Buying An African Grey Parrot? (Read This Guide!!)

Buying an African grey parrot to keep as a pet can be very rewarding and entertaining. However, if it’s your first time purchasing or adopting an African grey, do your homework before getting the bird and paying for it. Sometimes pet shops can sell sick parrots and occasionally old ones, and you don’t want that as a potential owner. What you want is a healthy bird and accurate information about the bird you are about to buy or adopt.

And this article will give you all you need to know to have an African grey parrot that suits you just by looking at the bird itself when you are at the shop.

Buying An African Grey Parrot

How To Choose The African Grey To Buy & What To Avoid?

So, imagine you are entering the avian pet shop and asking the seller for an African grey to buy or adopt as your pet. The seller will of course show the bird if he has it in the shop. So, when you take the first look at the bird do not ask the seller about the sex of the bird or its age as such questions can make you appear as an amateur to the seller and that might encourage him to provide faulty information just to close the deal.

And to prevent this from happening to you, here are the steps you need to follow to make sure that you get the information you need about the bird you are looking at at the shop.

Look For Any Baldness

One of the most important signs you need to look for when buying or adopting an African grey is the healthy look of the bird. Finding any type of baldness on the body requires you to investigate more about the cause of it.

Sometimes baldness in African grey can be just a result of the molting process which is typical for them to go through at least once a year. Yet, molting can’t result in extreme baldness in the bird’s body, it is more like the feather will fall off one by one and keep the general look of the bird acceptable.

However, baldness in the chest, under the wings, and sometimes on the back can indicate a plucker bird, which is a bird that plucks its own feather out of stress and depression, and this case is common among African greys, especially older parrots. Besides that, this might also indicate a skin issue or a bad diet.

A Plucking African Grey

So, Observe the bird’s body to see how its feathers are doing, and to make sure, look online for healthy African grey pictures to compare when you are in the shop.

Check The Beak

The beak is crucial to Every bird, and a healthy beak is the only way for birds to eat and crack seeds and nuts. So, while watching the bird in its cage check the beak just by looking at it to see if there are any cracks on it. A cracked beak can be very troublesome for the birds and the owners as well.

Apart from the cracks, the healthy beak should be symmetrical, and smooth, closing, and opening correctly, and the upper and lower sides of it should be correctly aligned together.

The shininess of the beak is not a sign that you need to look for. And to test the beak, give the bird any type of strong nut and see how the bird will act on it.

Apart from that, check the bird’s nostrils and make sure they look clean and open as African grey parrots are prone to respiratory problems.

Focus In The Eyes

The eyes of the African grey can tell you a lot about the state of health of the bird. And what you need to find in the eyes is the wide-opening pupils and healthy coloring of the white and yellowish pupils’ edges. However, the more whiteness and yellowish in the eyes the older the parrot is. And if you find an African grey with completely black eyes, then this bird is probably younger than 5 months old, which is good in most cases.

As the young African Grey gets older the area surrounding its pupils will turn to be yellowish and some cases white. And this mostly happens by the age of 1 year.

If the bird’s eyes are sleepy and not able to fully open then this bird may be suffering from low levels of energy due to sickness or a bad diet.

Activeness And Movement Of The Bird

African grey parrots are known to be highly active, especially when they are tamed, and when you interact with the bird at the shop try to lure it from the side of the cage to the other side, upper side and lower side just to see how active the bird is. Try luring the parrot with any fruit and see how would it reacts to it.

If the bird is lazy and barely moving then you know this bird could be bad as a pet and might be hard to care for and seek medical treatment for it.

If the bird accepts the food then observe the way it eats it, if you see it holding the food with one leg and the other leg is used to stand then you know the bird is most likely healthy. Standing on one leg is a sign of a healthy African grey and this behavior is very common and it’s not only while eating.

Besides that, the way the African grey moves when you try to approach it will tell you if the bird is tamed to not. Of course the tamed parrot the better for the owner, especially the first-timers. However, it’s not a big problem if the bird is not tamed as long as it is healthy. Here’s how to tame a parrot.

Check The Legs

Checking the legs is not for checking for any sickness symptoms, but to know about the age of the bird. Some breeders will put a ring in one of the bird’s legs and the ring will show the date of hatching which is something important to know before buying any pet.

Ask For The Age And History

If the bird didn’t have the ring ask the seller for more information about the bird including its age. You also want to ask about how tamed the bird is, and if the bird is socialized enough with people. Ask the seller to serve a delicious treat to the bird to see how the bird will react. Scared birds will ignore the food, some brave birds will approach the food with caution, and some birds will go straight to the food with no hesitation, which is the best to see as it indicates to a tamed parrot.

Check Overall Health

Check the health of the parrot by looking at its feces and food bowl, and if the feces look normal just like any other bird and the food bowl is full of peels and husks of seeds and nuts then the bird is eating and finishing its meals. You can also ask the seller when was the last time its bowl was refilled with food as some shops might leave the bowl for days just to make it look like the bird is eating its adequate amounts of food.

Apart from that, you want also to check for any dirty feathers around the feces opening, and if everything looks decently clean then you probably just met a healthy African grey.

If you finally decided to buy or adopt the bird, you can ask the seller if it’s okay to take the bird to the nearest avian vet just to check everything for the last time. Don’t hesitate if the seller allowed this.

What Is The Best Age To Buy An African Grey Parrot

The answer to this question depends on how passionate the owner is about having and raising an African grey parrot. If the owner is ready to put some time and effort into training and taming the bird, then I think the younger the better. But if the owner is only wanting a bird who is ready to hang out and play with, then the older the better for him.

However, buying a young African grey can sometimes require the owner to feed the bird manually, especially if the bird is yet to be weaned in the future, and doing so can be very rewarding, rewarding more than buying older African grey, I am talking here about giving the bird a chance to fly outdoors and coming back when you call its name.

So, there is no perfect age for a pet African grey and it is actually for the owner to decide what he wants to deal with regarding the pet. But, if the owner decided to get a tamed older African grey he should realize that sometimes older parrots won’t be able to come back when they fly freely outdoors even with proper training. In fact, some older parrots have been living in a cage since day one of their lives and getting out of the cage only for taming without the chance to learn how to fly.

You can train older parrots to live cage-free and fly freely indoors but you have to make sure the bird is able to fly. So, before buying a tamed old parrot ask the seller to allow the bird to fly around with a leash.

Should The African Grey Pet Be Tamed

Sooner or later the pet African grey needs to get proper training and socializing to have a healthy life with the owner. Untamed African grey will most likely stay inside the cage all the time which is the worst thing to happen to a pet bird. The cage should only be a safe spot to sleep or relax.

And from the owner’s perspective what’s the point of having an aggressive pet African grey, he will only be wasting money for nothing. African grey parrots can be very rewarding and entertaining pets, but the only condition to achieve that is to have them tamed.

You can seek a professional taming service or you can tame the bird on your own which can save a lot of money but it could be very difficult and painful especially when the bird strikes with its beak. Here is How to tame your African grey.

What Could Affect The Price Of an African Grey

There are many factors that involve in deciding the price of an African grey parrot like the age, how trained is the bird, how talkative is the bird, how strong the bird is, and many different factors, besides that, the males and females with a history of successfully breeding in captivity tend to have higher prices.

However, expect to pay between 300-600$ for a healthy African grey.


In conclusion, buying an African grey is the first step toward having a very rewarding and entertaining pet in your home. And this step can go right and go wrong, so when you are at the shop make sure you get enough information about the bird in front of you especially the age of the bird. The younger the bird the easier to train and bond with. Apart from that, try always to have a couple of the same species just to prevent any mental problem that could happen to the bird when it’s alone.

And yup that’s about it, hope you found this article informative and easy to digest. Thank you for reading…