Thanks for visiting and welcome.

My name is Frank and I am the founder of African Grey Life.

I live with Corrie, my partner of more than 25 years. We share our living space with our 2 dogs: a Maltese poodle of sorts called Puddles; a wire-haired Jack Russel / Fox Terrier which we call Crash and our Congo African grey parrot.

African Grey Life is about African grey parrots in general but, unlike most other websites dedicated to these amazing birds, it is also specifically about our own African grey. More than that, it is about sharing our experiences and what we learned from living with one for more than 16 years.


In 2003, just over a year after my partner, Corrie (that’s her in the photo), and I moved to Johannesburg to be closer to our jobs, she told me that she wanted an African grey parrot for Christmas.

So I decided to get one for her.

At the time, I knew very little about African greys so, since a bird is not the kind of gift that one would wrap and place under the Christmas tree, we decided to shop for one together so that she could choose one that she liked.

From the outset, we had no intention of getting a baby grey parrot. These require a lot of time and effort and, since we both worked, we just did not have the time and resources to care for something that fragile.

Instead, we decided to find a juvenile bird; one old enough to get about and feed itself easily, but not old enough to have learned to speak.

After a few visits to a couple of pet shops, Corrie finally settled upon an alert and healthy-looking Congo grey. We took him home and she named him Kokkie.

Kokkie quickly became a part of our family and has provided us with many years of pleasure and entertainment.

We’ve not only learned how best to care for him but, at the same time, we have learned so much from him too.

We learned what he likes and what he dislikes; what makes him happy and unhappy. We know what makes him angry and what makes him afraid.

We also learned that there is more to his talking than just a simple copycat repetition of sounds that he hears.

A lot more.


People tend to become enamored with the idea of owning a talking bird and decide to get an African grey parrot as a pet without fully understanding what they are letting themselves in for.  In such cases, the resulting relationship can easily end up being disappointing for the owner and detrimental to the pet.

In retrospect, I think that we were very much like that. We did not do much research beforehand. Had we done so we might have realized that, for a start, the cage that we bought for him was far too small.  We did not consider that we were in our forties and fifties and that Kokkie might outlive us.

We were also ignorant of the fact that African greys in the wild are being captured in large numbers, mainly to supply the pet industry, and that many of these birds are treated inhumanely and die before even reaching the markets where they are sold.

To this day we do not know whether Kokkie was a captured bird or whether he was bred in captivity.

African greys have their own unique needs that need to be considered, and since they are fairly uncommon pets, information about them is not that readily available.  You are not as likely to have a neighbor or friends with whom you can exchange information and experiences about African grey parrots as you are for cats or dogs, for example.

While Corrie and I are by no means model parrot owners, Kokkie is certainly a reasonably content and happy bird. After many years of keeping an African grey we have accumulated knowledge and experience that prospective as well as existing owners of these birds could find useful.

Since I don’t like the idea that many of these amazingly intelligent and sociable creatures get neglected just because the ownership experience is not what was expected, I hope that by putting this information out there it will help you to decide whether an African grey parrot is the right kind of pet for you.

Equally important is to help you know whether you are the right kind of owner for an African grey and whether your personal circumstances and environment are suitable for keeping a happy and healthy pet.

And if you already own an African grey, and have found the ownership experience problematic, hopefully you will find something within this website that will help you to overcome the challenges and open the door to a much more rewarding experience with your grey.


In addition to being a reference resource with guides and tips for keeping African grey parrots, a big focus of African grey Life is to give you a realistic insight into what day-to-day life is like when living with an African grey.

Above all I want to share how delightful and rewarding it is to share one’s home with a well-adjusted and happy African grey parrot.

If you have anything to say then please leave a comment, even if it is to just say hello. If you have any questions then please ask and I will try to help to the best of my ability.

All the best.


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