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Can Congo And Timneh African Greys Breed?

(Last Updated On: May 18, 2023)

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

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

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

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

As this combination is so rare, few people know what a Congo-Timneh cross looks like.

Even parrots that look like a cross may appear different due to regional differences. However, a cross is possible because Congo 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 sufficiently that their offspring experience no health problems.

For this reason, a Congo-Timneh cross isn’t considered a hybrid.

A hybrid is the product of 2 entirely different species. Due to physical, biological, and genetic differences, their offspring would likely 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, sufficient differences exist that they were considered different species.

Can a Congo And Timneh Mate?

Congo African greys and Timneh African greys can mate. Unfortunately, it’s difficult or near-impossible for them to do so in the wild or captivity.

can a congo and timneh mate?

Different Localities

A big part of the breeding problem is where the species reside geographically.

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

They don’t breed in the wild, so experts theorize that the species are from different parts of Africa. There’s no fundamental need to mate with a bird from another species if there’s a flock of similar parrots.


Congo and Timneh greys have different forms of vocalization.

Vocalization is an important part of mating for parrot species. When a parrot wants to mate, it’ll imitate the vocalizations of the parrot it’s interested in.

Different flocks have unique vocalizations. If a parrot wants to join a new flock, it’ll be well-received if it learns how to mimic the flock’s vocalization patterns.

Congo and Timneh African grey parrots began diverging over 2 million years ago. Their vocalizations are different enough that they may have difficulty communicating when they first meet.

Mating Conditions

Breeding African grey parrots is difficult because their environmental conditions must be optimal.

African greys are hard to care for because they get stressed. Parrots won’t mate when stressed, so only experienced breeders can crossbreed a Congo and Timneh offspring.

Limited Availability

Besides comfort, it’s also difficult for breeders to get a hold of Congo 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?

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

Congo-Timneh crosses are smaller than the Congo-African grey. They may have the same dark plumage as Timneh’s, but there are reports of offspring with light feathers, like the Congo.

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

Finding accurate information about authentic Congo-Timneh crosses is difficult because many breeders acquire African grey crosses that look like the traditional variants.

Difference Between Congo and Timneh African Grey

There are many differences between a Congo grey and a Timneh grey due to their:

  • Sizes.
  • Plumage.
  • Behavior.
  • Maturity level.

Congo and Timneh African greys are 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


Congo African greys have black beaks and light grey plumage. Their feathers 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’s, but only because their bodies are much larger.

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 have the same intelligence level. Many birds can learn hundreds of words and are among the most skilled parrots at mimicking sounds.

Timneh African grey parrots usually learn to speak earlier than Congo greys and prefer making sounds over mimicking words. That said, Timnehs can still be trained to speak.

Congo African greys are difficult to care for because they’re easily stressed and prone to anxiety problems. Getting them accustomed to others is difficult unless socialized at an early age.

Congo African greys are unsuitable parrots for first-time owners and families with young children.

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

Congo and Timneh African greys can breed, but it’s rare and difficult to achieve. Consequently, a lot of mystery surrounds this uncommon pairing.