African Greys are often described as being independent birds. Some would go so far as saying that Greys do not enjoy being physically handled the way other large parrots do. But is this true? I’m here with Smokey to offer our take on this.


    49 replies to "African Greys Are NOT Cuddly Birds"

    • D. Hale

      Excellent video and great advice.
      We’ve had both a CAG (rescued from a very poor situation) that took 4 years
      to socialize enough for adoption by a loving family, and a TAG who is my
      (occasional) cuddle-buddy (when he feels like it) and permanent friend.
      http://forum.anafricangrey.ca

    • D. Hale

      One suggestion, some of the ‘cuddling’ you are doing with Smokey is not
      recommended for mature AG parrots (5+ years) as these can lead to sexual
      responses from the parrot. Avoid touching the back and under the wings; in
      the wild these are areas only accessed by mates, but scritching
      (allo-preening) the head and neck is done between any friendly non-mated
      flock-members.

    • Patriot Prepper

      I have a CAG she is my best friend and I am the only one she will give a
      kiss to without bribery lol. She came from a Rescue.

      I was working with her gaining her trust one day on her cage when i was
      working with her something startled her and she leaped backwards on to my
      bare hand lol I don’t know who was more shocked and scared me or her lol.
      But every since that day she has always got on my hand and never once tried
      to bite me. I went to the UK to be with a now Ex GF for 6 months and she
      stayed with my mother. When I was coming home my mom was telling me don’t
      be surprised if she wants nothing to do with you, i laughed said she will
      remember me. I walked in and opened the cage door and she couldn’t get on
      my hand fast enough or give me a kiss fast enough.

      She is a very Cuddly bird and loves to be held close and have her neck and
      head scratched and rubbed under her wings.

      One thing she will raise a fuss about is bath time she screams like she is
      being killed but she gets out onto my hand and gives me kisses right away.
      The water is not hot or cold it is room temp like you would bath a baby in
      and it is never to deep. Even with a spray mist bottle she screams. I don’t
      if she was punished with water in the past since she came from a rescue or
      what so I try not to bath her more then at the very most 1 time a week in
      the summer and she always gets a reward for it which she promptly tosses
      down out of anger but I always get the kisses when it is done lol .

    • RustyShank

      My grey loves it when I give him kisses but won’t let me pet him. He
      sometimes lets me have my finger on his beak for a couple of seconds but
      most times rather than not he gives me nips that don’t really hurt at all
      but more rather a warning. I’ve only had him for a couple of months but I
      can feed him treats and he semi knows target training (by that i mean that
      he tries to touch the stick but instead of walking over to it he just
      streches…) and he also does this weird pumping type thing…Any
      recomendations to help me be able to pet my bird? 

    • AnimalSites

      I’m semi-cuddly! 🙂 But only when I’m in the mood. It’s important to read
      your bird’s body language. If she’s not in the mood, don’t push it… or
      you may get bitten. That’s just the way we communicate when you have failed
      to read the other signs I’m giving you.

    • nat mankowski

      I love grays, but I am an Amazon owner, same concepts for our birds,just
      harder bites and more stubbornness. These 2 birds are by FAR my favorite
      species 🙂 Also, you remind me of my grandmother who loves cuddling with
      her grays, Ecclectus, and Amazons. Great video and your passion is awesome!

    • Byron MacGreggor

      Greys are a very moody species. It takes time for a handler to develop a
      feeling for understanding a bird’s personality and moodiness. I find that
      if a Grey doesn’t want to cuddle, it will not cuddle. Everything tends to
      be on their own terms.

      They’re also intelligent enough to know when you’re trying to bribe or
      manipulate them. They’re problem solving abilities are astounding. I put a
      dial-combination padlock near mine and rotated the dial back and forth to
      unlock it… While he isn’t intelligent enough to know the combination,
      despite watching me enter it in front of him numerous times, he is
      intelligent enough to understand that you rotate the dial right, than left,
      than right again and try to pull the lock open.

      They’re fascinating creatures. 

    • Fallon Turnboo

      That was adorable

    • cdahdude51

      Very sweet bird. Thanks for posting!

    • Jin

      Thank you for these wonderful videos. My grey, Mani, passed away last month
      and it has been so hard for me, but watching these videos reminds me of all
      the great times we had. He was super affectionate like Smokey. He was smart
      too. I never had him sexed and always thought he was a girl. I have a BGM
      who is a boy and used to call them “Mani girl” and “Lucky boy”. Somehow,
      Mani differentiated the words by himself and refused to say “Mani girl” he
      always said “Hello Mani Boy”. Sharing this story reminds me of how superbly
      intelligent these birds are. Thank you for encouraging owners to
      continually stimulate their minds. 

    • Shut the f*ck up google+ and stop asking me if I want to change my f*cking name

      I have an African Grey that I’ve had for around 17 years. She’s a very
      nervous bird and I’ve recently been teaching her to trust me more boldly.
      I’ve been creating a deeper connection with my bird, Clemenza by feeding
      her pistachios and peanuts by hand. Recently I’ve started letting her out
      of her cage and start roaming around. I would love to teach the bird more,
      such as being able to pet it or trust me to a deeper extent. My bird is
      VERY nervous, when I went on vacation and had a pet sitter over to care for
      my pets, my bird plucked out all of its feathers. She will also bite if she
      feels the need to do it. Any suggestions? Thanks.

    • D.M. Olsen

      I am a Proud Owner of Rocky.born 1989..yes,African Grey..I got him @age
      4…. Hes not a bird to cuddle… loves his head scratched..& will bite
      when he wants it to Stop..than giggles at you …even says Ouch before a
      bite…I will admit He has me Trained…rofl… Love My African Grey. Great
      Video..!! 

    • Abdel Rahman Hassan

      hello man i gave you a sub because i am a bird lover i wish and i have
      knowledge on how to feed them and train them please wish me best luck

    • Dat ManiacPalcon

      I have had my African grey for 11 years now and she has only bitten me once
      when i first got her and after that she started to bond to me and now she
      will not bite me and she loves to sit on my chest wail am laid in bed
      watching tv.

    • Camber Hill

      Your opinion about getting a Grey and your example of what’s possible is
      awesome. It’s the most intelligent over view I’ve seen to date. Thank you. 

    • Jeanne ODell

      Sasha can be very sweet some days and other days if I put my hands on her
      cage she will charge me to bite me. I have not been bitten by her because I
      have been careful not to let her. Other days she will sit on my shoulder,
      get head rubs. My son can do more with her because they are bonded. She
      even likes her beak rub by him. The last time he was here visiting she must
      have been mad at him because she bit him.It had been awhile sense he
      visited.She loves to laugh and has me laughing a lot because she is a
      comedian.

    • PatchouliMoonsong

      My Hewie is nothing like all the sweet, adorable African Greys on Youtube.
      He belches at people, tells them they smell, and he won’t hesitate to steal
      food. Although he does have the cutest laugh and loves to give kisses! And
      he loves to whistle his messed up rendition of the Andy Griffith theme. :)

    • jo march

      your bird was reggurigating, i think he’s feeling the “love” :P

    • Steve B

      Pretty cool video, my Grey is the same. But it takes a time and trust, you
      are absolutely right. Another thing – I absolutely love your perch. Can you
      please tell me where you got it from?

    • deanna morris

      OMG, if I tried to hold either of my greys upside down – I would be in the
      emergency room! Each grey has a different personality. I have been bitten
      hard by both of mine on different occasions.
      Awesome birds, but not for the faint hearted. Btw – both of my greys were
      rehomed several times before coming home forever.
      Even baby greys can have problems with attitudes.
      If you can’t provide them a permanent, loving forever home – don’t get one!
      You must get up every morning to make them FRESH VEGGIE AND FRUIT BOWLS and
      give them interactions.
      Greys are not a hobby, they are a lifetime investment.
      Oh, did I mention vet bills? Gracie has been ill and vet bills were over
      1500 dollars.
      I will always provide my various birds with the best care possible. Mind
      you, I have no car or mortgage payments. If you can’t commit a lifetime and
      endless funds, please dont even think about getting a bird.
      My parakeet got sick and vet bill was over 250.00. I paid it and am
      treating her. She has outlived the prognosis. Go Storm!

    • Minshino

      I love the last part you said about trust and not dominance. I couldn’t
      agree more with you!

    • Elsie-Rose Robbins

      My African Grey Wilson can be the most tempermental little beast or so
      sweet he brings tears to your eyes. The thing I love about him the most is
      he chooses who he trusts, he is one of the family. He has good days and
      bad! just like us ! I love the fact that he has a mind of his own. I try
      very hard not to be his person as I want the whole family to share him we
      all take turns feeding him and tidying his cage. He is more female
      orientated as he was hand reared by a woman but nearly a year old and he is
      developing a good relationship with my son and husband. He talks in my sons
      voice! He is the most complicated animal I have ever had but also the most
      compelling. He can be cuddly, loves a neck scratch and wiggles around on
      his back for me playing. He also likes his space and quiet time. You need
      to learn how to read African greys they tell you everything with their
      bodies respect them and they will learn to trust you. It is not a dominant
      relationship but an equal one built on trust…..With the occasional day
      off! 

    • Jason Cohen

      I have had my grey since he has hatched. I personally have done no special
      training, simply because I like the personalities that usually shine
      through just from every day interactions. As for being cuddly, my grey
      thinks he in a G2!!! The second i sit/lay somewhere, he automatically fly’s
      to me and wants to lay down on me. I have even woke up to find that he
      broke out of his cage and was sleeping (laying down) on the pillow next to
      my head. From my own experiences with a few different species, I just
      think its the animal. Not all dogs and cats like to be pet or lay with
      their owners (and many other animals), so why should grey’s be any
      different?

      My Current Flock:

      M2 – Dante (rescue)
      G2- Daisy (rescue)
      CAG – Alfred Hatchcock (Store Bought)
      Blue Quaker/Monk – Rico (rescue)
      (4) Budgies
      (2) Tiels
      And in talks of adopting a 3 y/o Greenwing Macaw! 

    • Sparticus

      Great video very informative planning on purchasing an African grey good
      heads up for me to help for future training 

    • Adam O'Connor

      Smokey is beautiful!

    • BlackEvanescence

      My grey is cuddly, but he’s never been a fan of lying on his back. I don’t
      know that I’ll ever have him interested in being like Smokey is at 2:21!

    • Danny Davies

      Our African grey is more time than you ever believe.. Maybe yours isn’t a
      friendly cuddly bird… Ours is amazing.. It’s down to you to mould there
      personality.. That’s if u buy them from a baby.. If you buy a second hand
      bird then you can’t comment if it’s not friendly.. Because frankly… Youv
      done nothing to deserve a awsome bird they take work and show them the
      world.. If you get one that’s already tame cool.. But I believe rewards
      should be reaped by caring for them from an infant that is when ure see
      true love from a bird 

    • Brittany Tatman

      Hi. My mom has an African Grey Dixie, and she is about 12 years old. We got
      her at 5 months from a local pet store and have put a lot of time and
      effort into being with and talking to her. One of us is always home so she
      is never alone. However she is not at all cuddly. One thing I think that
      should be very known is that it more depends on the bird. All birds are
      different just like people. She has her cage open all the time and has free
      range all over the house. She is very smart, but can still get into nasty
      moods, start screaming and bite for no reason. Also when she turned 10 she
      hit sexual maturity and started trying to attack me (she sees my mom as her
      mate), luckily she got over that though. Greys are extremely temperamental
      and can be very neurotic. I think it’s because they are so smart-the
      intelligence of a 5 year old as most believe but yet the emotional maturity
      of a 2 year old. So just FYI for anyone thing they are like smokey here.
      Plus she would bite the hell out of us if we ever tried to turn her over
      lol

    • xzotic92

      i have an african grey that is very super cuddly sometimes he sleeps on the
      bed with me blows kisses and call my name but physically he is not a very
      active bird he would stay in the same spot for hours and im trying to teach
      him to go on his back but when i do he bite the …. out of me help 

    • Janfromboone

      Yours is a bit more cuddly than mine. My bird calls the shots. Are we
      going to rough and tumble or cuddle or just leave me alone for now.

    • xTheForgottenOnexx

      I have always wanted one of these birds; they are so gorgeous. But I
      completely agree with you. They take A LOT of time, patience, and research.
      Right now my job just doesn’t call for bringing one of these wonderful
      birds into my life, so I have been waiting and doing a lot of reading on
      them in the mean time. Someday I hope to be blessed with their company. <= They are such cool birds.

    • Nate Byrd

      I don’t own a gray simply because I truly do not think I have the
      responsibility but I do own a white caped pionus and he is truly a delight
      to have apart of my life

    • Jonathan Del-Giacco

      I’m so glad that I came across this video! I have wanted a bird all my life
      and have taken it a little more serious lately by deciding I will save and
      spend the next two years learning what I can about greys, they are a
      fascinating species and can not wait to have my own to nurture, care and
      give my time to! I have subscribed to your channel and look forward to
      seeing the rest of your videos!

    • Sophie Wilkins

      Sooo sweet, mines not very cuddly at all but thats because my mum raised
      him and never got him used to things very well. But hes slowing improving
      :)

    • Piers Collen

      good man. pets will be nice and respond to your word only if they can trust
      you. it hurts to see caged animals….. especially birds 🙂 good work. what
      a beautiful bird

    • basennel

      Great video!

    • Jade theDragon

      I have interacted with african greys at pet shops and I seem to be okay
      with them. One is a little nippy, bites when I stop petting, the other is
      young and very affectionate and get VERY excited for attention, I thought
      he was trying to bite me but when I left my finger in the cage he did not
      bite be, he started putting his beak around my finger and moving it like he
      was trying to get food from his mother.

      Which is why I hate pet shops, poor sweetie wasn’t getting the attention he
      needed. 

    • ExadonParadox

      great and honest video

    • wingsNpaws

      Grey owners, what are your thoughts?

    • zietomatochan

      For the past year I’ve been wanting to get an African Grey… I’m not old
      enough to afford one (I’m unemployed and in high school) so I thought, why
      not spend this time learning how to care for one if I get one in a few
      years? The past month I’ve been doing research, mostly just watching videos
      from responsible owners and it’s overwhelming to see the care that is put
      into African Greys. I’m not saying this as a negative thing! I’m just glad
      I’m spending this time learning about them because in the future, if I
      still want to be an owner of an African Grey, I want to make sure they’re
      happy.

      Can anyone recommend ways to learn more about African Greys? Or throw me a
      few tips for future reference? This channel and a few others have been very
      helpful…. Soon I’m going to try to find some books if I can.

      I think what I’m most worried about is making a bad impression on the bird
      and having it be a very introverted, upset bird. I want to ensure that I
      can make a connection with them and give them the attention and care they
      need.

    • charlie boy

      my grey likes a cuddle and tickle, i have only just got him to lay on his
      back which takes a great deal of trust from the bird…

    • Hagen Martell

      You offered a lot of great insight! I’m glad I found this :)

    • Eric Heil

      Smokey is so beautiful. 

    • Victor Calderon

      What’s the difference in a female vs male ? I have a 2 year old male
      Eclectus and I am looking into getting a grey..was wondering if the sex
      would matter any ? Also do you keep your birds in the same room ? 

    • Katrine Dalkin

      I got my grey 3 weeks ago. He was 12 weeks old. I wasn’t bothered if he
      spoke or not. Today he said his name and hello. Made my day. We all in
      family speak to him but me more so. He is very affectionate and loves his
      cuddles. As u said u need to spend time with them. If your not willing to
      do this then dnt get one. If we go out we leave the radio on for him. As
      soon as we get bac he is fussed and cage open straight away. He has loads
      of toys. Love him to bits.

    • frank altobelli

      Well done. I am jealous.

      I made the mistake of getting an 8 year old bird and am totally
      disappointed. He is a great talker, but quite aggressive. Two years on, no
      one in the house likes him because he is quick to bite. I hate to give him
      up, passing the problem on and making him worse, moving house to house. I
      just don’t know what else to do.

      I Should have got a baby. 

    • Deepak sharma

      very well made dude….greys are very hard bird to pet….

    • Isaac Tian

      I’ve been told multiple times that if a bird does something naughty or
      painful (i.e. biting you) you should do something to let it know that it’s
      in the wrong, like giving a firm NO and a slight shake of your arm, but
      just to be careful you never do anything that is painful or scary. Is that
      considered punishment based training? (they were mainly talking about
      macaws in this case)

    • Robin Webley

      Good video ❤️

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