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My African Grey screams, what should I do?


Staff member
Grey are quieter than many other parrots but they can still be loud if they want to and a certain amount of vocalisation is normal. This can be in the form of whistling or various other noises. In the wild they spend a lot of time calling to each other and in captivity they will communicate with you in the same way, especially if they can’t see you. If your Grey calls for you when you leave the room, talk back to it, reassure it and explain what you are doing. A talking Grey may even actually ask you what you are doing – and expect a reply.

Greys can also growl, a wild Grey will sound very harsh but even tame Greys can growl if they are afraid or nervous of something or someone. This can be loud and harsh or it might be more of an “under the breath” crackling sound.

Greys will sometimes make more noise in order to compete with something else – the TV for example, they are often noisier when there is other noise and quiet when it is quiet. They just like to join in and contribute.

It isn’t a natural thing for a Grey to be alone; if a Grey is feeling lonely it may start to make a lot of noise to get your attention. In this case it is better to try and provide more time and stimulation for your bird. Greys need company and plenty of toys to prevent them from getting bored and frustrated. Get a portable stand so that your Grey can be where you are in the house. Don’t spend a lot of time with your Grey when it first arrives and then suddenly stop as this will bewilder the bird. Try to get into a routine so that your Grey knows there will be times it has to be on its own. You can use the TV or radio when you are out.

If after all this your Grey is still screaming and it is becoming a habit, the best thing to do is to ignore it for a while, possibly even cover the cage for a short time. This isn’t to punish the bird but to make it understand that screaming doesn’t get attention. If you shout back or go to the bird you will reinforce the behaviour. Plenty of attention and praise should be given otherwise.

If you find this thread/post informative, feel free to share it with your family or friends as it might be helpful to them.

Stay safe!