In the dense forests of West Africa, one of the most attractive species of parrots for humans lives – the gray or gray parrot. Medium-sized birds with ash-gray plumage and a bright red even tail, have a body up to 35 cm long and a wingspan of about 65 cm. Gathering in small flocks, they inhabit tall mangrove trees, on which they make nests and spend the night. They feed on Jaco fruits of the oil palm, fruits, greens, and they can also eat a snail. Having gathered in large flocks, parrots cause damage to agricultural plantations, for which they are caught for sale and meat.
Under favorable conditions, gray parrots live quite a long time. The fact of Zhako’s life up to 49 years and 7 months when kept at home has been documented. Some unconfirmed sources report that there is a Jaco parrot that has lived for more than 92 years.
Although there are no definitive statistics, it is believed that, on average, a pet parrot can live 50-60 years.
The age of birds in the natural environment is unlikely to reach such high numbers due to many different factors. Most often, in the wild, a bird will not live even ten years, the reason for which is natural selection and human activity.
Factors Affecting Lifespan
In native African forests, the life expectancy of a gray parrot is affected by:
- availability and variety of food;
- the ability to find a safe place to nest and rest;
- predators that can get to birds;
- a man who cuts down palm trees, whose fruits are the basis of the Jaco diet, and destroys the parrot population because of their tasty meat, the demand for poultry for domestic keeping, and the damage they cause to agricultural land.
The first three factors are the result of natural selection in nature and their impact on the life expectancy of birds in the natural environment is maximum. The more fruitful years and fewer predators, the longer the life path of birds. But human actions also have a strong impact on the environment and the number of individuals in the population, which leads to the mass death of birds, regardless of their age.
Removed from their familiar environment, not receiving the necessary care, wild Jacos die from stress and disease. Therefore, when purchasing a parrot caught in the forest, there is a chance to acquire a pet that will not live even a few days.
Another reason for the early death of a gray parrot, bought from hands or caught, may be its considerable age. The juvenile has an iris around the eyes, ranging from very dark at about five months of age to greyish-white by one year of age. After the chick is more than one and a half years old, the color of the eyes changes to light yellow and remains so until the end of life. Therefore, it is almost impossible to determine the age of an adult parrot from the wild.
Another thing is if the bird is grown in a nursery, where it has been in contact with a person from the first days, and it is being monitored. Accustomed to the cage and people, Jaco, with proper care, can live for more than 30 years. For this you need:
- complete nutrition;
- good conditions of detention;
- sufficient attention from the owner;
- mandatory medical supervision by a specialist;
- compliance with care rules.
How to properly care?
Jaco parrots are valued by amateurs for their intelligence and ability to imitate onomatopoeia. A bird can remember and reproduce up to one and a half thousand words., while it associates the spoken word with a certain object or concept. Having chosen a pet in the family, the parrot repeats his behavior, tries to follow him everywhere and requires increased attention to himself, showing jealousy towards other animals and family members.
When purchasing a pet, first of all it is necessary to equip a place of residence for him. Since the Gray is quite large for birds kept at home, and is mobile, it needs a cage or aviary that is spacious, made of steel bars and securely closed so that a quick-witted bird cannot open the door on its own. In the cage, it is necessary to put and fix a drinking bowl and several bowls for food and mineral supplements. Various perches, ladders, mirrors and other accessories are also needed.
Be sure to have toys so that the pet can have fun while the owners are not at home.
To make the bird feel good she needs to be able to fly around the apartment every day and communicate closely with the owner: sit next to him or on him, take care of a loved one or other creature. If the Jaco is deprived of such an opportunity, then the bird will have mental problems.
You can feed your pet with special mixtures for parrots, which are sold in pet stores. In addition, the diet should include fresh herbs, nuts, fruits and berries. For the health of the bird, it is important to avoid a sudden change in diet, therefore, for the first time after purchase, the parrot should be fed with the same food that he received from the seller, gradually changing eating habits. Grain and other products must be fresh and of good quality. Also, the pet needs to constantly change the water, preventing it from stagnating and accumulating dirt.
In nature, the parrot eats only fresh fruits, so it gets enough vitamins and minerals. When kept in a cage, the bird needs to be introduced into the diet special additives to obtain the necessary substances. The veterinarian should determine which vitamins are needed and how much they can be given to the parrot, because hypervitaminosis is no less harmful than hypovitaminosis.
To maintain health, the bird should be regularly examined by a specialist, since the disease is easier to prevent than to treat.
If there are no health problems, then a preventive examination once a year is enough. In case of symptoms of the disease, you should immediately consult a veterinarian.
Due to the fact that in their natural environment, Jacos live in packs, constant communication is vital for them. From a lack of attention, a gray parrot begins to get sick and can completely pluck its plumage, which is an indicator of a stressful state.
In addition, it is important for the bird to ensure safety.
- Close the windows and street doors so that the Jaco could not fly out into the street.
- Remove from the access area all light plastic products that the bird can split and injure.
- Close or hide electrical wires in inaccessible places to protect the pet from the possibility of electrical injury.
- Remove poisonous substances and medicines to a safe place, as gray parrots are quite curious and can swallow what is not supposed to.
- Too low a temperature in the room can lead to illness and death of the pet.
- Dogs and cats can also be dangerous to a parrot, so it’s important to keep a close eye on their relationship. In case of a negative reaction from domestic predators, it is worth limiting their access to the bird.
By following the rules of safety and caring for a Jaco, you can expect that a pet will delight its owners after living for about half a century.
On the features of the Jaco parrot, see below.