African Grey Parrots Lifespan 101: An Insightful Guide To Help Them Live Even Longer

African grey parrots tend to live about 25 years in the wild. However, they can live up to 50 years in captivity given the right diet and care.  

What makes such a difference in lifespan?

In the wild, African Grey Parrots face tough challenges living out in the open, including limited food supplies at times, exposure to harsh conditions, predators, and stress—All of this can lead to a significantly shorter life span.

When they’re in captivity, they have limited contact with the conditions mentioned above. In addition, they get a steady supply of food regularly delivered to them. Finally, due to human intervention, they don’t have to worry about predators at all. 

In turn, this means you can expect a much longer life span if you have a pet African grey parrot at home.

Long Live the Parrot! Who’s The Oldest African Grey Parrot In the World?

There are some records of the oldest African grey parrot floating around the internet. Some claim that the oldest one was Churchill’s 100-year-old parrot, who witnessed his life.

Although I’m still skeptical about this and believe there could have been some undocumented stores out there. But you got the point, right?

An African grey can easily outlive a human being.

If you properly take care of them from day one, not only will you have a lifelong friend, but you’ll want to consider who’s going to look after it when you can’t anymore. Sounds ironic? 

It’s a fact, though. These birds will outlive you. You will have to see a lawyer to draw up all necessary paperwork—designate a trustee whom you know and love your bird, as well as a sum of money for that trustee to continue looking after the bird.

Although this may be hard to believe, it’s definitely something you need to think ahead before buying or adopting an African grey parrot.

How to Calculate The Lifespan Of Your African Grey

The bird experts have found that the lifespan of parrots follows a certain pattern.

Small parrots generally live between 8-20 years in cages,

Medium-sized parrots live between 25-40 years,

Large parrots live between 50-90 years, and there are even large parrots over 100 years old.

Parrot lifespan can be hard to predict, but some bird experts have worked out a formula that helps estimate the lifespan of your bird.

Age Folumar:

Your parrot’s lifespan = 17.6 * the weight of your parrot(kg) / 0.2


African grey’s lifespan = 17.6 * 0.6kg (average weight of African greys) / 0.2

Bang! 53 Years!

Generally, the lifespan of a parrot is related to its size and species. A larger bird will generally have a slower heart rate than a smaller one.

What an African Grey’s lifespan is Typically Determined?

Every owner and every African grey parrot is different and unique.

Your African grey parrot’s lifespan is determined by how well it has been cared for, what activities it does, and the feeding it receives.

It’s important to your pet bird’s health that he lives his life in a stress-free environment.

The key to living a long and enjoyable life is good health care, both physically and mentally.

What Your Grey Eats Is What You’ll Expect From Its Lifespan

The right diet is what you need to keep your African grey parrot in shape. Overall healthy birds can live much longer than unhealthy ones. Your grey with a well-balanced diet and plenty of exercises will also have a better life expectancy.

A Balanced Diet in Captivity

  • Pellets 
  • Seeds 
  • Sprouted Seeds
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables 
  • Whole grains
  • Treats 
  • Dairy 

What They Eat In The Wild

  • Seeds 
  • Nuts
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables 

You see, in captivity, African parrots receive a far more complete diet than what they would feed on in the wild.

Your African grey will benefit from a nutritionally balanced diet.

We as humans know the concept of the “food pyramid.” That works the same way with African grey parrots too.

In other words, give them a balanced diet every day, and you’ll keep them healthy and live longer. 

Here is a good way to balance out their diet:

  • Grains = 50% of the diet 
  • Vegetables = 25% of the diet
  • Fruits = 20% of the diet 
  • Meats = 2% of the diet 
  • Dairy = 2% of the diet 
  • Seeds and nuts = 1% of the diet 

A poor diet is one of the main causes of health issues and a short lifespan for the African grey parrots. They need plenty of fresh vegetables to ensure they get enough Vitamin A and carotene.

Sweet potatoes and kale are also highly recommended. Blueberries or any other berries are excellent for them too. They contain an abundance of antioxidants and vitamins that can help parrots deal with oxidative stress and make them live longer.

So, do your greys a favor; feed them berries once in a while but don’t overdo it. 

Mental Health Is Equally Important!

It’s no doubt that the African grey parrots require plenty of care.

They also enjoy constant attention from their owner, which is another key factor to their longevity. Unfortunately, this is the factor that is often being ignored.

Unlike common pets like dogs or cats, parrots like African greys need a lot of social interaction. Sure that your dog also wants to be petted, to play fetch, and to go for a walk. But, they are content and can do well for long hours on their own. Most cats want food, water, and a tummy rub now and then. They can be content for days on their own. 

However, African greys are totally different—they love to keep busy and need to enjoy a lifestyle with plenty of routines.

Being left alone in a cage for too long can be very hard on them. That will potentially cause them to be stressed.

In fact, just like humans, or any other living creatures, being mentally stressed can cause serious damage to the immune system.

So, your interaction with your African grey plays a big role in their longevity. 

Keeping a happy, healthy African grey is not difficult. But you can’t miss out on the importance of mental care.

Female Greys May Have A Shorter Lifespan

Many grey owners don’t know that: female parrots often have a shorter lifespan than males.

Why? You ask.

Egg binding!

The chances of egg binding will increase the number of free radicals in the body, which results in an accelerated aging process.

So. if you want to keep your greys alive as long as possible, reduce if not avoid the chances of egg binding.

How to Determine Age of My African Grey Parrot

You probably weren’t ready when you own your first African grey. The chances are that you are not really sure of its real age. So, how do you find out?

The hard truth is that there is no accurate way to tell the age except DNA testing. But it isn’t the most convenient nor the most affordable option.

Luckily, your African grey parrot’s eyes will give you a clue of its age if you know where to look.

You can only tell your grey’s age by looking closely at your grey’s eyes.

  • Under 6 months: very dark grey or black eyes
  • One year old: eyes turn lighter gray
  • 2-year-old: eyes turn a darker straw color
  • Age from 3 to 5: the irises turn a light yellow, and your grey reaches maturity.

Still no idea? Then you will have to go to a vet for help. This is also an important lesson you’ve learned — always ask the age in the first place when you buy or adopt a bird.

Key Takeaways:

African Grey parrots can live up to 50 years in captivity if cared for properly.

They require plenty of mental interaction and a balanced diet to live a long and healthy life. 

Once they reach adulthood, it is very challenging to tell their age. The best way to figure out your grey’s real age is by observing its eye color.

Do you have any questions about the African grey parrot lifespan or want to share your own story with this amazingly intelligent species? If so, leave your comment below, and let’s discuss!

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