Timneh vs Congo African Grey - Key Differences Between These Parrots (Personality, Lifespan & More)

African Greys are often viewed as one of the most intelligent species of parrots in the world. With minimal training, owners can teach them a wide variety of words and phrases.

It's little-known fact, however, that there actually two different subspecies of African Greys: the Congo African grey (Psittacus erithacus erithacus) and Timneh African grey (Psittacus erithacus timneh).

Although they share some similarities, the Congo and Timneh African Grey are two different subspecies with their own unique characteristics.

If you're thinking about adopting an African grey, you should familiarize yourself with the differences between the Congo and Timneh. Congos have long been a favorite among seasoned bird handlers and lovers; however, the more docile nature of the Timneh parrot makes them a preferred choice among first-time parrot owners and families.

It's important to note that each and every parrot will possess its own unique personality, which you'll need to take into account before investing in their African Grey parrot cage. Don't assume that all Congo or Timneh parrots will exhibit the same behavior, because this simply isn't true. Parrots develop their own characteristics as they grow and develop.

The Congo African Grey can be found in Kenya, Tanzania and Southeastern Ivory Coast. They are also generally more abundant as household pets in contrary to the Timneh African Greys.

Congo African Greys are slightly taller than the Timneh African Grey with a beak-to-tail length of 13 to 16 inches and also possessing a solid black beak. With an average lifespan of 40 to 50 years, they possess a high level of energy and are more highly intelligent with a fun-loving personality. Congo African Greys are heavier than that of the Timneh African grey, with an average adult weight of 400 to 500 grams. Feather wise, they possess a bright fiery red to orange tail color, making them known as the “Red-tailed Grey”.

Generally, Congo African Greys start to utter one to two words at six months but they fully develop stringing words and chatter until after their first birthday.

However, Congo African Greys are known to be the more talented one as they do not only imitate words but they also have the capability imitate voices. They are also known to decide when to change their human bonds, making it a little heartbreaking for caregivers who have grown to love their Congo African Greys.

The Timneh African Grey:

The Timneh African Grey can be found through Southern Guinea and on the western edge of the Ivory Coast along the smaller regions. These kinds of African Greys tend to be more relaxed and generally can start putting words together even at a younger age. They can start uttering words as early as approximately six months, also six months sooner compared to Congo African Greys, with no variety in its voice.

Timneh African Greys have an average lifespan of 40 to 50 years and also possess a highly intelligent and fun-loving personality, same as that of the Congo African Grey. However, they are more docile with an easy-going nature.

Timneh African Greys weigh slightly less at only 275 to 375 grams. They also have a slightly darker beak than its counterpart, the Congo African Grey, with a horn colored upper beak and smoky colored bottom beak.

Feather wise, a Timneh African Grey possesses darker, maroon-colored tail feathers. Baby Timneh African Greys colors can be dark gray with no hint of maroon but they are typically maroon-brown.

These subspecies are known to be more laid back and are less prone to pluck or become phobic in comparison to Congo African Greys. Timneh African Greys are also capable of adding multiple human bonds during its development even at various times.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there are subtle nuances between the Congo and Timneh African grey, including their size, coloring and disposition. However, these differences are minor at best and won't play a significant role in their overall behavior.

When choosing a parrot species to adopt, consider their needs and whether or not your home is a suitable fit. We've discussed in a previous article how to transition your parrot to a new cage or a new home.

African greys -- both the Congo and Timneh -- are intelligent, fun-loving animals that crave their owner's attention. Make sure you are willing to invest both your time and energy into providing a healthy, stimulating environment for your parrot.

Far too many individuals make the hasty decision to adopt a parrot without taking into account the unique needs of the respective species and how long their parrot can live.

Do you prefer the Congo or Timneh African grey? Let us know in the comments section below!

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →


  • I enjoyed learning about your timneh greys. I’ve lost my 30 year old timneh and worried that I may be too old at 60 to acquire another. Need advice.

    Denise Brass on
  • I love Timneh..i hot Ulisses 20 yo..he imitates my tone of voice..and hes very caring and tender..i love him!

    Pedro Miguel da Silva Chiti Dordio Alves on
  • I have had my "Grace"…a temneh African grey parrot for 22 years! She is the sweetest and most loving parrot I have ever seen.
    She is thoughtful, fun, caring and loving. Grace taught me her made up words..“kisses and love-o’s”..that means any kind of affection! She loves it! She talks, laughs, makes puns, sings and whistles.
    Of course, I am a retired opera singer..so that helps!
    .Grace just wants to make my world happier..she goes out of her way to make me smile or laugh daily. She adapted quickly to my schedule..in part I think to please me! She is my constant joy. My husband died recently and I was doing a lot of crying. Grace would not leave my side and even said “so sad” to me. My husband bought her for me so that I would have comfort and joy in my old of age. I certainly have had that..Thank you my beloved Ted.
    Grace has the laugh of my husband and it brings me joy. I am so blessed to have this
    loving parrot sharing life with me!! But remember..I give Grace tons of time and attention! I put her on my shoulder with a potty cloth, just in case, and I read to her. Books with pictures of course.
    She oohs and awhs and we have a fun time!!
    Please remember that Parrots are a HUGE commitment. It’s like having a 4 year old around!!
    If you are mature enough for a child..it will be a wonderful Life…If you are not mature enough…best to wait and just enjoy a photo of your favorite parrot! 😁😁

    Marilyn CroninLindauer on
  • My Timneh grey can perfectly imitate half a dozen voices, both make and female.

    Slight error about the voice thing for Timnehs. on
  • I’ve had spirit a TAG since he was 2 months old actually had to use baby parrot formula for a time as he wasnt fully weaned onto pallets when I got him.

    Love him to bits it’s hard to realize that I’ve had him almost 30 years now, still seems like he hasnt been here for long yet he has seen me through 3 dogs already and he still calls put for my second pup from time to time. Think he expects the pup to come running like use to happen so many years ago when he would call out for him.

    Nyx on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.