Category Archives: African Grey Parrots

Now playing: An mp3 recording and a video of my African grey parrot, Rufus, talking to himself

Rufus, an African Grey Parrot, talks a lot, but only when he is in a room by himself, for the most part. In order to get this recording, I set up our portable phone to “Intercom” and went into another room. Then, I held up my cell phone to the house phone and set it to record:

My African Grey Parrot, Rufus, talking to himself

Rufus is a character. He’s very good company when I’m the only human in the house all day, which is most of the time. I also have other birds: Cockatiels Penny and Jonah, Lovebird Candy, and Parakeets Beady, Gumby, Shelly, Oscar and Ginger. Having a houseful of birds makes it noisy, but I like it. I like hearing God’s creatures.

My parakeet’s especially, make a lot of noise. But, the noisier the get, the happier they sound — The parakeets just sound happy to be alive. They make the most noise at sunrise. The rest of the birds were napping when I got this recording of Rufus. Here is the one and only time I have caught Rufus talking on video once, and only two words at that:

He said “What’s up” right at the beginning. Then, the naughty bird decided to get on the parakeet cage. I know from (many) past experiences that Rufus is going to lift up the wire holding the parakeet’s water bottle. He loves to watch things fall…. He will also pull a parakeet’s tail if one is sticking out of the cage. That’s me scolding him…

At the end, I have to stop the video to put Rufus back on his Boing-Boing and coil it up shorter so he can’t reach next time.

So there you have it – another peak into my boring life… Don’t worry, I like my boring life just the way it is.

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My parrot loves to play Marco Polo with me

My African Grey Parrot, Rufus, likes to play interactive word games — Yes, really! For instance, he likes to play Marco Polo with me when I am in another room.

Rufus our African Grey Parrot

Rufus our African Grey Parrot

He picked it up all by himself, we did not teach it to him. He is a great observer of things around him, and just pays attention.

It started because my hubby and I don’t like to walk all over the house looking for each other. One of us will say “Marco” and the other will say “Polo” so we know where the other is.

Marco Polo is actually a game that you play while swimming with others in a pool – it is like tag. The person who is “It” tries to find the others with their eyes closed, only going by the sound of the “Polo”s after they say “Marco”. 

Any way, Rufus, the observant parrot, thought this was a  fun game. So, from time to time he will just holler out “Marco” and wait for me to holler “Polo”. This does not work in reverse. If I holler “Marco”, Rufus will just ignore me. Rufus answers to nobody! He is his own man.

Rufus, you silly bird!

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Rufus’s Vocabulary List – A List of Things my African Grey Parrot Says

This list is way outdated. Rufus has learned a lot of new words and phrases. I just haven’ t gotten around to writing them down. This list was on my now defuct, dearly departed Windows Live Space:

  • (bomb falling and exploding) If I do the bomb falling whistle he will do the explosion.
  • (cell phone ring)
  • (clicks tongue)
  • (clucks like a chicken)
  • (cough, cough, cough)
  • (dials phone) Hello, yeah, OK, bye bye (Man’s voice)
  • (dials phone) What’s new? Mm hm, mm hm, mm hm…(Woman’s voice )
  • (dog howling)
  • (dog, whines like a puppy)
  • (dog, barking)
  • (dog yapping) Little, yappy dog. This must be “Merlin”.
  • (dove, mourning, cooing) Rufus loves animal calls.
  • (dove, ring necked)
  • (kiss sound)
  • (scream) woman’s voice
  • (laugh, belly) man’s voice.
  • (laugh, giggle)
  • (laugh, sigh at end)
  • (meows like a kitty)
  • (microwave beep)
  • (mumbling) man’s voice
  • (peacock call)
  • (smoke alarm)
  • (squeaks, various) He loves to imitate squeeky doors and drawers.
  • (tunk tunk tunk tunk) This sound like knocking on a hollow metal tank.
  • (whew!)
  • (whistles for the dogs) calls in the dogs when they bark
  • (whistle, wolf)
  • Bad boy
  • Booooop!
  • Buck buck buck buck bird
  • Bye bye! (says when we leave the house)
  • C’mere
  • C’mere (snap snap snap snap) snapping fingers sound
  • C’mere, bird (when walking behind another bird
  • Good boy!
  • Ha ha ha ha ha!
  • Hello baby!
  • Hello birby! — He gets baby and bird mixed up and it comes out birby.
  • Hello bird! — He will walk up to other birds and say this.
  • Hello Merlin (he must have had a little dog named Merlin where he used to live. He mentions Merlin, often)
  • Hello!
  • Hey! (He once said this after getting dive bombed by a parakeet)
  • La la la la la la la — Rufus like to make up his own songs.
  • Marco! (waiting for us to say Polo) — Rufus likes interactive games
  • Merlin! No! No! No! No!
  • Merlin! Sit, sit, sit, sit, sit!!
  • No way!
  • No! No! No! No!
  • Oh
  • Oh, boy
  • Oh, yeah
  • Pretty bird
  • Pretty boy
  • Shhh
  • Sit
  • WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!! (This one is loud!)
  • What in! (He’s trying to learn “What in the heck”, but that’s as far as he’s gotten)
  • What!
  • What! What! What! What! What!
  • What’s new, bird?
  • What’s new?
  • What’s that?
  • Whee ooooh!
  • Whew! (He says that when we take him out of his house to play)
  • Whoa!
  • Women!

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Listen to my parrot, Rufus, talking to himself.

Rufus, an African Grey Parrot, talks a lot, but only when he is in a room by himself, for the most part. In order to get this recording, I set up our portable phone to “Intercom” and went into another room. Then, I held up my cell phone to the house phone and set it to record:

My African Grey Parrot, Rufus, talking to himself

Rufus is a character. He’s very good company when I’m the only human in the house all day, which is most of the time. I also have other birds: Cockatiels Penny and Jonah, Lovebird Candy, and Parakeets Beady, Gumby, Shelly, Oscar, Moonpie, Ginger and Freddie. Having a houseful of birds makes it noisy, but I like it. I like hearing God’s creatures.

My parakeet’s especially, make a lot of noise. But, the noisier the get, the happier they sound — The parakeets just sound happy to be alive. They make the most noise at sunrise. The rest of the birds were napping when I got this recording of Rufus. Here is the one and only time I have caught Rufus talking on video once, and only two words at that:

He said “What’s up” right at the beginning. Then, the naughty bird decided to get on the parakeet cage. I know from (many) past experiences that Rufus is going to lift up the wire holding the parakeet’s water bottle. He loves to watch things fall…. He will also pull a parakeet’s tail if one is sticking out of the cage. That’s me scolding him…

At the end, I have to stop the video to put Rufus back on his Boing-Boing and coil it up shorter so he can’t reach next time.

So there you have it – another peak into my boring life… Don’t worry, I like my boring life just the way it is.

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My African Grey Parrot, Rufus, loves American Idol — he dances to the songs.

Last night, Rufus’ favorite singer was Tim Urban. (Personally, I like Crystal Bowersox the best – every week)

Rufus actually has particular songs he likes and does not like. He dances to the ones he likes. Last night, he liked Tim Urban’s song.

I have songs that he likes in his own iTunes list. Among them are his all time favorite: Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman”.

So, why aren’t I posting a video of him dancing to Tim Urban’s song? Rufus is a smart bird, and he is camera shy. He can tell I’m trying to record him, and he stops what he is doing.

Here’s the last time I tried to record him. This video is entitled:

“My African grey parrot, Rufus, dancing to rock and roll – until he sees the camera”

(My hubby is Rufus’ dancing fan you can hear in the background.)

Silly Rufus.

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A video of my African grey parrot, Rufus, dancing to rock and roll (until he sees the camera)

I do not know how Rufus knows I am trying to record him. He talks a lot, and responds to things I say. We play “Marco Polo”, he says his name when I ask him, he whines like a puppy when I ask him, etc, etc, etc. But,  I can never get a video of him talking. The second I hold up the camera, he stops talking.

Also, he will dance up a storm, also until he sees the camera. Who ever heard of a bird who is camera shy? Well, Rufus is camera shy.

My African grey parrot, Rufus, dancing to rock and roll – until he sees the camera:

Rufus loves hanging out on his “Boing Boing”. When he dances, he really boings up and down, and makes his bell ding a lot. Rufus loves doing it, right up until we point the camera at him…. How does he know?

That is my hubby encouraging Rufus to keep dancing. Rufus is usually a ham and loves to entertain us and make us laugh — unless we are trying to record him. Then he gives us the Evil Eye, as shown in the video.

Silly bird.

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My new blog: Life in Our Backyard

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How to potty train a parrot … How to potty train a cockatiel … How to potty train a lovebird …

I have a video on My YouTube Channel showing that my cockatiel, Penny, is potty trained. I just got a comment asking me how I potty trained her. Rather than try to explain it in a YouTube comment, I’m writing this post and I’ll put a link in my YouTube comments.

Warning! This video shows a cockatiel going potty:

Potty Trained Cockatiel

I have had dogs ever since I was a grownup. When I got my first couple of birds about nine or so years ago, the “poop issue” was not fun. I just thought I would try to potty train Rufus, like I have potty trained my dogs over the years. Rufus has big poops, so it was worth a try. It worked!

I have potty trained several of my parrot-type birds since then. This is a list from, biggest to smallest, of my pet birds I have potty trained:

  • Rufus: African Grey Parrot
  • Peanut Boy: Timneh Grey Parrot (sadly, he is no longer with us)
  • Penny: Cockatiel
  • Candy: Lovebird

Candy, my Lovebird, is about three inches tall. My hubby got her for my birthday over the summer. She was potty trained in just a couple of days. She spends the time out of her cage on my shoulder. When she has to go potty, she runs down my arm and jumps on the potty perch. Then, they runs back up my arm and jumps up on my shoulder. This is the best case scenario! So, there is apparently no parrot so small that it can’t be potty trained.

So, how do you potty train a parrot? This post assumes your parrot is already tame and likes to spend time with you. Make the potty training process just another part of spending time with them.

In this post, the word “parrot” means any type of hook billed bird. They are all just variations of the same type of bird.

Decide where you want your parrot to potty. I made Rufus a “potty perch” out of PVC that fits over the waste basket in the living room. Penny and Candy, who are smaller, use a store bought stand that I put on the arm of my lazy boy chair over a paper towel. Decide what is a convenient potty place, and then be consistent.

Two important things to remember are “Patience” and “Repetition”. Your parrot does not want to sit in a mess. Parrots are programmed to sit in a tree and be far away from the mess. Parrots are very intelligent birds. If you patiently repeat these steps with consistency, you most likely will eventually have a potty trained parrot:

  • Step one: Observe your parrot. Every parrot does a certain thing when they get ready to potty. (Rufus wags his tail and Penny moves her whole body side to side.)
  • Step two: When you notice your parrot is getting ready to potty, put him/her on the potty perch.
  • Step three: Say “Go potty”, or something you decide on. Be consistent and always say the same thing. They have to go potty, so they will eventually.
  • Step four: Tell your parrot “Good bird”, or something you decide on, after they potty. Parrots are social animals, and you are part of their flock. They want your approval.
  • Step five: Take them off the perch and put them back on your shoulder, or wherever they spend time with you. This shows they were on the perch for one thing, only.
  • Step five: Notice how often your parrot has to potty, and put them on their potty perch more often than that. (smaller parrots potty more often than larger parrots)

Do this all the time they are out of their cage and with you. With patience and repetition your parrot will eventually associate the words “Go potty” with the potty perch and the act of going potty. Keep trying and don’t give up! You will be surprised what your parrot can learn if you give it a chance.

Good luck! Please report back with your progress.

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