Talking birds can be loving and entertaining companions for pet owners willing to provide these delightful creatures with the love and attention they need to thrive. Today, our Boulder County vets discuss some of their favorite large and small talking birds.
Types of Talking Birds
If you are looking for a pet who will greet you with a warm 'hello darling' as you walk through the door, a talking bird may be just the pet you're looking for. That said, not all talking birds have the same capacity for speech and some may be a little too loud for your liking, so it's important to do your research before purchasing a talking bird.
However, birds do not learn to speak on their own. Teaching a bird to speak will require patience and determination, as well as a lot of love, care, and time spent together. It's also worth noting that some birds will never learn to speak.
Which birds are the best talkers?
Birds do not have vocal cords as humans do. In fact, your bird's voice is produced the same way as songbirds sing. So think of your bird's voice as their song for you.
When deciding which bird species is best for you, keep in mind that bird calls can range from lovely and calming to loud and screeching! If you live in an apartment with thin walls, you should pay close attention to how the species you're contemplating sounds.
Are parrots the only pet birds that talk?
While parrots are probably best known for their ability to mimic the human voice, not all parrots will be able to learn talk, and not all talking birds are parrots.
Mynah birds, crows, ravens, and starlings all have the ability to mimic the human voice to varying degrees and you can find loads of examples on YouTube that will keep you smiling.
Best Talking Birds List
Parrots are the most common and brightly colored of the talking birds. These intelligent and charming creatures are sure to provide years of companionship and chatter - if you're willing to invest in training them and keeping them healthy and happy.
One extremely important point to note if you are considering purchasing a parrot, these birds can have a very long lifespan! Depending on the species you choose, some parrots can be expected to live for 50 years or more!
That being said, if you do your research and choose the correct species for your lifestyle, you'll have a devoted companion who will constantly captivate, amuse, and entertain you. Each breed will have its own peculiarities and personality, so here are a few examples to get you started.
Considered by many to be the smartest of the talking birds, the African grey parrot can expand its vocabulary of hundreds of words. These birds are known for their exceptional understanding and imitation of human speech.
The ability of the African Grey to expand their language is dependent on their bond with their owner, as they tend to cling to only one person. They can learn from the various voices and sounds that surround them on a daily basis, and they're even intelligent enough to generate varied sounds to ward off predators. Lots of love and rewards will help them enhance their communication skills fast.
Double Yellow Head Amazon
At about 14 - 16 inches in length, this medium-sized, strikingly bright-colored parrot holds the distinction of being one of the most popular pet species of the Amazon parrot group. An affectionate pet, they are intelligent and will soak up your attention, so beware that this beauty will require loads of love and attention.
It has an extraordinary ability to replicate human sounds (including opera singing) and a passion for music. You two will create some lovely music together. A word of caution about this bird: it is a lively, noisy bird that will frequently scream twice a day, at dawn and twilight. Though they are common, they can be alarming and linger longer if the bird is bored owing to a lack of mental stimulation or attention.
This bird, often known as the budgie or parakeet, makes an excellent pet and is capable of learning a variety of songs and phrases. Don't let its small size fool you; budgies have beaten world records for the largest bird vocabulary, albeit not all birds in the species have the same capacity, and vocabulary varies across individuals.
They are very smart, social birds who enjoy practicing chatting with their caretakers. You’ll find they tend to imitate words that their owners frequently use. Both females and males can imitate human speech, though male birds appear to be better at speaking words in the right tone.
Some parrots will even learn a full song and serenade you with it. They are known for their ability to mimic human speech and repeat phrases that they hear around them in excellent quality. Males and females both have endearing voices and qualities.
These birds are typically gentle and friendly, thrive on socialization with caretakers and are not usually excessively boisterous or noisy.
Indian Ringneck Parakeet
Indian Ringneck Parakeets are known talkers and bright birds with a talent for memorizing lengthier phrases in addition to shorter words. They are more likely to speak in their own high-pitched "bird voice" than mimic human sounds. Many people can memorize dozens or hundreds of words.
Provided they are properly socialized and handled daily by their caretakers, Indian Ringneck Parakeets can be a charming pets who love learning new tricks (think waving hello with a foot).
How much does a talking bird cost?
Keep in mind that birds require a significant commitment and investment to keep them healthy and happy. Purchasing a bird can cost anywhere between $20 (for a baby budgie) and $5,000 (for a mature macaw).
It is also critical to conduct extensive research about the place from where you intend to purchase the bird. Many bird species, such as the Double Yellow Head Amazon, are threatened in their natural habitat, and some are trafficked across the border in deplorable conditions. Because you will have your bird for many years, taking the time to investigate where the bird you are considering came from is an excellent first step toward becoming a responsible bird owner.
Why should you consider adopting a talking bird?
Due to the lifespan of birds, and the amount of care, space and attention they require, there are a range of talking birds not for sale but being cared for by non-profit rehoming agencies. Many birds awaiting adoption have not been abused, but instead have been very well loved and cared for. Often these birds have outlived their first owners and need a new home, although many have been surrendered because of family circumstances.
Reputable bird rehoming organizations will also assist you in finding the best bird for your lifestyle and skill level. Their volunteers and professionals get to know the birds and can provide you with insights into the personalities of the individual birds.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.