THE AFRICAN GREY PARROT; BIRDS OF UGANDA – UGANDA SAFARI NEWS
Scientifically referred to as Psittacus erithacus, the African grey parrot is a notable Old World parrot belonging to the family Psittacidae and thrives in the equatorial Africa including Uganda where it is explored on Uganda birding safaris and tours.
The Grey Parrot possesses a medium size and majorly grey colour with black bill stretching to 400g in size and 33cm in length with the mean wingspan of 46 – 52cm. The Congo Subspecies feature lighter grey plumage but with dark grey on the wings and over the head while the feathers of the tail are red in colour as often viewed on birding safari in Uganda. The Timneh Subspecies feature dark gray plumage with dark maroon colored tail and the pink colored portion on their beak.
The African Grey Parrots is spread in range from the East African Safari tour destination of Kenya to east of Ivory Coast. They thrive in dense forests, forest edges and in open vegetation such as savannah and gallery forests. They are noted to live 40 – 60 years in captivity but their lifespan in the wilderness can be less than 23 years.
Regarding breeding, the African grey parrots are notable monogamous breeders that construct their nests in the tree cavities and each couple occupies its own tree. The female parrot (hen) lays three (3) to five (5) eggs and the incubation period lasts 30 days as the male provides food. The caring of the chick is done by both partners until they are ready to go on their own.
The African grey parrot feed on nuts, fruit along with seeds but they also consume snails and insects as at times explored while on Uganda tours.
The predators of the African grey parrots include palm nut vultures along with a range of raptors. Humans are also a big threat as they attempt to keep them as pets. They are listed as vulnerable under the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).