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what is the price of an african grey parrot?

How Much Do African Grey Parrots Cost?

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

African grey parrots are highly sought after due to their high intellect, conversational ability, loyalty, characterful personalities, and friendly nature.

The average price of an African grey parrot is $2,000 to $5,000. Congo African greys ($2,000 to $2,750) are less expensive than timnehs ($3,500 – $5,000) because they’re slightly easier to source as pets.

You may be able to save money by acquiring an African grey from a bird sanctuary or avian marketplace for about $1,000. Find out why it’s being rehomed in case of complex behavioral problems.

You’ve also got to pay for the cage and equipment while meeting the ongoing cost of ownership. This includes everything from bird-safe cleaning supplies to nutritious food to veterinary care.

African Grey Pricing Factors

The amount you’ll pay depends on the following factors:

  • Age. Young parrots cost more because they’re easier to train and have longer left to live.
  • Male vs. Female. Breeding-age female African greys cost more money.
  • Genetics. The gene pool is more expensive due to favorable traits.
  • Hereditary diseases. This reduces the price, as breeders won’t use diseased birds.
  • Gender. Females lay eggs, which makes them more desirable to breeders.
  • Breeder. Parrots sold by reputable breeders command a higher price.
  • Sub-species. Timnehs are rarer than Congos.

There are also ongoing care costs to consider, such as:

Owning an African grey is expensive, so consider whether you can meet the annual costs. The last thing you want is to put up your parrot for adoption because this can cause lasting psychological harm.

average price for african grey parrots

Average Cost of African Greys

There are two types of African greys: Congos and Timnehs.

Timneh African greys are slightly smaller, reaching 13-15 inches rather than 14-16 inches. They also have darker grey feathers. Both have red tails, distinguishing them from other species.

African Grey Parrot SpeciesAverage Price (USD)
Congo African grey$2,000 – $2,750
Timneh African grey$3,500 – $5,000

Why African Grey Parrots Cost So Much

While we’ve discussed the reasons for their higher price tag, there are other reasons:

Proof of Legal Ownership (Cites)

To sell, buy, display, or use an African grey parrot commercially, you need two types of CITES Article 10 (A10) certificates, which are:

  • The Transaction Specific Certificate (TSC).
  • A Specimen Specific Certificate (SS).

They must also be marked with a closed-leg ring or a microchip because African greys were added to the CITES Appendix 1 list, making them endangered.

While most new owners needn’t apply for a certificate for commercial use (because the seller should have one), it’s worth doing so in case you ever need to rehome them.

You can only give away the parrot without the paperwork because no money can change hands.

Would-be owners must ask the seller to see the certificate before paying. Otherwise, you could run into legal difficulty with the authorities. Licenses cost around $500, which is passed on to the buyer. 

Relative Scarcity

According to the International Journal of Avian Science, the African grey population has declined due to the felling of large trees and trapping them for the illegal pet trade.

High Demand

African grey parrots have advanced cognitive abilities. Animal Learning and Behavior discovered that their vocabulary range comprises numbers, actions, colors, shapes, and the word “No.”

These abilities were once thought to be exclusively limited to primates and humans. These features have made African greys popular with people wanting a clever talking bird, increasing the demand.

Cage Costs

African greys are large birds that need ample space to move about and spread their wings. This prevents them from getting stressed and claustrophobic, potentially developing behavioral problems.

Aim for a minimum cage size of 36 x 24 x 48 inches to allow ample space.

According to the Center for Animal Rehab and Education, the bars should be spaced ¾ to 1 inch apart. This allows them to climb up and down the sides without hurting themselves or escaping.

The average African grey cage price is $400 to $600.

Food Price

African grey food prices range from $45 to $70 per month. Parrots need the following foods:

Nutritionally balanced pellets should comprise 50-70% of a parrot’s diet.

You can save on food costs by sharing fruit and vegetable leftovers rather than throwing them away. Unfortunately, not all human foods are safe for avian consumption.

How Much African Grey Eggs Cost

You may be able to buy African grey parrot eggs for $30 to $75 and care for them when they hatch. They’re much cheaper than purchasing adult parrots, and with good reason.

Buying African grey eggs is illegal and a controversial practice because:

  • There’s a higher likelihood that the egg won’t hatch.
  • The chances of premature death are more elevated.
  • There’s a need for specialized incubation equipment.

Baby parrots not weaned by their parents are more likely to develop problems, like becoming one-person birds and developing separation anxiety.

why are african grey parrots so expensive?

Annual Cost of Owning An African Grey Parrot

The yearly cost of ownership varies because sick parrots with poor genetics require more vet care.

African greys need toys for mental stimulation and cognitive sharpness. Due to the need to wear down their beaks and talons, they’ll likely destroy them, creating a further expense.

The annual cost could be up to $3,200. Here’s a breakdown of the expenses:

  • Pellets: $300 – $375.
  • Seeds: $60 – $80.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables: $300 – $400.
  • Toys: $150 – $200.
  • Veterinary care: $100 – $250.
  • Emergency care: Up to $1,200.
  • Vacation boarding: Up to $250.
  • Insurance: $200 – $400.

Costs have risen in recent years due to the compounding effects of inflation.

What To Look For When Buying An African Grey Parrot

Check for behavioral problems that could indicate a traumatic experience. Sometimes, these adversely affect parrots for the remainder of its life.

Whether you buy an African grey from a pet store, private seller, or breeder, ask these questions:

  • Is the parrot healthy? Ask the seller for the bird’s health background and a written declaration.
  • Has the seller had problems with the parrot? This could be the reason they’re parting ways.
  • What’s the parrot’s age? If possible, obtain proof of age.
  • Does the seller have the correct paperwork? Sometimes, this is a legal necessity.

To prevent issues, buy from a reputable seller with a long history of breeding African greys. Also, ensure they have the correct CITES Article 10 certificates.

While African greys are intelligent and loving pet birds, they require decades of care. With human-like lifespans, you’ll pay for their care for most of your life.

To learn more, familiarize yourself with our African grey parrot care guide.