African Grey Parrots are known for their charming personality and high intelligence. However, like other exotic birds, African Grey Parrots can be expensive initially to purchase and maintain, not to mention they can outlive you. With the different types of Grey, finding the price can be challenging, so I thought I’d put this guide together for you.
The price of African grey parrots can range from around $500 to $4,000 or more. With that in mind, the exact cost can vary depending on several factors, including breed variation, who the breeder is, local market rates, and more.
Also, the expenses will continue in purchasing your parrot. I’ve kept Greys for years, so I thought you should know what to expect so that you’ll be prepared financially.
How Much Does An African Grey Parrot Cost?
The Congo African Grey Parrot is the largest of the African gray birds. On the other hand, the Timneh African gray parrot has a lighter shade of gray in its feathers.
Although both birds have similar features, such as white masks over their eyes, their price difference is significant. For instance, the Timneh parrot is a more expensive subspecies of the Congo parrot.
African gray chicks are a popular choice for pet owners. Eggs from this species can cost around $30 to $100, although no legitimate breeder will ever sell you one. After all, you’d need a professional incubator to ensure egg survival. You might as well be buying a chicken egg from the grocery store if you know how to candle the egg.
Eggs require much specialized conditional care and have a low survival rate, so it’s best not to get an egg but to get a hand-reared youngling. Most North American and Europe breeders won’t sell anything too young; they want to ensure healthy birds.
Initial Startup Cost
African Greys aren’t small birds; they need a decent-sized cage. You’re looking at somewhere between $150 to $600 or so, post-pandemic pricing taken into consideration.
For your feathered friend’s cage, you will also need to buy other things, like toys, stainless steel bowls, and permits and licenses. Importing permission is required for the parrot if you want to bring it into the US.
For toys, bowls, and such items, I would budget about $150 to get started and then put $20/month aside for new toys, perches, and things to keep them entertained.
I recommend getting a Grey from a breeder in the country – there are plenty of breeders around. That way, you won’t have to deal with the headaches of importing. You can look at costs upwards of $250 or more, depending on the import logistics.
Before you buy a pet, make sure that the shop or breeders you choose have a good reputation. Illegal trade in parrots is one reason the number of wild parrots is decreasing. Also, having a healthy and social parrot is much more likely from a breeder who hand-rears the young.
Aside from regular vet care, it would be best if you also consider other expenses, like food and treats – about $60/month with cover things.
Factors Affecting The African Grey Parrots Price
As I mentioned, several factors affect the price of a Grey. Here are the most common considerations you will need to know about.
One of the essential factors that can affect the value of an African grey parrot is its age. Since they are relatively rare and live long, older birds are often less expensive than their young counterparts.
Older birds can still be expensive, especially if friendly and well-trained. But older birds will have more difficulty adapting to new environments, so I recommend getting a young one.
While most African greys have red tail feathers, the rarer ones with silver ones are more valuable than their regular counterparts. These birds are also more valuable than their grey-plumed counterparts. The moral here is that their color and markings play a rather significant role in affecting their price.
Because of its scarcity, the Timneh African grey is more expensive than the Congo African grey. These birds originated from Western Africa. Due to their endangered status, they are considered a threatened species. Never buy an endangered Grey that’s wild-caught; we can stop the illegal poaching if we all stop making it worth taking them from their homes. Stick with bred-in-captivity only.
An African grey parrot’s genetics are also crucial in determining its value. If its pedigree is strong, it will be more expensive. On the other hand, birds with no markings and purebreds of a specific variant are typically the most costly.
Depending on the reputation of the African grey parrot’s breeders, its price might vary. If you’re looking for a great African Grey Parrot, you’ll need to find one from a reputable breeder. Although the prices are higher at the best breeders, they usually provide free shipping and toys with the bird, which is a minor bonus. The more considerable benefit is peace of mind.
Other Expenses For African Grey Parrot
Consider the following factors for a more accurate cost-of-care estimate for your African Grey parrot.
Food And Treats
After your African Grey has turned into an adult, you will need to start providing them with proper food. It is one of the crucial steps in ensuring they will live a long and healthy life. You can expect to spend around $50-60 per month on food. I make a lot of food for my birds to ensure quality, which works out a bit cheaper than commercially prepared foods.
Most experts recommend keeping African grey parrots inside a cage with a cover at night. I don’t disagree that a cover over the cage at night will help keep them in a darker enclosed environment. However, if you don’t want your cage cover torn to shreds, don’t use it. My greys never had a cage cover. I put their cage in a room with a light controlled by a timer. They will shred any cover you try to put on the cage.
Cage Liners, Bedding, Litter
The best thing to do for you, Greys, is merely to use some newspaper in the tray under the cage. Once a week, take the parrot out and clean the cage – those bars on the bottom will get gross really fast, so it’s critical to clean weekly at a minimum.
There is no bedding or litter needed for a parrot save to catch their droppings. The parrot will thoroughly destroy anything you put in the cage, so I don’t recommend having anything other than their toys in the cage properly. Again, just ensure you have a cage with a removable undertray and use newspaper (out of reach of inquisitive beaks and feet).
Perches And Ladders
African greys need the best care possible, which means they need a good home with ladders and places to stand and climb. The prices for sturdy ladders and ledges can range from around $15 to $80 for the more deluxe pet store models. Realistically, you’re going to look at about $20/month for new perches.
Since African greys are seed eaters, they require mineral supplements to get the necessary nutrients. You can spend around $10 to $30 for a small amount of these vitamins and minerals. Monthly, you might need a bit of cuttlebone or something to get them calcium. Just talk to your veterinarian first about resolving their diet.
Food And Water Bowls
The food for African Grey Parrots is one of the most obvious expenses. Their monthly grocery bill is around $45 to $70. It is similar to the cost of feeding a dog or cat.
Make sure you have food and water for your African grey parrot. You can spend up to $40 on a good set of stainless dishes, but they will destroy plastic, so it’s worth it.
African greys are very large birds requiring a large, high-quality cage. A typical cage for this species will cost anywhere from $150 to $1000. It depends on the cage’s size, shape, brand, availability, and quality. I usually spend about $350 on a cage; at least, that’s what I spent on my last cage for an African Grey.
You may spend as little as $35 and as much as $70 on a good quality cage stand for your African grey parrot. I don’t recommend putting their cage on top of or beside any furniture you really like. Parrots are a bit messy, after all.
Hideaway or Nestbox
If you’re breeding Greys, you’ll need a decent-sized nestbox. I’ve always built my own out of wood because I can never find a good one for sale. Expect to pay about $20 for wood, latch, and hinges for an access door. You can get away with building a 12″ x 12″ x 12″ box. Cut a hole and mount it to the cage, so your parrot can enter or exit the box at their leisure.
A bird carrier is a good investment if you have an African grey and are planning on traveling with it. Depending on the brand, it can cost around $30 to $115. I recommend using a hard-shell carrier. Don’t use any of those soft carriers – your parrot will destroy them.
African greys are prone to boredom and separation anxiety if they don’t have anything to do. Remember, they are highly intelligent. It would be best if you gave them different toys, such as swings and mirrors, to keep them busy. These can be purchased for around $25 to $150. Rope toys work great too.
You can expect to spend around $20 to $40 for the necessary equipment to groom an African grey parrot. All you’ll need to worry about is cutting their claws. Make sure you have a vet show you how first, so you don’t cut too deep and hurt the bird. Like a dog’s nails, Greys have a blood vein and nerves that go into the nail, so if you cut it too short, it will hurt the parrot and can bleed like crazy. They are not fun to deal with, so have your vet show you how to cut them properly.
I don’t care who says what; African Greys are messy. They can whip food out of their beaks (and they do), and they will play with their food too. Oh, and generally speaking, parrots don’t care where they defecate. So yeah, you’re going to be doing a lot of cleaning up.
The following is a list of things you might have to pay for as a parent of an African grey parrot:
- If your African grey parrot requires urgent medical attention, you may need to spend significant money on its treatment. Thus, it’s recommended that you set aside around $300 to $2,000. I like to keep an emergency veterinary fund of $2500 for my birds. That way, I’ve got things taken care of if there’s an emergency.
- Consider hiring a bird sitter if you leave your African Grey at home while working. Depending on your location, this service can be as low as $10 to $20 per day.
- While traveling, some people board their African greys at a boarding facility. Thus, it may cost around $20 to $50 a day, depending. There are only a few boarders around for exotics like parrots, though, so you might be out of luck and need to train a friend or family member.
It’s essential to note that parrots like the African Grey have a longer lifespan than other birds. These animals require a long-term commitment, and they can be expensive annually. Having a parrot is not for the faint of heart.
Although it’s tempting to cut back on some of your expenses when caring for your pet, it’s also important to remember that you should still provide the best possible care for the bird.
Saving Money on African Grey Parrot Care
Even though reducing the monthly cost of caring for an African grey parrot is not feasible, you can still find it at a lower price if you’re serious about searching for bargains.
One of the most significant examples of this is food costs. You can save a ton by preparing their food yourself instead of buying commercial products.
You can also save money on toys and things if you spend more time with your bird. Interaction is the best way to keep them entertained, but it’s a sacrifice of your time instead of money.
African Grey Price Study – USA
I wanted to dive a bit deeper into the prices you will see in the US these days, post-pandemic. I found a typical breeder online, and here’s what they are selling:
A hand-fed, weaned, vaccinated, and DNA-sexed African Grey that is ten months old is selling in the USA for $1200. This price includes a hatch certificate, CITES article 10 paperwork, microchip, negative PBFD, and Psittacosis tests. They come with a travel cage, food pack, and toy pack. I found these at Mikabirdsfarm.com, an online bird dealer.
Are African Greys Good Pets?
I love African Greys. But, they are NOT good pets for most people. They are incredible, brilliant, and gorgeous – and they live longer. It is not a pet for a passing fancy. And it is not a pet for a child. Due to these facts, I must conclude that African Greys are not suitable pets for most would-be pet owners. Most people lack the discipline to maintain the years of care these parrots need and deserve.
What You Need To Know About CITES and The African Grey Parrot Before Buying
I cannot stress this part enough – African Grey parrots are listed under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora). If the seller does not provide the legally required CITES documentation, they sell the parrot illegally.
In 1963 the World Conservation Union drafted CITES as a resolution. However, it came into recognized force in 1975, when finally it was agreed to by 80 countries from around the world, the US included.
4 Other Less Expensive Talkers
Parakeets – You might not know this, but Parakeets are pretty good little talking mimics. They can cost a lot less than an African Grey too. Common Parakeets live for about 15 years, and Budgerigar for up to 9 years, but 5-8 is more common. Similarly, you can buy one of these parrots for under $100, so it won’t break the bank. I recommend starting with a Budgie or Parakeet and seeing if you’re first cut out for the more giant parrots.
Quaker Parrot – One of the cutest green parrots, in my opinion, is the Quaker. These are great little talkers too. Most of the time, you can find them for under $500, and they live between 20 and 30 years, making them less of a lifelong journey than an African Grey who might outlive you.
Senegal Parrot – When it comes to talking, Senegals are more like Parakeets than African Greys. That is to say, Senegals are primarily mimickers, so they copy what they hear and try to repeat it.
Senegals live for about 30 years, and it costs between $200 and $500 to buy young. Because they are smaller than African Greys, they are cheaper in terms of food expenses. Similarly, you may not need as large a cage for a Senegal, so again it comes in more inexpensive than a Grey.
Conures – Conures are one of my favorite little parrots. I love their personalities and their vivid colors. However, they could be better talkers around. Still, it isn’t unheard of to train a Conure to say a few choice words.
Conures live a similar lifespan to Senegals, typically between 20 and 30 years. Their initial price can rival that of an African Grey, being between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars. Color variants are a hefty price changer for Conures, but if you are okay with color markings, you could get a superb little parrot much cheaper than a Grey.
An African Grey Parrot can be pretty expensive at first. Its price may exceed $4,000, and additional one-time expenses can add up quickly. An African Grey parrot can be reasonably priced to look after monthly, and its caretakers can expect to pay about $100/per month.
Although the numbers shown here are only approximations, the cost of an African grey parrot will vary depending on various factors such as type (Timneh or Congo). It is the reason why it is essential to note that the prices shown are only estimates.
Due to the incredible intelligence of these parrots, you can expect a higher-than-expected amount each month for new toys and things to keep their sharp brains focused. Similarly, it would be best if you considered that they could live upwards of 80 years in captivity. Yeah, you read that right. Be prepared – they are a lifelong commitment.
- Cosgrove, Nicole. “How Much Does An African Grey Parrot Cost?” Pet Keen. July 26, 2022. https://petkeen.com/african-grey-parrot-cost/
- Mika Bird Farm, “African Grey Parrots For Sale”, https://mikabirdsfarm.com/product/african-grey-parrot/
- “What is CITES?”, Cites.org, https://cites.org/eng/disc/what.php
- “Parrots on the CITES list” Omlet.us, https://www.omlet.us/guide/parrots/choosing_a_parrot/cites_list/#:~:text=The%20African%20Grey%20is%20one,pet%20trade%20are%20listed%20below.