Category Archives: African Grey Parrot



The African Grey Parrot is one of the most intelligent birds in the bird world, they place along side the Dolphin and Gorilla.

They live for 40-70 years in captivity. They have many homes in their lifetime, though passing of there mate, or just because the person didn’t do the research to understand their needs and commitment. Or just life changes dictated there life.

If you are looking for a total companion then the CAG as we call them are the full package. The can communicate with a human, understanding your moods, feelings. Bella is part of our flock from a baby she looked to us for guidance and love attention.

The interactive enjoyment we get from her is priceless she understands what we talk about never missing a trick, listens in and responds to what we talk about.

Clever is an understatement for her, 2yrs and 5 months her knowledge of words is fenominal. I make a record of what she says and to date we are on 280 sentence or Rymm’s. She will call me if I leave the room or go outside and I respond to her by calling back.

She has to be doing what I do watching me make her toys or making her tea, she sits and watches me. Taking in everything, eyes dilating from small to large. There a sign of the Greys concentration. Her feathers are another indication of her mood, she will open then slightly when concentrating and puff them up when she is not happy

Bella understands breakfast dinner and tea time, saying what she wants from Pasta rice, Omelette with Sweetcorn. She will name all the different vegetables sha eats.

We have not seen the children for weeks then yesterday we had my daughter and her 2 boys then my mate with his daughter. Bella started to say are the where are the children, are the children coming. She picks up on everything we discuss through the day laughing if I laugh or answer my wife.

She sings Pop goes the weasel and waites for me to go Pop, or if I sing it she will pop at the end. Her knowledge of the difference between birds is fantastic. She will call like a Starling then I will say call like a small bird and she will do the sweetest smallest whistle like a baby sparrow.


The feathers give me an indication of what mood she is in, so knowledge of the Grey is so important if you are to understand them. They molt and have moods as the hormones rocket through the roof.

Having photographed birds and observed their behaviour in the wild means a lot what Bella does or is about to do is much the same as any bird would do.

Caring for Bella means dedication, the joy any pet gives is priceless to the owner. The cage is cleaned 3 times a day, we boil water left to cool for her to drink as even tap water contains unwanted chemicals.

Her perches are changed round to give her feet and toes different surfaces to grip onto. Toys are changed weekly, I make new toys for her every week to stimulate her brain. She has a free time when she flys round our living room, and sits and talks, that’s what she loves to do.

Other Grey parrots do tricks for rewards but I don’t believe she should have to perform for a treat, Bella responds to my voice and gets praised which she loves. She will sit on my shoulder when she wants me to talk to her or, when she is trying to tell me something like she wants a drink of water.

Bella has 8000 feathers.

Bella needs 12 hours sleep to be in good moods and health, this means she is so content and happy all the time, we do leave her with the radio on or TV just for company.

My lovey wife Ruth loves her and do so much to help maintain her daily lifestyle, making her fresh salad or cleaning her cage, putting her to bed by covering her up for the night.

Ruth will talk to her and sing to her play with her or make her toys to chew. Having Ruth to help me is so important in Bella’s life and means we both play our part, she is our flock and will eat when we eat.

I am sure she will play a big part in my Blog as she learns new things and gives us daily endless enjoyment.

African Grey Parrot

My dad said to me while i held a baby budgie Son when you grow up there is only one bird to have and Congo African Grey Parrot they are the best talkers, most intelligent emotional sensitive bird there is. Most experiments with birds are conducted using the CAG the term used for the parrot.

The CAG is the most abandoned bird, left or given away because people don’t realise how long they live and how much attention they need, the interaction they thrive on and the company they need. The time you give anything will reward in so much pleasure for the bird and you. But sadly the human race thinks that because someone else has got one, a dog, cat bird, Mouse, Rat, Snake, Monkey and many more that people have bought more of a novelty item for there friends to admire or laugh at.

The Human need comes first the the animal that doesn’t have a choice in it is second.

With 8000 feathers Black Grey Red and White, living up to 70 years of age they are so clever my Bella our ACG has amazed me of how intelligent they are. I really thought i had heard the best talkers in my 63 years, but our Bella at 29 months is a Gem. I will explain later in this article of how clever she is. But more about how my boyhood dream came to be.

Back in 2017 i went with my wife Ruth to stay with our mate Sarah who lived on the Isle of Mull. On arrival we were met by Sarah and then Bertie her African Grey Parrot, he was 17 then and what a character. Sarah went to work next morning and when she had gone the phone rang, Ruth went done 3 times to it but there was no one there. When Sarah came in she told us it was Bertie doing the phone. We stayed for a week and i kept looking at Bertie and looking in admiration at him.

Over the next year and another visit we came back and i started my research into everything about the CAG and when we ere happy that we could give a demanding pet a great life started looking for breeders. I found a breeder and after speaking with him asking him all the important information we arrange for a visit breeder and his wife were well known with 35 years breeding and known for his work rearing parrots.

They brought our 10 week old baby CAG in and we held it for the first time.

Ruth with Bella for the first time.

We collected Bella 2 weeks later, and after brought her back to our static van in the country. The most important part of any life is the beginning and the CAG is no different. So i introduced Bella to all aspects of life from children visiting, pets noises, journeys in the cars and most things in daily life. Bella was very relaxed and settled in. Coming out of the cage 3 times a day. Her diet is amazing from every green veg you can buy, fruit a special Avarian Seed and loves everything from Cheese, toast, pasta, rice and anything she can share with me.

There a Flock bird so from seeing us she quickly knows that Ruth and me are her flock. We were told that when we sit down for tea Bella would eat hers, it happened first night we sat down she started to eat hers.

With me doing wood carving i looked in to safe wood and found that Rowan and Silver Birch were safe for CAG as perches and toys. This was great and i made her a lovely stand for her to sit on out of Silver Birch.

Over the next year Bella settled in well, she got used to her new surroundings and seem to bond with me a little bit more than Ruth. But overtime has become just as fond as Ruth. She started her first whistle about 4-month old. They start to say their first words about 12 months old. And the week before her first birthday Bella said her first words. We couldn’t believe it 7 days before 4th was supposed to talk she did

The day she spoke I started to write down in a book all the words better had said on a Sunday we would start new set of words or phrases or rhymes. It became apparent to me the after about 5-days Bella would start to put together the words or the sentences. And from a year old up to Christmas she had said or put together 135 different sentences.

The family were amazed when started to tell Bella all the family names children and adults and after about 2 weeks she could say all the words of all the children and all the grandchildren. What people don’t realise about the African grey is there ability to not only take off the person but speak in their tone and their accent. When people her Bella for the first time they say she just sounds like me.

Bella makes us laugh everyday putting sentences together even laughing when we laugh answering to when we ask her a question. In the morning Ruth will say what do you want for breakfast Bella, and she replays Beans, sprouts, sweetcorn, pasta rice. .

Bella peeping looking what I am doing in the kitchen.

I have come across parrots in my time budgies mynah birds. But I have never heard a bird talk like Bella. Not just the talking but how alert she is if I leave the room around bedtime and go in the bedroom I just hear you going to bed dad.

Bella is now on 250 different phrases.

The Story will continue.

Our African Grey Parrot Bella

When I was a boy my dad had budgies and finches and let me help hand rear the young.

He always told me a tale about an African Grey Parrot.

He said to me, “Son if you ever get a parrot get an African Grey, they’re the best”.

Well, 6o years later, and after a lot of research, we collected our 12 week old Grey in July 2018.

She was born 17th April, and on the way to see her for the first time we came up with her name – Bella Blackburn.

Our first meeting with Bella

We had a lovely drive back to our static van in North Yorkshire, and Bella settled in really well.

With love, care and monitoring, we slowly introduced her to our family and pets, taking her on holiday for a week and giving her plenty of attention.


The Grey have black eyes from when they’re born until about six months when they change to cream outer and a black pupil.

The breeder told me when I collected her that I had a good talker – it is not true that they all talk for Britain.

People have asked the difference between the male and the female and whether one talks more than the other.

Both sexes talk but the only way you can prove the sex is to have a DNA test done. I looked into it but it meant plucking feathers out of her stomach that had blood on so they could test it properly. I was not prepared to put Bella through that ordeal, so to me and Ruth she is Bella.


They say that the Grey will start to speak at 12 months old, but some start earlier. The reason for this is the vocal cord in her neck has to form.

It was a shock when she said her first word four days before her 1st birthday.

From that day, I started a book to record what she said.

Between April 2018 to January 2019 she spoke 135 separate sentences, nursery songs, whistles and noises.

Beautiful Bella in full prime

They have their first molting around 12 months, but Bella was late and it lasted about four months.

Molting is a very special time.

The feathers fall out all the time, and when it comes to the flight feathers they lose one either side each day so that they can still fly.

They also can mimic any animal and it is believed they are that clever they can ward off a potential threat by doing the sound of a predator.

They are a flock bird so when Bella came to us we became her flock.

The first week we had her we were getting ready for our tea. Bella was sitting on her perch when Ruth passed me my tea, and as Ruth sat down Bella climbed down from her perch and started to eat hers too, just as it had said she would in my research.

On Sunday of each week I would get her book out with her words in and start new ones for that week. For a sentence or song of about six to eight words, it would take her about five days to say the first part then she would join it together and a day later would say the whole thing perfectly.

Today she is on 230-ish different phrases, sentences or rhymes. SHe can mimic animals from an owl, cat, dog, and a bee – she will do them all one after each other. When Ruth says “What do you want for tea?” Bella replies “Omelette, pasta, sweetcorn, peas, cabbage, beans, and pea pods” plus more.

She is still a baby so what she will be like in a few years I can only wonder.