Birds are wonderful pets! They are affectionate and are simple to train. Moreover, Some bird species’ ability to communicate verbally is one of their most intriguing traits! They may even learn to imitate their owners’ words and phrases if they spend enough time with them. What other animal can do that?
Every bird is unique, so it’s important to remember that not all members of a talking species will actually learn to speak. Furthermore, some birds that do talk do so silently while others shout out loud. So, without further ado let’s dive into the details of these birds.
List of best talking birds to keep as pets
Although not all bird species can imitate human speech, talking birds other than parrots exist. Even while not all talking birds are good pets, it’s fascinating that they can communicate.
We’ve compiled a list of talking birds below if you’re curious about which birds speak the most:
Myna bird talking
- Scientific name: Acridotheres tristis
- Lifespan: 6-10 years (wild); up to 15 years (captivity)
- Size: 9-10 inches (22-26 cm)
- Weight: 3.5-4.5 ounces (100-130 grams)
- Origin: Southern Asia, introduced to other regions.
Mynas are softbill birds in the family of starlings. The two primary species maintained as pets are hill mynas and common mynas, with the former being more prevalent in Western countries.
In addition to whistling and screeching, myna birds can also accurately imitate human speech, placing them on par with parrots in this regard. Around 100 words can be mimicked by myna, but it takes time and practice.
Some myna birds acquire a larger vocabulary than others. They may develop their talents by hearing you speak with emotion.
It’s also a good idea to establish a close relationship with your myna bird before you begin training it since it will be more likely to repeat your speech.
Around three to four months is when most myna birds utter their first “hello,” so you can start developing their communication abilities then.
- Scientific Sturnus vulgaris
- Lifespan: 2 – 3 years
- Size: 8-inch
- Native to: Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as northern Australia and the islands of the tropical Pacific.
Compared to most other birds, European starlings are highly clever.
They may be maintained as pets if they are saved rather than purchased since they are an invasive species.
Starlings replicate the noises of many animals, such as cats, frogs, and goats, in addition to talking. They also mimic domestic noises like alarms and appliance beeps.
Starlings use a variety of sounds into their songs to imitate in order to defend their territory and impress possible mates.
- Scientific name: Mimus polyglottos
- Lifespan: 8-10 years (wild); up to 20 years (captivity)
- Size: 8-10 inches (20-25 cm)
- Weight: 1.5-2 ounces (40-60 grams)
- Origin: North and Central America
Mimus polyglottos, the scientific term for mockingbirds means “mimic of many languages.”
Although captive mockingbirds are taught to mimic human sounds, northern mockingbirds are not as adept at mimicking speech as parrots, ravens, and crows.
Males can talk more than females. Because of this, males must utilize their vocal prowess to entice females for mating.
- Scientific name: Corvus brachyrhynchos
- Lifespan: 7-8 years (wild); up to 20 years (captivity)
- Size: 16-20 inches (40-51 cm)
- Weight: 12-16 ounces (340-450 grams)
- Origin: Found in various regions across North America, Europe, and Asia.
Similar to parrots, crows can also talk like humans.
Although it’s doubtful that you’ll encounter a crow in the wild that can speak, captive crows or birds that spend time with people may pick up on human speech patterns.
Zoos and nature preserves are home to the greatest talking crows. They mostly caw, but they also use their mimicry skills, to communicate.
Crows are able to mimic human speech because they have strong memory and the ability to remember faces. They also make a lot of noise as other crows pass away, demonstrating how intelligent they are.
According to Corvid Research, scientists played back both familiar and foreign languages to large-billed crows. They found that, without instruction, they could discriminate between different human languages.
- Scientific name: Corvus corax
- Lifespan: 10-15 years (wild); up to 40 years (captivity)
- Size: 22-27 inches (56-69 cm)
- Weight: 1.5-4.5 pounds (0.7-2 kg)
- Origin: Found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, including North America, Europe, and Asia.
One of the world’s smartest bird species is the raven.
They may be taught to talk while kept in captivity. They can also imitate noises like animal cries, toilet flushes, automobile engines, and device beeps.
On average, ravens know around 100 different words. They can sing and imitate other animal noises with their deep voices as well.
In contrast to crows, ravens in zoos and wildlife centers are more likely to learn human words and phrases. The more you talk to a raven, the more it will pick up on your speech patterns.
- Scientific name: Menura novaehollandiae
- Lifespan: 15-20 years (wild); up to 30 years (captivity)
- Size: 31-39 inches (80-100 cm)
- Weight: 2.2-4.4 pounds (1-2 kg)
- Origin: Found in Australia, primarily in the southeastern regions, including New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland.
Any sound, including human speech, chainsaws, automobile engines, and music, may be imitated by lyrebirds. They precisely duplicate these noises in addition to doing so.
Even lyrebirds that live in the wild and communicate with people can imitate human speech. They pay attention to adjacent people and mimic their voice and vocabulary.
The Superb and the Albert are the two primary types of lyrebirds. Albert lyrebirds imitate better than superb lyrebirds, which are significantly bigger.
- Scientific name: Cracticus tibicen
- Lifespan: 20-25 years (wild); up to 30 years (captivity)
- Size: 17-20 inches (44-50 cm)
- Weight: 9-14 ounces (250-400 grams)
- Origin: Found throughout Australia, including urban and rural areas.
Australian magpies that live with people talk and imitate human speech.
However, they cannot be kept as pets, and it is forbidden to transport them outside of their home country of Australia. They may, however, often be seen in zoos, zoological gardens, and wildlife refuges.
Magpies’ ability to identify the faces of both people and animals is evidence of how effective their memories are.
Best Talking Parrots
Parrots are among the most skilled bird talkers, as was previously established. Some parrot species can imitate human speech, although not all of them are skilled at it. The best communicators are found in the following parrot species:
African Grey Parrots
The finest talking parrots are African Greys. They can utilize human speech in the same manner as young toddlers, according to a research published in the journal Applied Animal Behavior Science and can memorize and recite numbers in addition to speaking simple requests.
They are known as the Einsteins of the parrot world because of their highly developed cognitive abilities, which also make them popular pets.
African grey parrots can talk with their owners in context using a vocabulary of well over 100 words.
Your African grey will be encouraged to learn new words and phrases even if you leave the TV or radio on nearby.
- Scientific name: Amazona oratrix
- Lifespan: 60-80 years
- Size: Approximately 13-15 inches (33-38 cm) in length
- Weight: Around 16-20 ounces (450-570 grams)
- Origin: Native to Mexico and Central America, particularly found in regions such as Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico.
Amazon parrots are kind and entertaining. In addition to being superb singers and talkers, they have developed a large vocabulary that demonstrates their highly developed mimicry skills.
Compared to most other birds, amazon parrots have softer, sweeter sounds. They are able to sing beautifully because of this.
They quickly take up new words and phrases and do so with minimal instruction. However, if owners take the time to teach them, they will become more adept at conversing.
The most skilled speakers of this species are blue-fronted Amazon parrots. They not only imitate well, but also have human-like speech patterns. Other intelligent Amazon parrots are the Yellow-crowned, Double Yellow-Head, and Yellow-Naped Amazon parrots.
Although Amazon parrots are skilled speakers, not all of them will learn the same number of words and phrases. Some of them take up new words more slowly than others, while others refuse to do so at all.
Cockatiel Talking Birds
- Scientific name: Nymphicus hollandicus
- Lifespan: 15-20 years (wild); up to 25 years (captivity)
- Size: 12-14 inches (30-36 cm)
- Weight: 2.5-3.5 ounces (70-100 grams)
- Origin: Native to Australia, specifically found in the arid regions of the interior and coastal areas.
Compared to other parrot species, cockatiels are more subdued. They lack the wide vocabulary of African greys and Amazon parrots.
They can learn common words and expressions like “hi” and “beautiful bird.” Your cockatiel will be able to repeat more words if you teach them a fewer syllables.
At about eight months old, cockatiels start conversing. If you begin teaching it sooner than this, it will learn far more vocabulary and may advance to more difficult sounds.
Repeating words can help cockatiels understand what is being said since they learn via repetition.
Although male cockatiels communicate more often than females, any of them may be trained to talk. Cockatiels will make an effort to repeat words and phrases as long as they like the learning process.
- Scientific name: Myiopsitta monachus
- Lifespan: 20-30 years
- Size: Approximately 11-12 inches (28-30 cm) in length
- Weight: Around 3.5-5.3 ounces (100-150 grams)
- Origin: Native to South America, specifically found in regions such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay.
Quaker parrots can imitate human speech and noises quite effectively.
A lot of quakers pick up new skills by listening to their owners and repeating what they hear. Additionally, they pick up the phrases and words that catch their attention.
When quaker parrots speak, they babble in a manner reminiscent of a radio playing in the distance. When they want to, they also talk clearly. It’s a positive sound since talking implies that they are happy and at ease.
- Scientific name: Eclectus roratus
- Lifespan: 30-50 years
- Size: Approximately 17-20 inches (43-51 cm) in length
- Weight: Males weighing around 13-19 ounces (370-540 grams) and females weighing around 13-22 ounces (370-625 grams)
- Origin: Native to the Solomon Islands, Sumba, New Guinea, and nearby islands in the Pacific region.
For speech ability, Eclectus parrots are among the top three parrot species.
Once they have a sufficiently large vocabulary, they may begin to chatter and accumulate large number of human words. They respond well to teaching since they are exceptionally clever birds.
The self-destructive habits of Eclectus parrots include feather plucking and mutilation. Speaking to them gives them the mental exercise they need to maintain mental wellness and lowers the likelihood of stress.
Cockatoos are among the finest talking bird species.
While some cockatoos are better than others, all of them can acquire words and phrases with constant instruction starting at a young age.
Galah, sulphur-crested, and cockatiels are the cockatoos that imitate human speech the best. In particular, if they often listen to the radio or TV or converse with their owners, they can speak between 20 to 30 distinct words.
Compared to other parrot species, they don’t have the most diverse vocabulary. Additionally, cockatoos ramble and use meaningless words and phrases. Because they repeat what they believe they heard.
You must embrace the possibility that your cockatoo may never learn to speak clearly if it makes mistakes with words.
Macaw Talking Birds
Origin: Native to the tropical lowlands, savannah, and swamplands of Brazil, the Guianas, Bolivia, Venezuela, and far south-eastern Peru.
Size: 12 inches
Weight: 4-6 ounces
Life Span: 25-40 years
The superb mimicry skills of macaws are well known. They can pick up to 100 human words, and they can even utilize such words in sentences.
Once they are 4-5 months old, macaws begin to converse if you teach them early enough. The majority begin to talk once they are 8 months old.
A flock of macaws that cursed at visitors to a wildlife park in England previously had to be removed. In a restricted room with five other parrots, they allegedly taught one another swear phrases.
The macaws pushed each other to curse even more since the crew was laughing at their antics. Staff brought them back out for visitors to enjoy some lighthearted entertainment when the cursing persisted.
Additionally, if you buy a macaw, be aware that they might be noisy when they chat since they are loud birds.
- Scientific name: Melopsittacus undulatus
- Lifespan: 5-10 years
- Size: Approximately 7-8 inches (18-20 cm) in length
- Weight: Around 1-1.4 ounces (30-40 grams)
- Origin: Native to Australia
Do budgies have the ability to talk? Despite their little size, they have an astounding vocabulary.
They really speak more clearly than several kinds of bigger parrots. Some parrots can memorize up to 100 words.
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America reports that budgies can imitate words and phrases better than others because they have a sophisticated trained vocal repertoire of sounds.
Teaching a budgie to speak might take some time. They find it simpler to increase their vocabulary after they’ve learned a few words.
Male budgies talk more fluently than female budgies do.
How to Train a Bird To Talk?
It’s exciting and fulfilling to teach your bird to talk. To see results, it must be done repeatedly since it takes a lot of time and patience.
If your bird doesn’t replicate words and phrases as rapidly as you’d want, the trick is to be upbeat and not lose hope. It takes some birds longer than others.
These steps will help you teach your bird:
Know more about your bird:
This stage may be skipped if you’ve previously done your research and bought a bird that should be able to communicate.
To determine if your bird is likely to imitate, learn more about its species. Focus on engaging in other activities with your bird if it isn’t well renowned for its mimicry abilities.
Establish a Connection
The greatest method to help your bird learn is to develop a connection with it. Birds with the ability to communicate are sociable creatures that like forming ties with their humans.
Your bird will begin replicating your speech after it has earned your trust and become used to hearing it from you. To foster a bond, engage in frequent conversation with your bird, provide it mental stimulation by using toys and games, handle it daily, and give it goodies.
Use plain language
Once you’ve developed a relationship with your bird, you can start teaching it by using short phrases like “Hello,” “Night-night,” “Bye-bye,” “Okay,” and “Pretty bird.”
To make sure you have the bird’s entire attention, hold it quite near to your lips.
In order for your bird to hear and comprehend you, repeat your selected word or phrase while speaking slowly, clearly, and briefly. Doing this for more than a few minutes at a time will make your bird bored and uninterested.
Make Sure Your Bird Enjoys It
Make speaking to your bird enjoyable by rewarding it with sweets and love when it repeats a word. If your bird doesn’t want to accomplish anything, don’t reward it.
To avoid boredom and exhaustion, provide your bird with a range of sounds to repeat. Your bird is more likely to mimic you if you sing the word or phrase.
Put recordings on.
Playing recordings of the words and phrases you want to teach your bird is yet another smart move.
To assist your bird in beginning to absorb sounds and words, you may leave the radio and television on. Don’t leave them on for too long, however.
Never lose your cool with your bird. Certain birds learn words and phrases much more gradually than others. Some birds never even begin to talk. The personality and capacity for learning of your bird will determine everything.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Talking Birds
How Can Some Birds Talk?
Birds are able to communicate because their brains resemble those of humans. There are two essential components:
While the cerebellum governs voluntary motor activities, the cortex regulates perception, sensory information, memory, and language. Together, the two areas of the brain enable vocalization in birds.
The pontine nuclei, a neuronal highway that connects the cerebellum and cortex despite their distal locations, transports information between them.
Large pontine nuclei, in particular, are thought to be responsible for parrots’ ability to speak in a human-like manner, according to researchers from the University of Alberta.
They quickly recognized that this was untrue and that, instead of pontine nuclei, they had medial spiriform nuclei, which serve the similar purpose and are exclusively present in birds.
A link was also discovered between the cortex’s size and the medial spiriform nucleus, providing birds with a more direct route to becoming skilled vocal learners and speakers.
The pallium, which is the grey and white matter covering the top surface of the cerebellum, has more cells in birds. The ability to imitate is something that talking birds possess in greater quantities than non-talking ones.
Why do Birds Talk?
Birds pick up human speech patterns because they desire to blend in and regard their owners as members of their flock.
Through noises and cries, birds communicate with one another. They have a higher chance of surviving when they are in a flock because it protects them from predators and enables them to seek for food together.
How Can Birds Talk Without Vocal Cords?
It is fascinating that birds can mimic human speech since they lack voice chords, lips, and teeth. Parrots cannot talk because they lack vocal chords, but they can imitate noises that they hear.
Birds have a vocal organ in their breasts called a syrinx in place of vocal chords. This is a muscular, liquid-filled space located at the base of the trachea in the spinal cord or brain.
Birds may create a variety of sounds by varying the depth and form of the syrinx since each branch of the structure has an independent valve.
Why Can Birds Talk and Not Other Animals?
The ability to replicate human speech is unique among animals. That’s because in mammals, the pontine nuclei are undeveloped and the medial nucleus is well developed.
Birds replicate what they hear by coordinating the voluntary motor activity controlled by the cerebellum with the sensory information from the brain, which is different from other animals.
Do Birds Understand Us?
Despite their amazing mimicry skills, it’s unclear that birds comprehend the meanings of the words and phrases they use.
Owners may develop some contextual awareness as a result of their frequent interactions with their birds, but this knowledge is based more on behavior than on a grasp of the meanings.
Your bird will learn to say “hi” every time you enter a room if you greet it when you first arrive. This will give the impression that the bird knows what “hello” means, but in reality, it only knows when to utter it.
Some birds can communicate with their owners verbally. Once again, this does not imply that the bird comprehends what it is saying.