We have one African grey parrot, Minnow, born in 1995. He came here to the Zoo in 1998. African greys are well known for their ability to mimic sounds and words, and Minnow is no exception. He has been delighting Zoo visitors with his talent and vocabulary as one of the stars of the Zoo’s summer Stage Show and an animal ambassador with our Wegmans ZooMobile. Minnow is quite the personality and a big favorite with Zoo staff — he has even learned to mimic some of their voices.
The African grey is not considered endangered, but is considered threatened by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). Unfortunately, the African grey parrot has become popular in the pet trade due to its attractive colors and unbelievable talent to mimic sounds and words. It is in the top three most commonly traded birds. Due to such a large demand, baby greys are stolen from the wild to supply the demand. The U.S. Wild Bird Act forbids the commercial import of any bird listed by CITES which includes most parrots — endangered or threatened.
The Congo African grey is found in Equatorial Africa, ranging from Angola to The Ivory Coast, inland from Kenya to Tanzania. It inhabits rainforests, cultivated land, mangroves, wooded savannas and gardens.
The diet of the African grey parrot consists of the fruits, seeds, nuts and berries of several native rainforest species, including the flesh of oil-palm trees. Its powerful bill can crush most seeds and nuts.