African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus)
The African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is famous for its intelligence and ability to mimic human speech, making it one of the most popular of all avian pets. One of the largest parrots in Africa, the African grey parrot has pale grey plumage, with whitish edges to the feathers on the head and neck, which give a lacy or ‘scalloped’ appearance. The flight feathers are darker grey, the rump pale and the short tail a striking red. The beak is black, and on the face a large area of bare white skin surrounds the pale yellow eye. Both male and female African grey parrots are similar in appearance, while juveniles can be recognized by a dark grey or black eye, grey-tinged undertail-coverts and a darker red tip to the tail.
Two subspecies of African grey parrot were previously recognized: Psittacus erithacus erithacus, sometimes known as the red-tailed African grey parrot or the Congo African grey parrot, and Psittacus erithacus timneh, also known as the Timneh African grey parrot. However, Psittacus erithacus timneh is now believed to be a separate species, the Timneh parrot (Psittacus timneh). A separate population of African grey parrots on the island of Príncipe in the Gulf of Guinea was previously considered to be a third subspecies, Psittacus erithacus princeps, but is now included with Psittacus erithacus erithacus.