African grey parrots are much sought after due to their high intellect, loyalty, and sociable nature. So, you may wonder, 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 easier to source in the pet industry.
Owning an African grey parrot requires an experienced owner with time to keep them enriched and entertained. If not, you’ll need to buy a second African grey to keep them 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. 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 breeders won’t use diseased birds.
- Gender. Females lay eggs, which makes them more desirable.
- Breeder. Reputable breeders command a higher price.
- Sub-species. Timneh African greys are less common.
There are also ongoing care costs to consider, such as:
- 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 expensive, so consider whether you can afford the annual costs before buying one. The last thing you want is to put up your African grey for adoption once you’ve bonded.
Average Price of African Grey Parrots
As described by VCA Hospitals, there are two types of African grey parrots: the Congo and the timneh. Both originate from Africa but in different regions.
Timneh African greys are slightly smaller than their Congo cousins, reaching 13 to 15 inches compared to the Congo’s 14 to 16 inches. 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|
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 because African greys were added to the CITES Appendix 1 list, making them endangered. 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 give away your parrot because no money is allowed to change hands.
Would-be owners must ask the seller to see the certificate before paying. Otherwise, you could get into trouble with the authorities. Licenses cost around $500, which is passed on to the buyer.
According to the International Journal of Avian Science, African grey parrots have undergone a population decline. The two leading causes 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, which is one reason 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. So, they’ve made African greys popular with people wanting a clever talking bird, increasing the demand.
How Much Does An African Grey Cage Cost?
African greys are medium-sized birds that need space to move about. This prevents them from getting stressed and claustrophobic.
As a result, they need a 3 feet wide, 4 feet tall, and 2 feet deep cage. 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.
Due to these specialized requirements, the average African grey cage price ranges from $400 to $600.
However, the best quality cages go for $1,000. Premium cages are also a better choice because African grey parrots are intelligent enough to break out of them, so you’ll need a strong and sturdy choice.
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 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?
Depending on size and appetite, African grey food prices range between $45 to $70 per month. Parrots need the following foods in their diet:
- Pellets should comprise around 75% of a parrot’s diet.
- Fruits and vegetables should make up the remaining 20-25%.
You can save on food costs by sharing fruit and vegetable scraps 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 cost $30 to $75, and they’re much cheaper than fully grown birds because there’s a chance they won’t hatch.
However, buying African grey eggs is a controversial practice. In many countries, it’s illegal because:
- There’s a higher likelihood that the egg won’t hatch.
- The chances of premature death are higher.
- You need to buy specialized incubation equipment.
Only the most experienced owners should attempt to incubate and hatch an African grey parrot.
What’s The Annual Cost Of Owning An African Grey Parrot?
The annual cost of owning an African grey varies, as sick parrots with poor genetics cost more in vet care. Similarly, insurance premiums will increase the more often a parrot needs vet assistance.
Toys are a further expense, as parrots need 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 up to $3,200, but it’ll likely cost less as this is the worst-case scenario. 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
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 buy an African grey from a pet store or a reputable 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 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 paying a premium.
- Does the seller have the right paperwork? If not, find an alternative seller.
To prevent issues, buy from a reputable seller with a long history of breeding African greys. Similarly, ensure 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 for their care for most of your life.
To learn more, familiarize yourself with this complete African grey parrot care guide.