Psittacus Erithacus or the African grey parrot possesses the reputation of being one of the superior mimics in nature. The lifespan of African grey parrot is a popular topic among avian enthusiasts. Moreover, the popularity and long-lived nature of the African grey parrot make it the most traded pet kept in captivity all around the world. Most avian-loving families have seen and interacted with these remarkably intelligent parrots in a captive setting. However, there is a different side to these uniquely intelligent birds that a lot of people might not know.

As reliably obtained from birdfact.com African grey parrots are native to forests and savanna woodland habitats in equitorial Africa. They occur from Guinea in the west to Kenya in the East. They are social birds in nature that forage for fruits, seeds, and bulbs in flocks of up to 30 individuals. There are three commonly accepted subspecies of African grey, although the Timneh subspecies is considered by many sources as a full species. But, how do all these affect the lifespan of African grey parrot?

lifespan of African grey parrot introduction photo

How Long Do African Greys Live?

In their natural habitat, African greys have an approximate average lifespan of 23 years. However, they live longer in captivity for over 40 years due to great care. Notably, the oldest known African grey parrot was 55 years old when it died.
In the wild, they encounter numerous threats like illegal trapping, habitat destruction, predators, and hunting. Nonetheless, in captivity as pets, they may also be affected by several non-infectious and infectious diseases. Even so, the availability of cutting-edge avian vet services guarantees better health and a longer lifespan. By and large, habitat plays a key role in the lifespan of African grey parrot.

lifespan of African grey parrot demonstration photo

Continue reading to learn all about the lifespan of African grey parrot, one of the world's most exceptional parrots.

How long do African greys live in captivity?

With proper care while in captivity, African grey parrots can live exceptionally long. They can attain unbelievable ages of approximately 45-60 years. So, they sometimes outlive their carers. In view of that fact, cautious and disciplined thought should go into buying a young African grey parrot. As an avian lover, ensure you always consider the lifespan of African grey parrot.

How Long Do African Grey Parrots Live in the Wild?

Naturally, African grey parrots live long in the wild and captivity. On average, it has an approximate lifespan of 23 years in the wild. The prevalence of predation by hawks, squirrels, vultures, monkeys, and humans in the wild. So, they have to survive through all these predatory elements to sustain the lifespan of African grey parrot of 23 years in the wild. Interestingly, in forests where there are strictly implemented conservative laws, they are estimated to have a lifespan of 40 years.

African grey parrot example photo

How Do Most African Greys Die?

Despite new laws and trade restrictions, African grey parrots are still caught in the wild and traded in the exotic pet market. Also, birdfact.com further states that an estimation of over 40% of wild-caught birds die before being sold by trappers. Consequently, they mostly depreciate in quality and value when they reach a trading hub where they are sold as pets. By and large, the numerous parrots whose lives are lost and endangered in the process are heartbreaking.
Besides their potential as a pet, African greys are also being trapped and hunted in nature for other extraordinary purposes. For instance, they are used in traditional medicine and are constantly consumed as ‘bush meat’.

Furthermore,  in the wild, they are susceptible to several predatory elements, diseases, and weather conditions. In view of that, the eggs and chicks are usually susceptible to predatory elements. Additionally, they are exposed to overgrowing vegetation, flooding, or harvesting of the trees where they nest.

While in captivity, African grey parrots are vulnerable to numerous non-infectious and infectious diseases that can be deadly. Despite the advancement in avian vet services, here are some of the regularly reported health issues:

  • Sarcocystosis
  • Psittacosis
  • Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease (PBFD)
  • Aspergillosis
  • Avian bornavirus (ABV)
lifespan of African grey parrot demonstration photo in wild

What is the Life Cycle of an African Grey Parrot?

African greys are known to be monogamous. Also, they offer great parental care to their offspring. Normally, it can take more than four years for a young to start reproducing. This is because African greys attain sexual maturity fairly late.

In natural cavities, 30 – 100 feet above ground, and in tail forest trees, they make their nest. Naturally, the female lays 1 – 5 eggs between April and May. Then, she incubates the eggs for approximately 31 days. During that period of time, the male brings her food.

Sadly, when hatched, the chicks are vulnerable to predatory elements. Nonetheless, the female feeds the chicks for the first few days, while the male continues to bring food to the nest. For the most part, at three weeks old, both parents feed the chicks.

Commonly, it’s reported to take approximately five months for the African grey chicks to leave the nest due to their slow development. In addition, the parents will continue to feed the young parrots for several months after fledging. Birdfact.com reliably states that; African grey parrots are ready to breed by their third or fourth year. So, they will form pairs in March or April in preparation for producing a new generation of their species.

African grey nest illustration photo for lifespan of African grey parrot

What Factors Affects the Lifespan of African Grey Parrot?

As mentioned earlier, African grey parrots are exposed to predatory elements at all stages of their lifecycle, while in the wild. Such as palm-nut vultures and several other raptors. These are the most common predatory elements of nesting parrots. However, humans and squirrels are also known predators.
Moreover, birds of prey, larger reptiles such as pythons, and carnivorous mammals are other predators of adult African greys. Not to mention humans who also trap and hunt them for food, medicinal purposes, and the lucrative parrot trade.
Carnivorous mammals, birds of prey, and larger reptiles like pythons are also likely to hunt them. 

Lifespan of African Grey Parrot. Longest Living African Grey Parrot?

Birdfact.com has it that the oldest living African grey parrot must have been a male named, Tarbu. He was born in 1957 in Tanzania. He is reported to have lived for 55 years prior to passing away in 20212
Besides, in the Psittaciforme order (Parrots, cockatoos, macaws, and so on), the recorded oldest bird was a major Mitchell’s cockatoo named, Cookie. This legendary bird lived for 82 years. Although not being an African grey, Cookie’s lengthy lifespan is a clear indicator that psittacine birds in captive have the potential to live longer.

Lifespan of African Grey Parrot, Post Photo

How Long Can an African Grey Parrot Live Without Food?

Obviously, African greys feed every day, however, they are considered capable of going for 2 to 4 days without food. Other than that, several elements determine how long a parrot can survive without food. So, the most important elements are:
– The quantity of reserved energy the parrot has.
– The health and activity level of the parrot.
– The ambient temperature.

How Can You Tell the Age of an African Grey Parrot?

Truthfully, the most reliable way to know the age of an adult African grey is to be aware of when it was born. At about 4 years or younger, by keenly looking at their eye color, you could possibly estimate the age of a parrot.
Birdfact.com states that; African grey parrots have black irises until the age of about four months. At about one year old, the eyes will have lightened to a gray color. In addition, by the age of two years, the majority of parrots will have straw-colored eyes, and by four years the iris should have become the characteristic light yellow color of the adults.

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