African grey parrots are highly sought after due to their high intellect, loyalty, and sociable nature. For these reasons, African greys build strong bonds with their owners. So, you may be wondering: how much does an African grey cost?
The price of an African grey parrot is between $1,500 to $3,500. Congo African greys are more affordable than timneh parrots because they’re much easier to source in the pet industry. However, the other costs (food, large cage, toys, perches, dishes, and vet bills/insurance) can be up to $3,200 a year.
Owning an African grey parrot requires an experienced owner who has the necessary spare time to dedicate to keeping one enriched and entertained. If not, you’ll have to factor in the cost of a second African grey for company.
What Is The Price Of An African Grey Parrot?
African grey parrots are relatively expensive birds, even though they’re among the most popular pet parrots. We’ve discussed the price, but the amount that you’ll pay will be based on the following factors:
- Age. Older birds cost more because they’ve been trained and socialized
- Genetics. Good-quality, sought-after genes will be more expensive
- Hereditary diseases. This reduces the price as they won’t be used by breeders
- Gender. Females lay eggs, which makes them more desirable
- Breeder. Reputable breeders command a higher price
- Sub-species. Timneh African greys are less common and cost more money
There are also long-term care costs to think about. These include:
- Food and treats
- Toys and games
- Cleaning agents
- Veterinary care and insurance
- Pet sitters
- A legal permit (in some states)
Owning an African grey is an expensive commitment, so consider whether you can afford the annual costs before buying one. The last thing you want to do is put up your African grey for adoption once you’re bonded.
Average Price of African Grey Parrots
As described by VCA Hospitals, there are two types of African grey parrot: the Congo and the timneh. Both originate from Africa but in different regions.
Timneh African greys are slightly smaller than their Congo cousins, reaching between 13 to 15 inches compared to the Congo’s 14 to 16. They also have marginally darker grey feathers. Both have a strikingly red tail, which distinguishes them from other parrots. The average price of each parrot is as follows:
|African Grey Parrot Species||Average Price (USD)|
|Congo||$1,500 – $2,000|
|Timneh||$2,000 – $3,500|
As mentioned, these prices are only a guide. Various factors affect them, including the parrot’s age and DNA.
Why Are African Grey Parrots So Expensive?
African grey parrots are one of the most expensive pet birds. While we’ve discussed the reasons for their high price tag, there are other reasons for this, such as:
Obtaining Legal Ownership
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), and
- A Specimen Specific Certificate (SS)
The parrot must also be marked with a closed leg ring or a microchip. That’s because African greys were added to the CITES Appendix 1 list, making them an endangered species. This list details the animals that need protection from over-exploitation and is recognized by 178 member countries, including the U.S.
While most new owners don’t need to 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 your pet. Without the relevant paperwork, you can only gift your parrot – no money can change hands.
Would-be owners must ask the seller to see the certificate before they part with any money. Otherwise, you could get into trouble with the authorities. Licenses cost around $500. A license pushes the price up of an African grey because sellers typically pass on the cost to buyers.
According to the International Journal of Avian Science, African grey parrots have undergone population decline. The two leading causes for this are the felling of the large trees where they reside and breed and the trapping of African greys for the illegal pet trade.
African grey parrots can live for 40 to 60 years in captivity. This is one of the reasons why their initial cost is so high. Similarly, this means that the long-term costs are bound to be expensive.
African grey parrots have advanced cognitive abilities. Known as the “Einstein of the parrot world,” they have the talking capability of a five-year-old child.
A study by Animal Learning and Behavior discovered that their vocabulary range consists of numbers, actions, colors, shapes, and the word “No.” These abilities were once thought to be exclusively limited to primates and humans. These abilities have made African greys popular with owners wanting a clever talking bird, pushing up demand.
How Much Does An African Grey Cage Cost?
African greys are medium-sized birds that need space to move about in. This prevents them from getting stressed and claustrophobic.
As a result, they need a large cage that’s at least 3 feet wide and 4 feet tall. It should also be 2 feet deep. Aim for a minimum cage size of 36 x 24 x 48 inches to allow plenty of 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. It also prevents them from escaping.
Because of these specialized requirements, the average African grey cage price ranges from $400 to $600. However, the best quality cages go for $1,000. Expensive cages are also a better choice because African grey parrots are intelligent enough to break out of them, so you’ll need a cage that’s strong and sturdy.
Similarly, getting the right cage is essential, as it’s where your parrot will spend most of its life. If it’s too small, your African grey is likely to develop a range of behavioral problems such as:
- Feather plucking
- Excessive vocalization
- Stereotypical behaviors, such as head bobbing or swaying
- Loss of appetite
What’s The Average African Grey Food Price?
African grey food prices range between $45 to $70 per month, depending on its size and appetite. Parrots need the following foods in their diet:
- Pellets, which should make up around 75 to 80% of your parrot’s diet.
- Fruits and vegetables. These are an occasional treat that should make up 20 to 25% of the parrot’s total diet.
- Grains, which are healthy in small amounts.
- Seeds, which are favored by African greys.
- Nuts, another favored food source.
Altogether, these foods can become quite expensive. However, you can save on the monthly food costs by sharing your fruit and vegetable scraps with them instead of throwing them away.
How Much Do African Grey Eggs Cost?
If you’re looking to hatch an African grey chick and care for it from birth, you can purchase African grey parrot eggs. They typically cost between $30 to $75. They’re much cheaper than fully grown birds because there’s a chance they won’t hatch, even if a seller claims it’s fertile.
However, buying African grey eggs is a controversial practice. In many countries, it’s illegal. That’s because:
- It’s unlikely the egg will hatch
- The chances of death are high
- Eggs are difficult to care for
- You need specialized equipment
- Not reflective of the long-term costs of care
Only the most experienced owners should attempt to incubate and hatch a parrot. It’s a complicated process, and the chick will require around-the-clock care.
What’s The Annual Cost Of Owning An African Grey Parrot?
The annual cost of owning an African grey varies based on its health. Sick parrots with poor genetics will cost you more in veterinary care. Similarly, your insurance premiums will increase the more often your parrot needs vet assistance.
Toys are a further expense. Your parrot needs them for mental stimulation and cognitive sharpness. However, due to their beaks and claws, your African grey will likely destroy them.
The annual cost of keeping an African grey parrot could be as high as $3,200. While this is the worst-case scenario, African greys cost more than most other parrots. Here’s a breakdown of the costs:
- Pellets: $180 – $300
- Seeds: $120 – $180
- Fresh fruit and vegetables: $240 – $360
- Toys: $240 – $360
- Veterinary care: $100 – $250
- Emergency care: $300 – $1,200
- Vacation boarding: $150
- Insurance: $200 – $400
What To Look For When Buying An African Grey Parrot
Before you buy an African grey parrot, have some questions in mind. Look out for any behavioral problems that could indicate that it has had a traumatic experience as these are likely to stay with the parrot for the remainder of its life. Whether you purchase an African grey from a pet store or reputable breeder, ask the following questions:
- Is the parrot healthy? Ask the seller for a health background and written declaration
- Has the seller had any problems with the parrot? This could be the reason they’re selling it for cheap
- What’s the parrot’s age? Obtain proof of age, especially if you’re payiing a premium
- Does the seller have the appropriate paperwork? If not, find an alternative seller
To prevent issues, buy from a reputable seller who has a long history of breeding African greys. Similarly, make sure they have the correct CITES Article 10 certificates.
Ensure the African grey parrot has been appropriately bred and it’s not been snatched from the wild. If this happens, you’ll never tame the parrot.
While African greys are one of the most intelligent and sociable birds, it’s your responsibility to take care of them for life. They have long lifespans, so you’ll be paying out for their care for the majority of your life. To find out more, familiarize yourself with this complete African grey parrot care guide.