Are African Grey Parrots Loud? (on a yellow background with an African Grey on a swing)

Are African Greys Loud? [What to Do If They Are Screaming]

First, let’s answer the question, “Are African greys loud?”; the simple answer is yes, they are. However, they are not always loud and do not scream all day. When comparing an African grey to a cockatoo for loudness, a cockatoo will always win! We will go over when and why they are loud and what to do to quiet them. 

Keep in mind that if you are looking for a quiet bird, an African grey will not be a good match. Likewise, African greys like to imitate every sound they hear and have an excellent memory. They will continue to make sounds until they get what they want or you can get their attention. Their loud noises can last for several minutes, if not longer.

Do African Greys Scream Loud?

Yes, African greys do scream loud. However, they are not the type of birds to just call out for no reason. In most cases, they are doing it to get your attention. You can hear Coco, my bird giving screams/beeps intermittently. I was out of sight, and she wanted to get my attention. Furthermore, she will do this first thing in the morning if I don’t go over to her right away.

An African Grey is beeping/screaming; she was calling out for attention in this case.

Due to the African greys having the reputation as being some of the most intelligent birds around, they know how to get your attention. Being famous for their ability to mimic human speech, they are also just as renowned for screaming! My bird loves to imitate car alarms, beeping noises that she hears, and other ear-splitting noises. 

Knowing that an African grey also has a bit of a reputation for screaming, you need to prepare for the noise with some earplugs or headphones! While it is true that African greys can scream quite loud, it is essential to understand that they do not do this for no reason.

In most cases, African greys only scream when they feel that they are not getting enough attention from their owners. So if you find yourself on the receiving end of an African grey’s screams, it might be time to give them a little more attention. 

After all, they are just trying to tell you that they need some attention/company, food, love, foraging opportunities, or new toys. Keep reading for more details behind each reason for the question “Are African greys loud and why?”.

Why Does My African Grey Scream? 5 Reasons Why Your African Grey Screams

My African grey’s screaming used to be a major frustration. The ear curdling, blood pressure elevating, never-ending screaming would go on for what seemed like forever! I used to think she was doing it just because that’s what they do.

However, after some research and consulting with other African grey owners and avian veterinarians, I discovered that there are reasons behind the screaming. 

You can easily cut down on the screaming by following the tips below. Are African Greys Loud? Yes, but here are some reasons why.

Attention/Company

In the wild African grey live amongst other greys in a group. They will loudly scream and call out for each other when they are out of sight. It is the only way to find out where their flock members are hanging out.

Most of the time, your bird is screeching; you will realize that it’s because you are in another room and they want to see you. If you can rearrange your schedule and home to have your bird near you at all times, you will see a lot less screeching. As long as I sit next to my bird Coco, she is pretty quiet.

The screeching will not get on your nerves if you know how to solve it. More importantly, it will be less annoying once you figure out why they are loud. If your bird is alone all day and you come home and begin doing chores and other things they can’t see you, I can guarantee they will be screeching. So please do yourself a favor and spend time with your bird or allow them to hang out with you as you do your chores.

Hungry

I feed my African grey parrot two meals a day, including many fresh veggies, a tiny bit of fruit, 1/2 a tsp of seeds, and pellets. She will usually have parrot pellets in her bowl throughout the day. However, there are times when it’s getting close for me to prepare her dinner, and she begins the ear-piercing screaming.

An African grey eating a lychee. Are African greys loud? Yes if they are hungry

I know that she is probably hungry, so I will give her a whole almond in the shell to tide her over until I can make her dinner. Another trick I do is to provide her with one of my homemade foraging boxes. I take plain construction paper and crinkle up small pieces while placing a nut inside one piece of paper. Then I stuff all of these crinkled papers into a cereal box and secure it to the side of her cage with a zip tie.

These foraging boxes keep her quiet for at least an hour. If you notice your birds screeching getting louder and more consistent before meal prep time, they are probably telling you they are hungry.

Learn all about the African grey diet here.

Love/Head Scratches

If you’re thinking of getting an African grey parrot, it’s essential to know that they don’t always want attention. These birds can be very particular about when they want to be petted or scratched. More importantly, they’ll let you know if you try to do it when they’re not in the mood! Many parrots will bite you for attention; if you have a biting parrot, check out our article here.

African greys are intelligent birds, and they have their own way of communicating what they want. Sometimes they’ll scream and bob back and forth on their perch, or if you teach them the phrase “can I pet you?”, they’ll bow their head down. It’s all part of their unique personality, and once you get to know them, you’ll learn to love it!

Not Enough Foraging Opportunities and Boredom

African greys love to forage, so you must provide them with the opportunity. Foraging is not only great mental stimulation, but it also occupies their time and keeps them from getting bored.

There are many ways to provide foraging opportunities, such as hiding food in their cage, inside homemade boxes, or giving them foraging toys. You can also create a foraging station with different difficulty levels outside their cage.

If you allow them to solve puzzles and get rewarded while doing it, then they are less likely to spend all day screaming. After my bird completes one of her foraging boxes, she tends to take a nap.

The physical and mental act of foraging helps them to burn pent-up energy. It’s the same principle as a dog misbehaving in the house because it’s not getting enough exercise.

Not Enough New Toys and Variety

If you were spending all day staring at the same few toys, wouldn’t you get bored too? African greys are known for their intelligence, so they need stimulating toys to keep their minds active.

I like to rotate my bird’s toys every week or two. I’ll put some away and bring out others she hasn’t seen in a while. Variety helps to keep her amused and gives her something new to play with.

My bird loves puzzle toys; you can buy or make toys to keep them busy. I also recommend giving them various textures and colors to keep their interest levels high. Some of my bird’s favorite toys are ones that she can solve. Just remember to switch them out every so often.

Lonely/Bored

African greys are social birds, and they need companionship almost constantly. If you leave them alone for too long, they will become destructive and vocal. They are like having a 2-year-old for the rest of your life.

More importantly, they can wreak havoc on your mental sanity if you don’t provide them with companionship. African greys are known to quiet down and even stop screaming when around people. African greys love to be around their human companions and other African greys.

African greys will often mimic human speech. African greys are very bored when left by themselves with no stimulation, whether it is human or African grey companionship. African greys bonded to their humans will get depressed and vocalize their distress if separation occurs, such as being in a different room.

African grey parrots need a minimum of 2 hours out of their cage per day, but more is always better. Even if you work full-time African greys can still be adequately cared for by providing large cages with plenty of toys and perches inside the cage. Furthermore, wheeled bird stands work great so the bird can move around the house with you rather than being caged up.

Are African Grey Parrots Loud? (on a yellow background with an African Grey on a swing)

Are African Greys Loud at Night?

No African greys sleep at night and are active during the day. They will often begin mimicking, beeping, and screeching first thing in the morning when the sun rises. The morning chatter does not bother me since it helps me wake up; however, you can always cover your bird’s cage if you need to sleep in.

If you cover the cage, they will usually stay quiet until you take it off. The sun rising and daylight stimulate birds to begin making noise.

To note: birds can usually sleep through the noise but not light stimuli. Therefore, if the TV is on, it probably won’t bother them; however, if the lights are on, it might be better to cover their cage to get the proper sleep they deserve.

How Do I Make My African Grey Quieter?

You can do a few things to make your African grey quieter. First, you need to figure out why they are making noise in the first place. Are they hungry? Bored? Lonely? Don’t have enough toys?

Once you know the reason, you can work on fixing the problem. For example, if they are bored, get some new toys or spend more time with them. Feed them more often or give them some healthy snacks if they are hungry.

If they are lonely, make sure you spend more time with your bird. Lastly, if they don’t have enough toys, get some new ones! Not only buy some, but you can make some as well; the more variety, the better.

Remember, it is essential to figure out why they are making noise before fixing it. Otherwise, you might not be able to make them any quieter.

Are African Greys Talkative?

Yes, African greys are very talkative birds. They can mimic human speech and other sounds they hear daily. African greys are known for their impeccable memory, so they will never forget once they learn something.

African greys usually start talking between 8 months to 2 years of age, but some might start earlier or later. Why they start talking at different times is still unknown, but it most likely has to do with their personalities.

The best way to get your African grey to talk is by talking to them yourself. Talk to them daily in a sweet soft voice, and they will begin picking up phrases.

Another tip to get your bird to talk is always to tell them what you are doing. If you are walking your dogs, say, “I’m going to walk the dogs now,” and eventually, your bird will begin to mimic your voice.

Dr. Irene Pepperberg is a scientist who studies parrots, and she taught Alex, the parrot who was her best friend, over 100 words plus the ability to recognize objects. I highly recommend anyone with an African grey parrot to read her book “Alex & Me.”

Sale
Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence--and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process
  • Pepperberg, Irene (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 232 Pages - 09/01/2009 (Publication Date) - Harper Perennial (Publisher)

Final Thoughts For “Are African Greys Loud?”

African greys are infamous for being one of the louder parrots. They make various noises, most of which are noisy and can be heard throughout the house. While they may not be quiet, they are intelligent, cute, funny, and unique birds that make great companions.

If you want to live harmoniously with your African grey, you need to figure out why they are making noise and try to fix it. Lastly, don’t forget to spend quality time with your bird, so they feel love and comfort.

I hope this article helped you understand African greys better.