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10 Best Talking Pet Bird Species (With Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove

 

There are several good reasons to have a pet bird: they are beautiful, affectionate, and playful. But it’s their ability to mimic speech that attracts many people to them over more traditional pets like dogs and cats. Some birds have incredible vocabularies of hundreds of words — notably, parrots like the African Grey — while other parrots have lesser vocabularies but are easier to care for overall.

There are dozens of bird species that are capable of mimicking speech, although some have incredible capabilities of learning words that others just don’t possess. That said, training, diet, and care are all part of keeping your bird healthy and thus, increasing their capability of speech. These factors are arguably more important than simply choosing a talkative species. Still, some have an innate talent for the art of mimicking, and here are 10 of our favorites!

divider-bird

1. African Grey

African Grey Parrot
Image Credit: TheOtherKev, Pixabay
Species: Psittacus erithacus (Congo African Grey), P. erithacus subspecies timneh (Timneh African Grey)
Size: 10-13 inches
Vocabulary: 50-200 words
Lifespan: 40-50 years

The African Grey is one of the most well-known talking birds and for good reason. Researchers have proven that these birds have one of the largest capabilities for learning to mimic speech. Some are known to have memorized 1,000 words and more with the right training. These birds are highly intelligent and need a ton of mental stimulation, so they are quite a challenge to look after.


2. Amazon Parrot

Amazon parrot on branch
Image Credit: fiz_zero, Shutterstock
Species: Amazona auropalliata (Yellow-naped), Amazona ocrocephala (Yellow Crowned Amazon), Amazona oratrix (Double Yellow Headed), Amazona aestiva (Blue Fronted Amazons), Amazona amazonica (Orange-winged Amazon)
Size: 13-15 inches
Vocabulary: 100-150 words
Lifespan: 50-70 years

Amazon parrots are also known for their exceptional speaking abilities and have an ability to speak more clearly and string more words together in phrases than African Greys, notably the Yellow-Naped variety. These birds are large, hardy, and active, and in addition to their speaking, they have a loud, piercing squawk too. They are also highly adept at learning tricks and even singing. However, many owners claim that they become highly attached to their keepers and may act aggressively toward strangers.


3. Quaker Parakeet

Quaker Parakeet
Image Credit: Jean van der Meulen, Pixabay
Species: Myopsitta monachus
Size: 8-11 inches
Vocabulary: 40-100 words
Lifespan: 20-30 years

Also commonly known as the Monk Parakeet, the Quaker Parakeet is a small, intelligent, and active bird that is known to talk incessantly when they’re in the mood and mimic various other sounds from their environment. They are often described as having the personality of a Cockatoo in the body of a Parakeet because they are so entertaining and interactive and don’t have the high care needs of larger birds.


4. Ring-Necked Parakeet

indian ring necked parakeet_MawardiBahar_shutterstock
Image Credit: MawardiBahar, Shutterstock
Species: Psittacula krameri
Size: 10-16 inches
Vocabulary: 200-250 words
Lifespan: 20-30 years

The Ring-Necked Parakeet hails from India and Asia and was kept as a pet by royalty because their talking skills were so highly revered. While they are intelligent animals known for having vocabularies amounting to hundreds of words, they are far more docile and quieter than other taking parrots and need a fair bit of training and interaction with their owners.


5. Eclectus Parrot

Eclectus Parrot
Image Credit: Hans Braxmeier, Pixabay
Species: Eclectus roratus
Size: 12-14 inches
Vocabulary: 100-150 words
Lifespan: 20-30 years

Native to New Guinea, Eclectus Parrots are known for the clarity of their speech and can commonly be heard singing too — often entire songs! These parrots are different from many other species in that they are dimorphic, meaning that males are starkly different in appearance from females. Males are generally also more docile than females, although both have the same gift for mimicking speech and sounds.


6. Budgerigars

budgerigars-pixabay
Credit: pixel2013, Pixabay
Species: Melopsittacus undulatus
Size: 5-7 inches
Vocabulary: 100-500 words
Lifespan: 8-10 years

Despite their tiny size, Budgies have a massive vocabulary. In fact, a Budgie named Puck has the Guinness World Record for the largest vocabulary of any bird and knew an incredible 1,728 separate words before their death. These small, interactive, and intelligent birds are popular pets for various reasons, not least their capability for learning an incredible amount of words.


7. Macaws

scarlet macaw
Image Credit: Angie Toh, Pixabay
Species: Ara macao
Size: 10-40 inches
Vocabulary: 50-100 words
Lifespan: 40-50 years

Macaws are the largest species of parrot, with Hyacinth Macaws often reaching 40 inches in length. They have fairly extensive vocabularies but can be difficult to train. These birds are intelligent, energetic, and loud, making them a challenge for novice owners. While their speech is not as clear as some other parrots, they make up for it by being excessively loud. They have the unique skill of mimicking other sounds and singing songs too.


8. Cockatoo

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
Image Credit: sandid, Pixabay
Species: Eolophus roseicapilla (Rose-breasted or Galah), Cacatau sulphurea (Yellow-crested), Cacatau tenuirostris (Long-billed corella)
Size: 10-18 inches
Vocabulary: 10-50 words
Lifespan: 30-50 years

Cockatoos are intelligent and extremely social birds that can have a fairly wide vocabulary — with the right training. Some individuals may never learn to talk, while others will mimic a wide variety of sounds. It depends on their environment and training. Also, some species, such as the Yellow-Crested, are more adept at learning speech. While they do not have as wide a vocabulary as many other parrot species, Cockatoos are certainly not quiet. These birds are known for being one of the loudest parrot species.


9. Derbyan Parakeet

Species: Psittacula derbiana
Size: 10-20 inches
Vocabulary: 20-50 words
Lifespan: 20-30 years

The Derbyan Parakeet is one of the largest parakeet species and is sexually dimorphic. They are lively and active birds that can be a challenge to train. While they are known to be noisy, they can learn several dozen words with training too. Although they don’t have as large a vocabulary as some other parrot species, their clarity of speech is what sets them apart from the rest. They are rare birds, and their numbers are dwindling in the wild due to illegal poaching.


10. Hill Myna

Hill Myna
Image Credit: vinsky2002, Pixabay
Species: Gracula religiosa
Size: 10-12 inches
Vocabulary: 50-100 words
Lifespan: 15-20 years

The Hill Myna is not a parrot but has an extensive vocabulary that compares to many parrot species. They have a wide range of vocalizations that can include whistling, screeching, and speech that is close to a human’s — they can mimic human speech in almost the exact tone and timbre, which is almost unsettling in its accuracy. They are native to Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia and adapt easily to new environments. Their popularity as pets is rapidly growing.


Featured Image Credit: Nel Botha, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.