Can African Grey Parrots Live Alone? (What You Should Know)

Having an African grey parrot as a pet can be very rewarding for owners, but sometimes it can be tricky to provide care for the bird and this can lead the bird to develop destructive behaviors like aggression, screaming, and plucking. And one of the things every pet African grey should get is social interaction.

But, Can African Grey Parrots Live Alone?

African greys are highly social parrots, yet, owners can raise African greys as lone pets only if they can provide them with enough attention and social interaction. Not doing so can lead the bird to develop destructive behaviors like aggression, screaming, and plucking.

So, the answer could be no if the owners are neglecting his bird for whatever reason, and in most cases, owners do this because they don’t realize the need for this activity for their greys. And in this article, we will dive into everything about how to raise lone African grey and provide the essential requirement regarding social interaction.

African grey parrot picking on wallet

Importance For Social Interaction For Pet African Greys

African greys, just like many other parrot breeds, are innate to social interaction and in their wild habitat, they live normally in flocks that comprise many members, and it’s common for wild flocks to care for and feed the new hatchlings. So, depriving a pet African grey of social interaction can disrupt their mental well-being and could escalate to cause serious health problems, especially if the bird is refusing the food.

All of this demand for social interaction is because of the mental stimulation this activity provides for pet greys. Such stimulation is hard for the bird itself to get when it’s alone in the cage. And by taking a look at a cat or a dog, both pets can stimulate themselves even if they were alone, which is not the case with African greys and other parrots.

What Will Happen To Lonely Pet African Grey?

Lonely and neglected African grey can develop many destructive disorders and behavior like refusing food, aggression, screaming, picking on furniture, feather plucking, trying to fly away, and many more. The more neglection the bird gets, the more these bad behaviors will happen, and sometimes African greys can forget that they were tamed once and they will act just like a wild one.

How To Raise Lonely African Grey?

Owners should understand this instinct in African greys before they get them for their ability to talk and mimic sounds. And this is the number one condition before getting a parrot or any other pet.

Owners also should have a schedule of a routine for the interaction with their greys, and this is the hard part of raising a lone African grey because they actually require hours of daily interaction. For families, this can be easy if the member is a bit experienced in dealing with an African grey, but the problem gets worse if the owner himself is living alone.

In the second scenario, the bird will find himself alone most of the day, which can be enough to make him feel crazy and unwanted. So, having a cage mate of the opposite sex can make it easier for African greys to spend more time inside their cage.

Yet, this won’t be enough. They are still just a couple of birds living alone inside a cage, so they will need the interaction with their owner, yet it won’t be for as long hours as it would be with a lonely bird.

Training for new tricks, serving new treats, and learning unfamiliar words are all different ways of social interaction, which is the funniest thing parrots like to do, and owners should provide that.

Here are a few ideas to socialize with your African grey as the day goes:

  • Respecting and interacting with him as an equal member of your family.  
  • Including your bird in routine activities like cooking, laundry, etc.
  • Sharing meal time, which is flock behavior.
  • Establishing fun rituals like interactive games, songs, greetings, and goodbyes.
  • Responding to your grey’s sounds and moves to reassure he is not alone.

Do African Grey Parrots Need A Lot Of Attention?

Yes, African greys are highly demanding regarding attention and social interaction and this makes them one of the bad choices for beginners who lack the knowledge and experience.

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Not to mention their sensitivity for any nutrient deficiency, which can lead to the same symptoms mentioned earlier, even if there was plenty of social interaction.

Can African Grey Parrots Be Left Alone?

Yes, but the period should not be longer than 6-8 hours daily (Best-case scenario), while the rest of the day there must have a presence of an owner or any other cage mate, and ignoring this can lead to serious behavioral problems.

However, some African greys won’t even stand the idea of staying alone and they will express this feeling by screaming and making very loud noises to get care and attention from the owners, especially when they are young, yes African greys are just kids and will scream for attention.

I remember when I had a young African grey who was living alone in his cage, and I used to leave him for a long time thinking that putting a couple of budgies in their cage next to him will make him feel happy and entertained.

The surprise is that the African grey got close to the budgie’s cage and pushed into it the floor, which caused the cage to open, and the budgies just flew away and never came back.

This actually surprised me because I left my African grey alone for the night and came back in the middle of noon, which made me realize how important is to entertain and interact with pet African greys.

Do African Grey Parrots Need a Companion?

No, not exactly. African grey pets could live happily if the owner is present in a way that the bird won’t feel lonely and neglected. But if the owner, for example, is absent all day for a job and the African grey is left alone, then the cage mate can partly help in spending more time without the presence of the owner.

And in my opinion, having a mate from the opposite sex for parrots or any other pet is important to provide a healthy life.


In conclusion, African greys can make very rewarding pets if they got what they need of care and social interaction. And in most cases, this is really hard to provide, especially if the owner himself is living alone with no other family members. Knowledge and experience are really important to raise alone and happy African Grey.

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