Parrots are the household birds for a long time. Several breeds of parrots are kept as pets in different countries. But, how do parrots talk like humans, and how can parrots really talk? Or do they just reciprocate what they hear? Parrots are considered one of the most intelligent birds as they not only speak but can also understand human language. They fall under the category of Talking Birds. You will now know about the first and all the different types of talking parrots. And also, we will uncover the reason for how can parrots really talk.
1. What are Talking Birds?
The birds having the quality of mimicking human speeches are considered talking birds. There are a variety of talking birds who have different capabilities of understanding and mimicking the human language.
Corvids like ravens, nutcrackers, crows, magpies, etc are able to mimic only a few words or phrases. Budgerigars like seed-eating parrots also known as parakeets can have a vocabulary of almost two thousand words. Hill myna and European starling (a relative of hill myna) also have the ability of mimicry. (See What meanings and symbolism do birds have?)
2. Which is the First known Talking Parrot?
There was a Greek physician and historian who belonged to the town of Cnidus in Caria. His name was Ctesias but he was also popularly known as Ctesias of Cnidus. He had a bird that he called Bittacus. He wrote about how his bird talks like humans. Researchers wondered can parrots really talk, but from the discovered resources they concluded that Ctesias must have mentioned a Plum-headed parakeet as his pet Bittacus. (See What is the Name of Lovecraft’s Cat?)
3. How do Parrots Talk like Humans?
Birds are known for their beautiful soothing chirpings. Sometimes they learn new songs from other birds also. This clearly indicates that they know how to copy sounds. The bird’s brain has a part which is known as the song system by the scientist. This song system has an inner core part. So, this inner core of their brain is responsible for the different kinds of sounds, songs, and chirps they make and mimic by learning from other birds. (See Why do birds chirp in the morning?)
Just like all birds, parrots also have this inner core part but they have an extra part which is known as an outer shell. According to scientists’ assumptions, this outer shell helps parrots to become better at copying human language and understanding. Humans have the larynx at the top of the trachea, similarly, parrots have a structure called syrinx located in the chest at the bottom of the trachea. Through syrinx, parrots are able to speak human words. So, when the parrot tries to speak, the sound passes through the throat and mouth, which is then manipulated by the tongue. Must read the article on how to describe crocodile?
4. Are Parrots Social Birds?
Parrots are considered social birds who like to talk and communicate more among their bird friends and therefore, they make sounds like them. When in their own flock, parrots make sounds to communicate with each other. Similarly, when being in the company of humans, these birds want to communicate. Not all birds want to communicate with humans as much as a parrot.
But can parrots really talk just by listening to humans communicate with each other? Yes, they can. Parrots eventually start copying our language to gain our attention as well as to make a communication bond with us. (See Do Bulls Hate Red?)
5. Which Parrot can Talk to the Clearest?
Several species of the Amazon parrots are talkative. They tend to be more social and talkative around their humans than the grey parrots. They are claimed to have the clearest voice and have outstanding pronunciation skills. Their owners around the world have made this claim. These parrots have the capability to learn 100-200 words.
They are green in color and have up to 13 subspecies, each of which has different head colors. Some of them are the yellow-headed amazon, yellow-crowned amazon, blue-fronted amazon, white-fronted amazon, lilac-crowned Amazon, etc. The best from this category is the yellow-naped amazon, which is a good singer and can also be a real chatter-box. (Also read 10 Types Of Dart Frogs)
6. Which Parrot is the Most Intelligent?
Grey parrots are quick learners and are termed as the most intelligent among all the parrots. The most preferred two species of this category for keeping as a pet are Congo African grey parrot and Timneh parrot. Can parrots really talk from this category, unlike other parrots, these start learning how to speak the human language after they attain the age of 1 year? Greys can speak up to 200-500 words but they are also known to have learned and mimic more than 1000 words. (See 14 Interesting Facts about Mammals)
7. Which Parrot has the Largest Vocabulary?
The category of parakeets involves the most number of talking parrots.
- For example, in 1994, a budgerigar, an Australian parakeet, named Puck knew 1728 words and was the first to hold the Guinness World Record for a bird who knew the largest vocabulary among other birds. These little birds are talkative and very playful though they do not have a very sharp voice.
- The rose-ringed parakeet, also known as the Indian ring-necked parakeet, is a calm and good pet that can be talkative and learn up to 250 words.
- Monk parakeets or quaker parakeets are also talkative. They are capable of maintaining a large vocabulary of words, sentences, and phrases. They catch up with what is being told and explained, very quickly. These parakeets are smaller than the others.
- Derbyan parakeet needs to socialize a lot and are also quite noisy. They do not bite much and have average talking potential. Their vocabulary ranges from 20 to 40 words only, but they are double the size of an Indian ring-necked parakeet.
Can parrots really talk just to be friends with a human, or this is just an astonishing fact about this bird? (See 4 No Stripe Zebra Facts)
9. Which Parrot is usually Harder to Train?
Cockatoos are a bit hard to train but can talk with proper training. They hardly have a vocabulary ranging between 10 to 30 words and can sometimes sound very harsh and sometimes sweeter. The yellow-crested cockatoo can be a fair or good talker depending upon their training and environment. The long-billed corella can be termed as good talkers as they can talk very clearly. (See 8 Tame Wolf Facts)
10. Which Parrot can Train easily?
The Electus parrot shows vibrant colors and the colors of the male and the female are different. They have strong talking potential and can mimic their owners very quickly even without much training. With a vocabulary ranging between 100 to 120 words, they are considered moderate talkers. (See Can you have a pet squirrel?)
11. Which Parrot is the Best Pet?
Macaws have bright colored feathers, as well as, a lively and intelligent personality. Being extremely loud and playful, they can be sociable and energetic. They prove to be the best house pet once trained well. Although their vocabulary ranges from 30 to 50 words, they can learn different words and use them in a different contexts. They are skilled enough to learn short phrases and sing songs as well. (See Can Possums be Pets?)
Can parrots really talk about being a bird? You now know the answer to it that when trained in a proper and friendly manner, these parrots too can talk like humans. Having a talking bird as a pet is quite interesting, but keeping a bird in captivity is not a just thing to do. Those birds are meant to fly freely. (See Why Are Cats Tongue So Rough?)