Family Parrots (Psittacidae)


Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus)


French: Perroquet jaco German: Graupapagei Spanish: Loro yaco
Other common names: African Grey Parrot

Psittacus erithacus


, 1758,



Hitherto considered conspecific with P. timneh (which see). Race princeps often considered inseparable from erithacus, but recent study revealed genetic differentiation from mainland populations#R. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. e. erithacus Linnaeus, 1758 – SE Ivory Coast E to W Kenya and NW Tanzania and S to SC DRCongo and Cabinda (N Angola), including Bioko and (probably introduced) São Tomé.
  • P. e. princeps Alexander, 1909 – Príncipe I, in Gulf of Guinea.
  • Feral populations (erithacus) in many African cities.

    Descriptive notes

    28–39 cm; 402–490 g. Bare facial area around eye whitish, head scaled white on grey extending onto darker grey back and breast; wings mid-grey, primaries blackish... read more


    Wide range of squawks, whistles, shrieks and screams reported, both in flight and perched, with... read more


    Generally lowland moist forest, both primary and secondary, including edges and clearings, and also... read more

    Food and feeding

    Fruits and seeds, notably the oily flesh but not stone of oil-palm, the most preferred food in Gabon, also Ficus, Heisteria... read more


    Season Nov–Apr in Príncipe and Gabon; Feb–Sept in E Africa; Jul–Dec in Zaire. Monogamous. Nest in hole (0·6... read more


    Resident. In Kibale Forest Reserve, W Uganda, abundance related to presence or absence of fruiting... read more

    Status and conservation

    ENDANGERED. CITES I. Locally abundant with a very large range, hence with a high world population. Believed to have undergone rapid population decline over last 50 years,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Collar, N., Kirwan, G.M. & Sharpe, C.J. (2019). Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 7 December 2019).