds in question. Feel free to put into practice whatever seems to be most appropriate for your own particular set of circumstances.

Pam works as a licensed veterinary technician in Salem, Oregon, for an avian specialist. She shares her home with two cats, a dog, and a mixed flock of ten companion parrots. Her writings have been translated into multiple foreign languages and have appeared in a number of magazines and newsletters, including Grey Play Round Table, Companion Parrot Quarterly, Bird Talk, Birds USA, PsittaScene, Parrots, Good Bird, and the Holistic Bird Newsletter.

Pam’s approach as a behavior consultant is distinctively all-encompassing, combining the best and most efficient behavior modification techniques with advancements in nutrition and husbandry. She provides consultations to clients in the US as well as Canada, Europe, and Japan. She is especially interested in feather-destructive behavior, psittacine nutrition, indoor flight, and the relationship between humans and parrots.

Greetings, Pam. I am finding it quite challenging to acclimate a newborn African Grey to my two-year-old Grey. My first AG is extremely hyperactive. He is always leaning forward and spreading his wings, as if he wants to fly. He also has a tense attitude and dilated eyes. I may be wrong, but he may have had a bad wing clip that caused him to stumble and cut himself a few times. This may have been the catalyst for his personality change. His diet consists of Harrison’s pellets mixed with fruit and vegetables. My new AG, a female that is about 8 months old, is completely different from my first bird. She is steady and gentle, letting me easily handle her all over. Although my first grey loves me dearly, he has always bitten me without warning and has been a challenging bird since he was a little child. My worries are that the new baby is starting to show signs of fear towards my first grey, and he wants to attack her all the time. He will run over to her cage whenever he gets the chance to try to bite it or get to her. I immediately intervene but get bitten badly also. Although I would prefer not to, I might have to rehome my first grey if I can’t get him to accept the baby grey or at least settle down a bit. Someone advised starting with Dr. Bach’s Rescue Remedy and letting the bad wing clip grow through, but in this extremely upsetting situation I’m in right now, I would really appreciate any professional advice I can get.


What birds can live with parrots?

Keeping Parrots with Quail Conures, Cockatiels and Budgerigars can be kept in the same aviary as the species of pet Quail available in the pet trade (usually Button quail (aka King or Chinese quail) (Coturnix chinensii), and Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica).

Do African Greys get along with conures?

Even if they get along somewhat, all it takes is one time for the conure to irritate the Grey too much and the Grey can kill a conure with one bite.

Can African Greys live with cockatiels?

It’s possible, but not necessarily recommended to try especially unsupervised, because of the risk for the cockatiel. One snap of a grey’s beak and it’s all over for the ‘tiel. But sometimes friendships just happen!

What are African Greys enemies?

African greys are preyed upon mainly by snakes and large cats. To avoid predators, they will either fly away or defend themselves with their powerful beaks.