Which Birds Can Learn To Talk?
Birds are among the only animal creatures in this world that can learn to speak. However, this is rather the imitation of words – sometimes even of whole sentences. The reason for this ability is the highly developed brain as well as the need to fit into the group of people by speaking. But not all birds are talented enough for this. These are exclusively very specific species.
You can find out which bird species can learn to talk in our guide.
Which parrots are particularly gifted in speech?
Parrots are among the most talented speakers in the bird world. Listed below are the parrot species that are said to have a special talent:
The gray parrot is particularly gifted at speaking. This parrot can learn a lot of single words and sometimes recite whole sentences. He imitates human voices in their expression and tone deceptively real.
Amazon parrots, of which there are over 30 species, can also memorize words and in some cases learn entire sentences. The Yellow-naped Amazons have a very loud voice. Because of this, the pretty parrot can also become a nuisance by talking.
A great talent for speech is also possessed by the noble parrot, which is characterized by its clear and easily understandable intonation.
Senegal and Red-vented Parrot:
Furthermore, Senegal and Red-vented parrots have better pronunciation than most other parrot species, but their vocabulary is significantly lower.
Macaws are very intelligent. In addition, these parrots are lively and playful. Sometimes they start talking.
Cockatoos are also clever linguists and often have good pronunciation.
However, the aforementioned parrot species usually only speak when they have been trained to do so early in their lives. Once the parrot gets going, it can build up a vocabulary of several hundred words.
Why are parrots so good at talking?
Unlike songbirds, for example, parrots have a very thick tongue. With this, they can form various sounds, including words of the human language. They are also helped by a well-developed vocal head in the throat.
The colorful birds are designed to fit in socially and imitate the vocalizations of the members of their group. The parrot sometimes lives in large flocks, so it depends on communicating well to keep finding its close relatives. Now, if other parrots are missing in his environment, he imitates the language of his reference persons and starts to “babble”.
TIP: Would you like to experience parrots up close? Then visit the Vogelburg Weilrod in the Hochtaunus. This special bird park has become an asylum for parrots over the years. Here the animals are accommodated in a species-appropriate and varied way. Private parrot keepers are made aware here of how important it is to keep the sensitive animals properly.
Talking parakeets – which are particularly popular?
Parakeets are colorful and widely used as pets. The animals have a high entertainment value: they look beautiful, are lively, can become tame and start talking. Popular birds include:
Some budgies mimic words or even entire sentences, though this talent varies widely. Although the birds are small compared to parrots, they can sporadically speak better than some of the larger species. However, budgies have a rather raspy voice. That is why it is often difficult to understand them. Children, in particular, love the small colorful birds. They like to build places for them to climb and frolic with playgrounds for birds and bird toys.
Cockatiels are gifted in speech to some degree. They often whistle repeated melodies they have heard.
Collared parakeets can learn a larger vocabulary and sometimes repeat entire sentences. They settled in gardens of Indian temples, where priests there eventually noticed that the collared parakeets imitated their daily spoken prayers. This led to the birds being considered sacred beings.
The monk parakeet also begins to imitate the human voice and words with proper training. If the bird has been sufficiently socialized, it can even use the words it has learned in the correct situations.
Basically, all parakeet species can learn to speak under certain conditions. However, it always depends on the individual animal’s talent. Some are simply more talented than others. Also, parakeets are more likely to parrot certain words if they are kept alone and have no conspecifics around them. But a single attitude of the very social birds is not species-appropriate, because they live in the wild in a flock.
Docile beos and starlings – no parrots and still linguistically gifted?
Beos are very docile birds and have a certain talent for speaking. They like to imitate the exact vocal pitch of their owner as well as sounds from their immediate environment. For example, some beos will start whistling, howling or screeching, which can lead to many startling moments when living with the birds.
Starlings and corvids can also learn to talk if they have been raised by humans and live with them permanently. However, they are not as gifted in speech as parrots and parakeets, and their vocabulary usually remains quite small.
List of birds gifted in speech – their body length, weight and country of origin.
|Bird species:||Body length / weight:||Country of origin:|
|Grey parrot||Approx. 33 cm / approx. 450 g||Africa|
|Amazon||Approx. 25 – 45 cm / weight e.g. blue-fronted Amazon: approx. 400 – 660 g||Especially tropical zones of South and Central America|
|Noble parrot||Approx. 35 cm body height /|
Approx. 440 – 620 g
|Main distribution: New Guinea and surrounding islands|
|Senegal Parrot||23 – 26 cm / 150 – 200 g||Africa|
|Red-vented Parrot||.28 – 30 cm / 230 – 280 g||South America|
|Macaw||86 – 100 cm / 750 – 1300 g||South and Central America|
|Cockatoo||30 – 66 cm / 900 g||Australia, New Guinea, Sunda Islands, Philippines|
|Budgerigar||18 cm / 22 – 32 g||Australia|
|Cockatiel||32 cm / 73 – 102 g||Australia|
|Collared Parakeet||Approx. 40 – 43 cm (with tail) /|
approx. 90 – 120 g
|Certain regions of Africa and South Asia|
|Monk Parakeet||Approx. 29 cm / approx. 10 g||South America|
|Beo||24 – 35 cm /180 – 280 g||South America|
|Star||Approx. 15 – 54 cm (with tail) /|
Approx. 34 g – 290 g (depending on species)
|Europe, Asia, Africa as well as Asia-Pacific island world|
|Raven bird||Very different depending on the species||Almost everywhere in the world|
NOTE: List does not claim to be exhaustive.
How do birds learn to speak?
Animals mimic words and imitate sounds from their environment. For example, parrots and parakeets may imitate a creaking door all by themselves, but have difficulty with the first words. In general, the language talent is very differently pronounced.
In a flock in the wild or in a group in a large aviary, the birds orient themselves by the sounds that their conspecifics make. In individual keeping, the human becomes a substitute partner, so that the bird imitates the voice of the human. For this, it is usually necessary that the caregiver is intensively engaged with the bird and talk to him a lot. In addition, a young bird learns faster than an older animal that has already developed certain habits.
How do I teach my budgie or parrot to talk?
You need a lot of patience and time to teach your bird to speak. The basis for learning to speak is trust between the bird and its owner. The animal must feel comfortable with you. As a caregiver, you should talk to your bird very often and for a long time, preferably several hours a day.
For the imitation you should choose simple and only a few words and always repeat them. Especially good are words with many vowels, which are easy to pronounce. In the beginning the bird just listens, only after some time it starts to imitate them.
Budgies or parrots are receptive to learning during the natural hours of rest, which include midday and late afternoon. In conjunction with ruffling and stroking their feathers, birds are very receptive to their keepers’ words. For example, you can get your bird used to being stroked with a finger when it is sitting in its bird cage on the perch near the bars. Now the animal is completely relaxed and accurately perceives the words that you always repeat.
Only when the animal repeats the first words of its own accord should you slowly expand the vocabulary. In the process, you also keep reciting the words you have already learned along with the new terms.
Some birds are so smart that they associate words with certain occasions: My aunt owned budgie Hansi, over whose cage she hung a blanket every evening to see him off to his well-deserved sleep. In the morning she covered the cage again and wished the little one a “good morning”. One fine day, Hansi suddenly returned the good morning greeting. There was great surprise. The bird repeated the morning greeting almost every day from then on – to the great delight of the whole family.
Tips for teaching your bird to speak:
Practice with him while he is still young!
Use few words with many vowels!
Use the resting times of the animal!
Repeat again and again!
NOTE: Parrots live in nature almost always in pairs or in groups. Therefore, even humans should not keep them alone, with justified exceptions (e.g., incompatible birds or birds already imprinted on humans). Parakeets are also social birds and should not be in human care without conspecifics. With persistence and patience, your pet can also learn to talk if it has a partner.
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