The Timneh African Grey (Psittacus erithacus timneh) is the smaller of the two sub species of African grey parrots. Popularity for the tinier cousin of the Congo has grown over the past few years. The Timneh African grey originate from a smaller area in Africa that includes Liberia and the Ivory Coast region. Timneh greys are a noticeably deeper shade of grey then the Congo. The feathers on its head, back and upper chest are a darker grey, and a distinct “V” shape of dark feathers lay over a lighter shade of grey on the abdomen. White scalloping of head feathers are also more distinct on the Timneh. In certain lighting, its dark grey feathers have a bluish cast. The under tail-coverts are tinged with dark red or maroon, and the tail feathers are dark red to brown or maroon. The Timneh African grey’s beak is a pink-horn color with blackish sides on the maxilla, where as the mandible is black.
Overall body length of the Timneh is smaller in size compared to the Congo African grey; it ranges from 9 to 11 inches from beak to tail with an approximate wingspan of 13 to 15 inches. The Timneh’s weight can vary in from 250 to 375 grams.
The Congo African grey (Psittacus erithacus erithacus) is the nominate and more popular grey of the subspecies that we see in the pet trade. Perhaps it is due to the lure of its bright red tail. The Congo grey is the larger of the two subspecies. Other common names include: Ghana, Togo, Cameroon and Angola greys; however, they are all the same subspecies. The nominate Psittacus erithacus erithacus originates from different regions or countries of Africa. Regional origin accounts for variations in coloration and size.
The Congo African grey parrot has shades of grey covering the body. The feathers appear darker on the head and gradually lighten to a light silvery grey toward the chest and leg area. Darker feathers appear to have a white-scalloped edging, but if you look closely, many of the silver feathers have the same white tips. The wings are darker, and the primary coverts are a very dark grey to almost black. The eye area is void of feathers and is actually a bright white patch of skin. When you hear of a grey parrot “blushing” this describes that white patch of skin turning pink. The toe nails and beak are a solid black, and the most magnificent finale on the Congo grey parrot is its bright red tail.