A talking dog or cat would be fun, but until someone figures that out, it’s easy to obtain talking pet birds! Imagine teaching your bird to speak. If you want a bird to serenade you with a song, there are quite a few singing birds as well. Listening to birds talk is fun. Some people enjoy teaching them bad words.
Although other parrots can talk, the African Grey parrot, Macaw parrot, Eclectus parrot, Cockatoo parrot, Budgie parrot, Quaker parrot, and Amazon Parrot mimic human speech the best.
One reason that these birds talk is to be part of the family. Birds that can talk maintain their membership in the human family flock by mimicking people and will repeat human words when their bird squawking doesn’t elicit a response.
Not every individual bird can speak. Genetics and training determine if they learn words by mimicking, picking up short phrases, and if they are capable of learning longer phrases.
Bird Talking Process
Birds don’t have vocal cords but are able to talk through a different process than ours. Parrots and other talking birds can’t make the sounds that we make the same way as we do. Birds have a syrinx in their trachea that can reproduce sounds by imitation.
Parrots can imitate human speech and any sound that protects them, like a warning of danger. Imitation is actually a survival mechanism. If a predator is pursuing a bird, they can make a noise that another animal makes to confuse and get the predator to leave.
Birds also bond with humans by speaking. Pet birds are intelligent and know that we value talking.
Types of Talking Birds
Let’s take a look at the 13 most popular talking birds that mimic human speech and other sounds.
Step into the melodious world of parrots who sing, where vibrant feathers meet captivating voices in a symphony of avian talent.
Indian Ringneck Parakeets
|The typical coloring of this species is bright lime green with blue tail feathers and yellow under the wings. Also come in bright yellows, greens, and blues, albinos, cinnamons, and lutinos.
These beautiful birds have three colors of rings around their neck. This popular talking bird species loves learning and enjoys it when their people challenge their intelligence. They communicate well with clear voices, can remember lots of words and longer phrases, and can do tricks.
Indian ring-necked birds like exercise and need a big cage. Don’t scold them or any bird, or they’ll develop a fear of people.
Hundreds of years ago, monks saw a flock of ring-necked parakeets in their temple gardens where they prayed and realized that the wild birds repeated their daily prayers! That must have been a shock! Prayers certainly qualify as learning longer phrases. Indian ring-necked parakeets can build a large vocabulary.
Their specialty is learning longer phrases, and they mimic many sounds in addition to our voices. They make delightful pets.
The ring-necked parakeet is from sub-Saharan Africa and southern Asia in India.
|Medium green with yellow patch on the nape (back of neck)
Yellow-naped Amazon parrots are social and talkative. This species is always with at least one other bird. They rest and eat in large groups. They are from Central America and make a variety of lovely sounds like screams, squawks, and whistles. They make a nice pet.
Tragically, they and many species of birds are critically endangered due to loss of habitat and people taking them from the wild to be pets.
The Amazon parrots are outgoing and playful. Some sing. Amazon parrots are popular pets and have exceptional voice clarity. Many Amazon birds are good talkers, and the Yellow-naped Amazon is the best talker. Amazons love social interaction.
|2.65 – 3.2 pounds
|scarlet, blue throated, red and green, blue and yellow, red with blue and green
There are 17 types of vibrantly colored Macaws. Macaws are social, funny, affectionate with their human families, and have large beaks. Macaws are the largest parrot species and hail from the Mexican and Amazon rainforests in Brazil.
Some Macaws are endangered because people take them from the wild. The Majestic Macaw Parrot species has gorgeous colors and the ability to mimic speech.
Unlike other birds, the Macaw can understand and use human speech words and phrases in context. Other birds repeat a word or two. Macaws need consistent training because they are demanding. Severe Macaws don’t talk as much as some other parrots, but Macaws are good talkers. They are experts in squawks, mimics, and whistles.
They like to play a game where they lunge with their beaks. Don’t be frightened if a Macaw’s beak comes toward you. What a sense of humor!
|4.1 to 5 inches
|Eclectus males are green color with orange beaks and some red and blue under their wings. Female Eclectus parrots red with black beaks and purple on their chests and tails.
Eclectus parrots are affectionate, playful, smart, curious, and animated. Eclectus parrots are from New Guinea, Indonesia, and central/coastal Australia. The Eclectus parrot has also been brought to Singapore, Palau, and the Goram Islands.
They live near water bodies. The female and male plumage have stark differences.
|white, gray, or black with some coloring in the tails, crests, or cheeks. Several species have brightly colors around their eyes and face called periophthalmic rings.
Cockatoos are affectionate, cuddly, intelligent, loud, and social birds. Cockatoos bond with their owners. Cockatoos need a lot of attention and social interaction, or they will be sad, neurotic, and/or self-mutilate.
The Cockatoo is prone to separation anxiety if you bond too much. The Cockatoo has a softer, sweeter speaking voice than other parrots. The Cockatoo makes a nice pet and just wants love.
|1.1 – 1.4 ounces
|5 to 11 inches
|green/yellow is the natural color, but some breeders make them blue or white
These little birds are also called Budgies and Parakeets. Budgerigars are intelligent birds. A Budgerigar named Puck broke world records for speaking 1,728 words. Budgies are from Australia and are noisy throughout the day.
Budgies need attention and mental activities. In the absence of vocal cords, they squeeze their throat muscles. Their gruff voices make it hard to decipher their words sometimes.
Although learning the first word is challenging for them, some Budgies fans say that they can speak as well as or better than most talking parrots. They can learn short phrases, have large vocabularies, and even sing.
Some people leave their televisions on during the day so their pet Budgie can listen to them and learn vocabulary words. That’s a great idea. People say they learn other languages from television.
|Gray, pied, lutino pied, clear piedless, pearl piedless, cinnamon, cinnamon piedless, cinnamon pearly, cinnamon pearly pied, luton, lutino pearl/pacewing, pearl, emerald/spangled/olive, fallow, yellowface, blue, silver, albino, whiteface
Cockatiels are affectionate, gentle, calm, like to be held, playful, quiet, not destructive, active, and love their toys. Cockatiels aren’t as loud as some other parrots.
This popular talking bird species doesn’t learn as many words as the larger parrot species. The Cockatiel is a great pet. They learn up to 250 words and phrases, and can even be heard whistling songs.
|Green or gray, have bluish-gray foreheads. Their cheeks, neck, and area between the nose and forehead are pale gray, and their abdomen feathers are a shade lighter.
Quaker parrots are also called monk parakeets and hail from Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, and Argentina. Some Quaker parakeets escaped captivity and formed colonies in Illinois, Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Texas, and New York. Several states in the US banned Quakers as pets because they’re considered an invasive species. Rude!
They are illegal in some states and are the only parrots that build nests. They are social and funny and enjoy learning human speech. Monk parakeets will become loud if humans don’t give them attention. Quakers bond with one person in the home and can build large vocabularies of 50 or more words and phrases.
African Grey Parrots
The African grey is the most intelligent of the talking parrots. They mimic human speech, mimic sounds, need physical and mental stimulation, are prone to being a one-person bird, and love to forage. It’s very important for African greys to play.
The grey parrot comes from the Congo and is also called the African Congo Grey. A Grey makes a great pet and likes providing comical mimicry.
African grey parrots are the most talkative, and African greys sound realistic. They have a great vocabulary. A famous Grey named Einstein was on many television shows and impressed the audience by recreating sounds as well as talking. Here’s a video of him doing an impression of actor Matthew McConaughey.
And, without further ado, the songbirds — which produce sounds by vibrating membranes in two different syrinxes.
|1.6 to 2 ounces
|Gray-brown feathers on their heads and backs, with pale undersides and white spots on wings
The Mockingbird is from the United States, the Caribbean, Southern Canada, Mexico, and Central America. They are known for singing, which they do to announce their territory and attract mates.
Their songs have a series of phrases that are repeated two to six times. During their songs, they may imitate other song birds, dogs, frogs, car horns, chainsaws, etc. Late Fall and winter are prime singing times.
They are not domesticated and should not be pets. A male can learn 200 songs in a lifetime. Males and females sing all day and sometimes all night in spring and summer. Their songs are repetitive but vary a bit. They are very territorial and become aggressive when someone approaches their nest.
|Black and sometimes iridescent blue/purple
Corvids are crows. These birds all have fancy names in addition to the ones we know them by. Someone cracked the crow code and said two caws means “Where are you?” Three caws is “Danger!” Four or more caws mean, “This is my turf.” Wow!
They are social, and their flocks can number in the thousands. They are inquisitive, mischievous, smart, good problem-solvers, aggressive, and not afraid of bigger birds. They don’t make good pets because they like to fly around and engage in fun activities. In a cage and/or in a house, they become bored and destructive.
|The starling family looks black. In summer they are purplish-green iridescent with yellow beaks; in winter they are brown, covered with white spots.
They are a rowdy bunch and travel in big groups, making them even more noisy. They hang out with grackles and blackbirds. When they aren’t looking for food, they sit in trees or on wires, making noises from whistles to whirring to rattling.
The Starling is one of several birds that lay blue eggs.
They make a good family pet and are social, smart, curious, bond with their people, active, easy to tame, affectionate, and cuddly. Starlings enjoy spending time with their owners. They do tricks, talk, and obey commands. They need a large cage or an aviary.
|Usually yellow feet and legs, yellow– but sometimes blue-green, black, or red bill. Iridescent black feathers. Males can be blue-green, black, or red. Many have yellow wattles or patches of bare skin on their faces or necks. Some birds have a ring of bare skin around each eye.
Mynah birds don’t mind cages and are easy for first-time owners. However, not every mynah bird is going to want to blab. They need to be trained and spoken to from an early age. Mynah birds, ravens, starlings, and crows have the ability to mimic the human voice to varying degrees.
The Hill Mynah can mimic human speech very well. They are from the Indian subcontinent, Hawaii, and even Florida. They are chatty, intelligent, friendly, and have an expansive vocabulary. They are famous for their ability to mimic human speech.
Fun/gross fact: Myna birds in the wild will enter a fire ant colony or grab a fire ant and put it in their feathers to kill off parasites. Ewww!
Navigate the charming world of ducks with their unique quacks and waddling walks as we explore these delightful waterfowl.
|Sooty-brown, paler brown below, and fine spots of the head andwhite belly. The male has a hanging pouch of skin under his bill.
Musk ducks are from Australia. Their legs are far back on their bodies, making them great swimmers and bad walkers — so they stay in the water. They learn to speak if they are with people.
They can make sounds like slamming a door. They are talented mimics. Who would have imagined that a duck could talk? I mean, other than Daffy and Donald Duck…!
Now, let’s dive into the fascinating lives of other playful creatures known for their cool sound and talk.
|Iridescent feather coloring, reddish-brown back, and white throat tufts.
Tui birds are parakeets that are friendly and playful and mimic speech and other sounds. They are from New Zealand and live in subtropical to sub-Antarctic regions, the Kermadec Islands, and the Auckland Islands. The bird is one of the honeyeater family and is found along the Amazon from Brazil to eastern Ecuador and northern Bolivia.
Domesticated by the Maori culture, they are symbolic of life fulfillment, confidence, and spiritual harmony and are said to be messengers of the Gods and Goddesses.
Functions of Talking in Birds
Birds that talk speak in different dialects. One study followed chickadees and found that they could discern between “flock-specific acoustic differences.” One of the reasons that birds chirp at night is when they are flying in formation and want to stay together.
Birds guard different things during breeding season, such as mating and nesting, feeding, and roosting. One example is a bird may guard a tree if it likes the fruit growing on it.
First, the male bird claims a territory where he will mate. The better the territory, the more likely a female bird will be interested in mating with him. The second selection is the female bird. In some species, the female birds choose the male birds.
Birds hide in vegetation to avoid predators. They also can make a sound of another animal or an inanimate object, so the predator thinks the bird isn’t there and gives up the hunt. If they encounter a predator, they fight with their beaks and sharp talons.
Auditory Mapping in Birds Theories
Birds’ auditory system has multiple brain regions that process acoustical signals and mediate sound source detection, localization, and recognition.
Parrot Language Controversy
If a bird is not using the sound or word correctly, then he or she is mimicking. Some birds can be trained to understand the meanings of words and phrases.
Popular Talking Birds
- Indian Ringneck Parakeet
- Yellow-naped Amazonparrot
- Quaker Parakeet
- African Grey Parrot
- Hill mynahs
- Musk duck
Considerations Before Adopting a New Bird Pet
Potential bird owners should research birds to determine if they’re compatible with a particular species. Keep in mind that birds need space to fly and exercise, and some need more than others. They wake up early (unpleasant). They need attention and interaction every day. You’ll also want to do some research to find a good avian veterinarian near you.
Cockatiel, Dove/Pigeon, Finch, Cockatiel, dove/Pigeon, and Lovebirds are good for first-time bird owners. If you prefer quieter birds, opt for Budgies, Finches, or Parrotlets.
What Is the Most Talkative Bird?
African grey Parrot is the best talking bird.
What Is the Most Realistic Talking Bird?
The African grey Parrot replicates the pitch and tone of human language.
Which Bird Can Mimic the Human Voice?
Hill mynahs are great at saying human words and mimicry.
What Is the Easiest Bird To Teach To Talk?
Quaker Parrots are the easiest birds to teach to talk.
There are many beautiful talking bird species. Some of them may not want to talk, but teaching them words and phrases when they’re young and constantly helps facilitate speech. They will mimic barking dogs, sounds, people’s voices, and anything else they hear. Many have an incredible ability to sound like us.
Wild birds have been known to learn speech from birds taught to talk by humans. An example of that is wild birds talking to visitors at the Sydney Zoo.
A bird age calculator enables you to figure out your bird’s age in human years.
Like dogs and cats, there are bird rehoming groups. The volunteers can tell you about each individual bird so you’ll know their personality and quirks before bringing them home.