Ask Lafeber


April 1, 2020

African Grey screeches

hi, My African Grey has started Screeching in the morning and whistling very loudly. He has never done this before. The afternoons and evenings are different. We don’t know why he screeches and whistles and it’s very irritating. Why mornings and what can change this behavior? How do I put him in time out? Cover his cage?


Hi June,

Has anything changed in the household? Are you one of the many who can’t go to work and are now home all the time? Or is someone in your household home when they weren’t before? African Greys can be very sensitive to changes inside or outdoors. If he is near a window, maybe he sees something that is alarming or interesting to him. If he can see out, try pulling the shade or covering the side of the cage where he can’t see out the window.

Parrots do not really respond to punishment. The best way to deal with bad behavior is to ignore it and try to divert it to good behavior. Ignore him when he makes noise, but as soon as he is quiet, praise him and give him a treat. Greys are smart, so wait until he is quiet for a few minutes or he will work you to get the treat each time. If you are normally not home, remember this might be his routine while you are out, so be patient. Don’t yell at him or say anything to him because he is probably doing it for attention and doesn’t care what kind of attention.

Another idea is cover him at night if you don’t already, and when you remove the cover in the morning, give him a snack to keep him busy. Changing an unwanted behavior can take time, so be patient and consistent. Every time you lose your patience and yell at him, you lose ground.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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