Why, Hello there! So glad you came by! Let me introduce myself...I'm Tika, a Timneh African Grey hen and the shy fellow watching me over there is Tongo. (He's my boyfriend!) Don't mind him, he's nervous about anything new...I always have to check everything out before he'll go near it! So now you know who wears the pants around here!
What ch'ya lookin' at? Huh?
Gimme the ball Tongo. No way Tika, I had it first now leggo! Unh uh....it's MY ball! Is not...Is too...Is not...Is too...
Tika and Tongo hatched within days of each other but are unrelated. The breeder's 2 Timneh pairs laid eggs at the same time, so these two have been together their entire lives. They were in the brooder togther, played together, fledged together, ate together and rested together. They now reside together and are very bonded. Their personalities are as different as night and day though. Tika is outgoing, confident, bold, adventuresome, feisty and can be a real brat! Tongo is shyer, less confident, sweeter natured, happier to be with his favourite people than exploring, and gets very excited! He will bob his head up and down for a "yes" answer and throw up his wings on command. Tika dances and hangs upside down from my fingers! You'd almost think they were different species by their vastly different natures, but greys, like all parrots are very individual. Tongo loves yogurt for example but Tika just shakes her head and flings it! They both began talking at 9 months of age, and haven't stopped! Their intelligence never ceases to amaze me! They're fantastic birds but are sensitive and require educated owners!
Some of What Tongo and Tika say at age 4:
~ Good morning
~ Want a (nut, grape, berry, nutriberry, bean, kiss)
~ Tongo, big handsome guy! ~Tika pretty, pretty girl
~ Are you talking to me?
~ What's the matter?
~ What's new pussycat...woa! (sings)
~ Who dat?
~ What 'cha doin' ? (+ baby girl)
~ Goooooorgeous grey parrot
~ Big beautiful bird
~ Too cute! Tongo too cute!
~ WHAT !
~ Howz my baby girl?
~ Tika, Tika, Tika too !
~ Tika's a good baby giiiiiiiiiiiiirl
~ I love you sweetie!
~ Yum yum yum yum mmmmmmm
~ I'll be back
~ Are you some kinda tough guy?
~ I can talk... can you fly?
~ Up up
~ good boy!
~ Aye matey...shiver me timbers!
~ Go potty
~ Are you OK?
~ Beautiful toes! toe, toe toes!
~ Swingin'! I'm swingin' ...Are you swingin'?
~ Hi Salsa
Note the difference in Tongo's head shape and size... he's on the right. Tika's head is smaller, more petite and triangular. Tongo's head is large and quite square in comparison. He has a broader chest as well. At
age 3, he's a whopping
435 gr. and Tika's 395 gr.
Both will call the dog by name and whistle for him, replicate the microwave beep so precisely that it's impossible to tell if it is them or the microwave itself, and use what they've learned in appropriate context. They will often combine the above to create their own versions. They pick up speech quicker if there's some dramatic inflection to the words. At age 4 they are starting to make the calls of all the outside birds they hear...crows, bluejays etc. and also many of the other parrots in the house. At times, I have listened to both carry on a conversation between the two of them and they have mastered the end of my phone converstions.
Wanna go for a swim in the pond Tika? ......You first Tongo!
Can you tell which African grey is which in these two pictures? Answer below!
If you guessed that both pictures were of Tongo.... you're right!