Watch out, parrot about

STANDING defiant, it glares at the intruder, daring them to take a step closer. With a loud bark, the animal bristles, warning them that he's bitten before and won't hesitate to do so again to guard his master's property.

STANDING defiant, it glares at the intruder, daring them to take a step closer.

With a loud bark, the animal bristles, warning them that he's bitten before and won't hesitate to do so again to guard his master's property.

Rambo, or The Governor as his owner often calls him, is not your usual parrot - he is a guard parrot.

Derek Mays, 58, owner of car garage Tick Over Services in Runham Vauxhall bought the African Grey from a family in Acle. He said: “I saw Rambo and couldn't resist him. He has so much character and he was a bit of a challenge because he can be quite aggressive to people he doesn't know.


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“It took me a week to learn to handle him, and then over a period of time he became tame to me. I'm still the only one who can handle him, though.”

The bird's hard-won loyalty to its owner can now be seen in the position it adopts in its master's office at work; guarding the door and acting as a patrol parrot.

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“He isn't afraid of anything. Since we first took him to the garage he patrols the office. He has been guarding the place for a decade now and in the summer he will sometimes stand in the doorway and watch people go by.

“If an intruder tried to come in he wouldn't let them through without a fight. Although he's only a bird he wouldn't hesitate to give you a nip and make some noise.”

Even two of Derek's other pets, a black Labrador called Jack and Golden Retriever named Casper, know who rules the roost when it comes to being top dog.

“He has definitely earned their respect, and sometimes when they are in the office he will approach them and they will quickly get out the way. It's from the dogs that he learned to bark and he's a better guard dog than either of them.

“He says all kinds. As well as wishing you a merry Christmas and coming out with the occasional “hello Derek” to a passer by, he might even say “I'll ring your neck you old git”. Derek admits: “That's something he might have learned from me.”

Despite holding fellow garage worker Darren Hodgson, 17, hostage on one occasion and nipping a German customer Mr Mays, is glad of his unusual guardian. He said: “I would recommend a guard parrot to others. He is unique and if you get a fearless one like mine they will not back down. Like I said, he's the governor around here and I'm sure he will outlast me.”

The African Grey

African grey parrots have been kept for over 4000 years, and are depicted in Egyptian hieroglyphics.

King Henry VIII had one for a pet

They are sometimes known as The Cadillac of Parrots

The species is found in the rainforests of West and Central Africa.

They are regarded as one of the most intelligent birds due to their ability to interact, quickness to pick up language and awareness of their surroundings.

Like other parrots, they are allergic to chocolate, avocado, caffeine and alcohol

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