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can timneh and congo breed?

Can Congo And Timneh African Greys Breed?

Rare hybrids are highly coveted in the avian world due to how hard it is to acquire and mate rare parrots.

One such rare species is African grey variants, sought after for their mimicry and intelligence. Given how hard it is to acquire African greys, such as the Congo and Timneh grey, we rarely see their offspring.

Congo and Timneh African greys can breed together, but it’s a difficult process.

African greys are hard to keep happy in captivity, so it can take breeders years to unite a good, fertile pair. However, when a Congo and Timneh pair do mate, they can produce healthy chicks.

Because this mix is so rare, few people know what a Congo-Timneh cross looks like or if it’s even possible.

Even parrots that look like a cross between the two may appear different due to regional differences. However, a cross is possible because Congo greys and Timneh greys are similar birds.

Can Timneh And Congo Breed?

Timneh African greys and Congo African greys can breed and produce healthy, fertile offspring because they’re genetically related enough that their offspring have no health problems.

In fact, it’s because of this that a Congo-Timneh cross cannot be considered a hybrid.

A hybrid is the product of two completely different species. Because of the physical, biological, and genetic differences between two species, any offspring are likely to be infertile and have health issues.

Congo African greys and Timneh African greys belong to the same family. They’re so similar that the Timneh was considered a sub-species of the Congo African grey until recently.

According to Molecular Ecology, enough differences were found that the two types of parrots were considered different species.

Can a Congo And Timneh Mate?

Congo African greys and Timneh African greys can mate. However, it’s difficult for them to do so, both in the wild and in captivity.

can a congo and timneh mate?

Different Localities

A big part of this is where the two species are found.

Congo African grey parrots (Psittacus Erithacus) are from Equatorial Africa, while Timneh African greys (Psittacus Timneh) are from West Africa.

These two species don’t breed in the wild, and avian experts theorize that the two species are from different parts of Africa.

There’s no need for a parrot to mate with a bird from a different species if there’s an entire flock of similar parrots to choose from.

Vocalizations

Congo and Timneh greys are different enough to have different forms of vocalization.

Vocalization is an important part of mating for all parrot species. When parrots want to mate, they’ll imitate the vocalization of the parrots they are interested in.

Different flocks will have unique vocalizations. If a parrot from another flock wants to join a new one, it’ll be better received if it learns to mimic the flock’s vocalization patterns.

The Congo and Timneh African grey parrots began diverging over 2 million years ago. Their vocalization is different enough that the two species may have trouble communicating when they first meet.

Mating Conditions

It’s also difficult to breed African grey parrots because their conditions need to be perfect before they are comfortable enough to mate.

African greys are hard to care for because they get stressed easily, especially if they had a challenging upbringing. Parrots don’t mate when stressed, so only experienced breeders can successfully crossbreed a Congo and Timneh offspring.

Limited Availability

Besides comfort, it’s also difficult for breeders to get a hold of Congo greys and Timneh greys.

Poachers have decimated many parrot populations in different parts of the world. So, it’s rare to see a true Congo-Timneh cross in captivity.

What Does a Congo and Timneh Hybrid Look Like?

It’s difficult to say what a true Cong-Timneh cross looks like because there are so few of them.

Many variations can occur when crossbreeding, so it’s hard to determine which physical traits are definitive, as many could be unique to the individual bird.

The few records of Congo-Timneh crosses report that they tend to be smaller than the Congo African grey. They’re said to have the same dark plumage as the Timneh’s, but others have reported offspring that have light feathers, like the Congo.

Congo African greys have red tail feathers. Although some Congo-Timnehs are born with a bit of red in their tail, it isn’t known if the feathers change color once they grow older.

It’s difficult for parrot enthusiasts to find accurate information about authentic Congo-Timneh crosses, not least because many breeders will acquire African grey crosses and hybrids that look like the traditional variants or get confused for another kind of variant.

There’s a lot of crossbreeding in the parrot breeding industry, and not all of it is reported.

Difference Between Congo and Timneh African Grey

There are many differences between a Congo grey and a Timneh grey because of their:

  • Sizes
  • Plumage
  • Behavior
  • Maturity

Congo and Timneh African greys are both from the same parrot family, so they were considered the same species for decades.

However, enough variation was found that people now understand that there are differences between the two types of parrots:

ParrotTimneh African GreyCongo African Grey
Average Weight:9.7-13.2 ounces13.4-20 ounces
Average Length:11-13 inches12-16 inches
Average Lifespan (in captivity):30-50 years30-60 years
Reaches Maturity:3 years old4 to 5 years old
Temperament:Calm, moderate trainabilityStressed, difficult to train
Price (individual):$250-$500 USD$100-$500 USD
Price (adoption):$1,000-$3,000 USD$500-$2,000 USD
Price (breeder):$3,000-$7,000 USD$1,000-$4,000 USD

Appearance

Congo African greys have black beaks and light grey plumage. Their feathers tend to stick out more, making them look fluffier than Timnehs.

They’re larger, heavier, and have distinct red tail feathers. Their beaks appear smaller than Timneh beaks, but this is only because their bodies are much larger in general.

Timneh African greys have a light-colored upper beak, and their plumage is a darker shade of grey, including their tail. Their dark feathers are tightly pressed against their body, making them look sleek.

Because they’re small, their beaks appear large despite being nearly the same size as a Congo’s beak.

difference between congo and timneh african grey

Intelligence, Personality, and Trainability

Both species are considered on the same level when it comes to intelligence. They can both learn many words, and they are the most skilled parrots when it comes to mimicking sounds.

Timneh African grey parrots tend to speak earlier than Congo greys, and they prefer making their own sounds over mimicking words. With that said, Timnehs can still be trained to speak.

Congo African greys are difficult to care for because they’re prone to anxiety and are easily stressed. It’s difficult to get them accustomed to other people unless socialized correctly, and they tend to bond with one person at a time.

Because of this, Congo African greys aren’t the most suitable parrots for most families, especially those with small children. Avian experts don’t recommend these birds for first-time parrot parents because caring for them is like caring for a perpetual toddler.

Timneh African greys are more emotionally stable than Congo’s because they mature faster. Despite this, Timnehs can be just as difficult to care for as Congo’s because of how much attention they need.

Congo and Timneh African greys can breed. However, it’s rare and difficult to achieve, so there’s still a great deal of mystery surrounding these parrots.