How to Introduce an African Grey Parrot to a New Companion Bird?

April 15, 2024

As bird enthusiasts, you will certainly agree that African grey parrots are considered one of the most intelligent bird species. They have phenomenal cognitive abilities and can mimic human speech, making them excellent companions. However, introducing a new bird to your resident parrot can be a challenging task. Species, behavior, and cage arrangements are all factors that need to be considered. This article will guide you through the process of bringing a new companion bird for your African grey parrot.

Understanding Your African Grey Parrot

Before you embark on the journey of introducing a new companion bird, it is essential to understand your resident African grey parrot’s behavior and personality. African grey parrots, renowned for their intelligence, are also known for their complex emotional needs. They are social birds, but they can also be choosy when it comes to their companions.

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Grey parrots can display a spectrum of emotions from joy to anger, which makes their behavior unpredictable at times. They can be friendly one moment and aggressive the next. This is why the introduction of a new bird must be done gradually and carefully. Patience is key here.

Choosing the Right Companion Bird

The next step in this avenue is choosing the right companion bird for your African grey parrot. The species of the new bird plays a significant role in the successful social interaction between the two birds.

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Generally, it is recommended to choose a bird of similar size to cohabit with an African grey parrot. Too small, and the bird might feel threatened. Too large, and the parrot might feel intimidated. Birds of the same or similar species are usually the best fit as they share similar behavior traits, which can foster a harmonious relationship.

However, it is not an absolute rule. There are instances where African grey parrots have gone along well with different species. It ultimately depends on the individual personalities of the birds.

Preparing the Cage

It’s time to prepare the room for the new arrival. The cage is not just a physical enclosure but also the bird’s habitat, which has a profound impact on its behavior.

The new bird should have its own cage, at least initially. This will give both the birds enough time to acclimatize to each other’s presence without any direct confrontation. Place the new cage near the existing one, but maintain a safe distance.

Over time, if both birds show positive signs, the cages can be moved closer. This allows the parrots to observe each other’s behavior from a safe distance, which will help them get acquainted better.

The Introduction Process

After the cages are set up, the introduction process begins. This is a slow process that should be handled with care. Don’t rush it as it could lead to unnecessary conflicts.

Start by letting the birds see each other from their respective cages. After a few days, if the birds seem comfortable, allow them some out-of-cage time. Supervise their interactions closely and look out for any signs of aggressive behavior.

Gradually, increase their together time. If they seem comfortable, you may consider housing them together in a larger cage. Remember, the key here is observing their behavior and proceeding according to their comfort level.

Reading the Signs

It is essential to read the signs and recognize the messages your birds are sending. An aggressive bird might puff up its feathers, open its beak in a threatening manner, or make loud noises. On the other hand, signs of acceptance include preening each other, sharing food, or sitting close to each other.

If the birds show signs of aggression, separate them immediately. It’s a signal that they need more time to adjust to each other’s presence. On the other hand, if the birds seem to accept each other, it is a step in the right direction.

Introducing a new companion bird to your African grey parrot takes time, patience, and understanding. You need to respect their individual personalities and give them enough space to adjust at their own pace. These are the key factors that can foster a healthy and harmonious relationship between your African grey parrot and its new companion bird. Remember, every parrot is unique, and the introduction process will vary depending on their behavior. So, don’t be disheartened if things don’t go as planned initially.

Interpreting Body Language And Messages

One of the most important aspects of introducing a new companion bird to your African grey parrot is the capacity to interpret their body language as well as the messages they convey. Birds communicate through their body language and the sounds they make. By learning to interpret these signals, you can better understand their feelings and reactions towards the new companion.

African grey parrots, for instance, may fluff up their feathers when they’re agitated or feel threatened. This is a clear sign that they’re not comfortable with the newcomer yet. Similarly, if your parrot displays aggressive behavior like biting or lunging at the new bird, it is a sure sign that the introduction is not going smoothly and you might need to take a step back and give them more time.

Pamela Clark, an avian avenue veteran, explains that understanding the bird’s behavior is crucial to successful introductions. She advises bird owners to look for positive signs such as preening each other, sharing food, and sitting together. These signs indicate that the birds are beginning to accept each other’s company.

On the other hand, if the resident bird seems unsettled, displays aggression, or tries to avoid the new bird, it’s a clear message that the introduction process needs to slow down. Respect their individuality and provide them with the space they need to adjust.

Responding To Joined Messages and Their Location

Birds, like humans, communicate not only through their body language but also through their ‘joined messages’ – a term used by avian experts to denote the combined signals of vocalizations, postures, and behaviors that birds exhibit. The location of these messages inside the cage or even outside it can give us valuable insights into the birds’ comfort levels and social dynamics.

African grey parrots, due to their intelligence, can convey complex messages. If your African grey and the new pet bird are sitting together on top of the cage, it could be a sign of acceptance. However, if the African grey stays in one corner of the cage while the new bird is on the opposite side, it indicates a level of discomfort or unease.

Remember to keep a close eye on how your African grey reacts to the new companion. Use these joined messages and their location as your guide. Psittascene Magazine, a popular bird enthusiast publication, suggests that bird keepers should take their time and observe the subtle changes in their pet birds’ behavior.


Introducing a new companion bird to your African grey parrot is not a task to be rushed. As avian avenue spotlight award joined recipient Pamela Clark highlights, understanding your bird’s behavior, interpreting their body language and messages, and responding appropriately are key to a successful transition.

Remember that each bird is unique and will respond differently to new situations. In this process, your patience, attention to detail, and respect for their individual personalities will be put to the test. It is important to ensure that both your resident bird and the new bird feel safe and comfortable.

Ultimately, the goal is to enrich the life of your African grey parrot by providing it with a companion. By carefully following the steps outlined in this article and making use of the advice from avian experts, you can foster a harmonious relationship between your resident bird and its new companion.

From setting up the bird cage to carefully monitoring their behavior inside the cage, every step plays a crucial role in this introduction process. Remember, challenges are part of the experience but by remaining patient and observant, you will surely help your African grey parrot make a new feathered friend.