There are two species and one subspecies of gray parrots. The African gray parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is the largest, growing 13 inches tall and weighing 14.34 ounces. The red-tailed African gray parrot (Psittacus erithacus erithacus) also is known as the Congo African gray parrot. The third parrot, the timneh African gray parrot (Psittacus timneh), is the smallest of the gray parrots. All three have similar nesting habits.
Nesting in the Wild
African gray parrots are social birds, gathering in groups to roost and nest. Generally, there is only one mated pair or family group per tree. Like most parrot species, a pair of mated gray parrots nest in a hollow or cavity in a tree, enlarging the entrance hole and cavity if necessary with their large beaks. The eggs are laid inside the hollow, on top of the rotting wood and wood chips. While the female incubates the eggs, the male parrot brings her food until the fledglings hatch.
Gray Parrot Nests in Captivity
In captivity, gray parrots use wooden nesting boxes. Nesting boxes are usually either a vertical, rectangular box, 18-by-18-by-24 inches, or a similarly sized, L-shaped box, with the opening on the upper side of the box. The boxes are usually mounted high on the side of the cage, near the top, to replicate the height of a tree cavity. Some breeders place a thick layer of softwood chips or chunks inside to satisfy the parrots' urge to chew on the wooden box.
With degrees in fine and commercial art and Spanish, Ruth de Jauregui is an old-school graphic artist, book designer and published author. De Jauregui authored 50 Fabulous Tomatoes for Your Garden, available as an ebook. She enthusiastically pursues creative and community interests, including gardening, home improvement and social issues.