Birds make the perfect pets as they are beautiful, playful, and affectionate to their owners. Their ability to mimic speech is a major attraction to many pet keepers. This ability to talk wins them the trophy of the best pets to keep. Many bird species can mimic speeches, with some even going a mile extra to learn words they don’t possess. Most birds have an innate talent for the art of mimicking, while others need training to mimic. To increase the capability of a bird’s speech, watch out for their diet, how you care for them and how you train them.
Keep in mind that all birds are different, and not every bird of the talking species will learn to talk. Some birds are louder than others. Some species are more able to talk than other species. A great majority of pet owners prefer teaching their pet birds how to speak, and so they like getting the birds when they are still young babies. Birds that are not afraid of people are a great advantage and can show tremendous benefits when training them. Generally, male birds are better at mimicking than female birds. Species of birds known to have exceptional speaking abilities include the following:
AFRICAN GREY PARROTS
The African Grey parrots, also known as the Congo grey parrot, or the grey parrot, is one of the most intelligent talking birds. The scientific name for this medium-sized bird species is Psittacus erithacus. Grey parrots are grey overall, with the head and wings having a deeper shade of grey. The feathers on their head and body have slight white edges and red tail feathers. The birds have black bills, dark pupils, and yellow irises. Male and female African grey parrots appear similar. Some birds are partially or wholly red due to selection by parrot breeders. African grey parrots have an average weight of 400 grams and a length of 33 centimeters. The birds have a wingspan of 46 to 52 centimeters.
Known best for their cognitive skills and intelligence, the African grey parrots have been shown to perform at the cognitive level of a four- to a six-year-old human child in some tasks. The birds can learn number sequences and associate human voices with the faces of humans who create them. The African grey parrot can create new labels for an object the bird does not know its name using existing English words.
Experiments have shown that an African grey parrot can learn more than a hundred words and differentiate between objects, colors, materials, and shapes. African grey parrots use contact calls to interact with their mates and inform them of food availability, safety status, and predators’ warnings. The grey parrots use the human language to match the social situation they are in at that time. African grey parrots have individual music preferences to which they dance and sing along.
African grey parrots require extensive behavioral and social enrichment and extensive attention while in captivity to avoid distress. When in pain, African grey parrots tend to pluck out their feathers. The birds love living with other birds as they are very social. House them in a large cage where they can fully extend their wings and flap them without touching any cage walls. Buy the birds toys to play with, especially puzzle-like toys like a knotted rope.
The diet of African grey parrots includes pellets, vegetables, and fruits low in sugar and high in phytonutrients. Such fruits include berries, kiwis, and papayas. You can also feed the birds on high-quality fresh grade walnuts in the shell and ensure they have enough fresh water daily.
Amazon parrots are medium-sized, hardy parrots in the Amazona genus and native to America. Amazon parrots are predominantly green with streaked wings, crowns, and tail feathers. The contrasting colors vary with different species. For instance, the yellow-napped amazon parrots have a yellow head, red wingtips, and white rings around their eyes. The birds have short round tails and wings and are heavily billed. Amazon parrots have an average length of 25 to 45cm and weigh 7 to 25 ounces. Male amazon parrots are slightly larger than the female.
Amazon parrots are known for their exceptional talking abilities. The yellow-napped amazon parrots can speak more clearly and string more words together in phrases than the African greys. Amazon parrots can learn 100 to 150 words. The birds have very sweet-sounding voices. Amazon parrots are relatively active compared to other bird species. They are also brilliant, social, and can even sing. Their social character makes them be in need of constant interaction and attention.
Amazon parrots are quick learners and are very committed. The birds have a pretty complex personality and therefore require experienced bird owners to train. They have specific needs, personalities, wants, and care requirements, so it’s essential that you first conduct thorough research on caring for these birds properly. With proper training, the birds become very affectionate, loving, and aggressive in an exciting way. Amazon parrots may act aggressively to strangers when they become highly attached to their breeders.
To house amazon parrots, ensure the cage is large such that you can fit into the space. The birds should be able to fully extend their wings and flap them without touching the enclosure walls. Provide the birds with many mentally stimulating toys such as foraging, shredding, and puzzles and change them every week. Ensure you consult your bird veterinarian on the best diet for your amazon parrots as they are prone to obesity. Their primary diet consists of pellets, low-sugar fruits, and plenty of vegetables. Ensure you supply the birds with enough fresh water daily. Amazon parrots can live for 40 to 50 years.
Also known as Parrotlets, the pocket parrots are small, stocky parrots native to middle and south America. This species consists of three genera, namely the Touit, Forpus, and Nannopsittaca. Parrotlets have an average weight of one ounce and a length of 4 to 5 inches. Parrotlets are considered the best pet bird to keep for beginners as they have charismatic personalities and are easy to train. They can be trained to wave, step onto your finger, and also turn around. Parrotlets can be taught to say words. The birds are not as noisy as other parrots.
Parrotlets are very aggressive, especially to other birds, despite their tiny frame and should be housed separately. The birds lose their companionability when left alone for too long. You should always keep them busy by providing toys such as rope ladders, bells to ring, and foraging toys. Their cage should be large enough for them to extend and flap their wings efficiently. Parrotlets diet consist of food pellets, low sugar fruits, and vegetables such as spinach, kales, and broccoli. Ensure fresh water supply every day. Parrotlets can live for 15 to 20 years.
INDIAN RINGNECK PARAKEETS
The scientific name for this parrot is Psittacula krameria. The ring-necked parakeets, also known as rose-ringed parakeets, are medium-sized parrots native to Africa and the Indian subcontinent. Wild ringneck parakeets are predominantly green, and the ones in captivity have different colors due to mutations and other diets. Adult male ring-necked parakeets have a red and black neck ring, while the immature birds have shadow-like pale to dark grey neck rings or no neck rings at all. Rose-ringed parakeets have an average length of 40cm and an average weight of 4 ounces. The birds have an average wingspan of 15 to17.5 centimeters.
Both male and female ring-necked parakeets can mimic human speech. They first listen keenly to their surroundings and then simulate the human speaker. The Indian rose-necked parakeets were considered sacred in their native home. Religious leaders observed as the birds repeated prayers recited daily in gardens surrounding their places of worship. Ring-necked parakeets can learn hundreds of words and are considered one of the most charming companion birds. They are usually high-pitched, thus attracting more attention. Ring-necked parakeets start talking when they are eight months to one year old. The birds are fast learners, especially if you spend quality time talking to them every day.
Young ring-necked parakeets often go through a buffing phase where they tend to be aggressive due to hormonal changes. They display aggressiveness by biting, hissing, and general resistance to interaction. Try bonding with the bird during this period as when left alone; they become more antisocial.
Also known as the monk parrots or gray-breasted parakeet, the quaker parrot is a small bright green parrot in the Myiopsitta genus. The scientific name for this parrot is Myiopsitta monachus. The birds have greyish breasts and greenish-yellow underparts. They have a long tail and dark blue flight feathers. Monk parrots in captivity can also have white, blue, and yellow plumages instead of the natural green plumage. Quaker parrots have an average weight of 100grams, a length of 29cm, and a wingspan of 48 cm. female Quaker parrots are slightly smaller than males.
Monk parrots are known to have charming and comical personalities. The birds are willing to learn human speech, making them an excellent choice for beginner bird owners. They adapt well to the human setting and are social with other species. Quaker parrots are confident with the personality of large birds in a bit of the bird’s body. These parrots tend to have a close bond with their owner and are very loyal. Quakers enjoy cuddling and petting on the head and respond with excited squeaks when they see you. They are pretty gentle and can therefore be fed by anyone, including children.
The birds have exceptional talking abilities. They can mimic lots of words and put together multiple phrases. Quaker parrots act like clowns, especially when they are more than one in a room. The birds do not make ear-piercing screams like most parrots, but they call out occasionally. Their loudness is therefore subjective.
Quaker birds are active birds and require large enclosures to play around. The birds need a lot of personal attention and mental stimulation. Keep them busy by placing a bowl of fresh water inside the chamber for their entertainment, exercise, and mental stimulation. You can feed them food pellets, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, and healthy table food. Quaker parrots died to consist mainly of fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
Eclectus parrots are dimorphic parrots native to New Guinea. The scientific name for this bird is Eclectus roratus. The Eclectus is sexually dimorphic in that the males are stark different from the females. Male Eclectus parrots are brilliant emerald green with bright orange bills, yellow-stained heads, and red and blue splashes under their wings. The underparts are creamy yellow. Female Eclectus are bright red with black beaks and deep purple markings on their tail and chest. Most female Eclectus have a blue underpart, with a few others having purple, lavender, or red bottoms. Eclectus parrots have an average length of 12 to 14 inches and a weight of 13 to 19 ounces.
Eclectus parrots are gentle, tranquil, caring, and very friendly birds. They are also known to be very intelligent and affectionate. The birds are social and enjoy interacting with their owner. Eclectus become stressed if they feel neglected. The birds are easy to train, and they learn very fast. Male Eclectus parrots are considered easier to train and are less aggressive than females.
Eclectus parrots have 100 to 150 vocabularies and are known to have clarity of speech. They also sing songs and often sing an entire song. Their mimicking ability is relatively high and has a distinctive honk that sounds amusing. They are quiet compared to other parrots, but sometimes their singing could be loud and startling.
Eclectus are active birds who like to fly, climb and stay busy. It is therefore advisable for you to provide them with plenty of space for playing and exploring. Equip their cages with toys like a climbing ladder, swings, and other fun toys for their entertainment. The diet of Eclectus parrots includes fresh fruits, vegetables, and carbohydrates. You can feed them cooked pasta or grain bake to ensure they get all the needed energy. Eclectus parrots have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years.
Cockatoos are parrot species in the Cacatuidae family. This family consists of 21 species of parrots. The birds are generally black, gray, or white with tiny yellow, pink, and red splotches on their tail and crest. Major Mitchell’s cockatoo and the Galah cockatoos have a pink plumage. Most cockatoo species have a vivid colored ring around their eyes. The Palm cockatoo, for example, has a large red patch of bare skin that surrounds the eye and covers a part of the face. Male and female cockatoos most appear similar, with only a few species showing sexual dimorphism. Examples of cockatoos with sexual dimorphism are the gang-gang cockatoo, the Red-tailed cockatoo, and the Glossy-black cockatoos. The female plumage is usually duller compared to the male plumage. Cockatoos have an average length of 12 to 24 inches and weigh 14 to 28 ounces.
Cockatoos are lively, affectionate, and cuddly birds with a great need for attention. The birds are social, playful, mischievous, and exhibit a high intelligence level. They can be loud, especially when they are excited. Cockatoos are not many speakers like other birds, but they have decent speech capabilities. They have about 10 to 50 vocabularies and can mimic almost any sound, including words. Their ability to talk depends on the species and also how they have been trained. The Sulfur-crested cockatoos, long-billed cockatoos, and the Galah are considered the best talkers in the cockatoo family. Some Cockatoos have an irritating behavior of screaming words that they have learned.
Cockatoos have a very tough beak, so their enclosure should be tough enough to withstand them. Consider a cage made of wrought iron or stainless steel for your pet cockatoo. Keep toys such as horizontal bar wires where the cockatoo can exercise by climbing on the cage sides. Cockatoos are pretty sizable, so the cages should be large enough to accommodate their free movement. Cockatoo’s diet consists of fresh foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and good quality avian food pellets. Cockatoos have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years.
Macaws are long-tailed new world parrots in the Psittacidae family. Macaws consist of 17 species of parrots. They are colorful birds with large bills, bright feathers, long tails, and light or white patches on the face. The bird’s plumage has so many color variations, including all the rainbow colors. These birds are relatively large and are dimorphic. The most common macaws kept as pets are the scarlet, the blue and gold, the hyacinth, and the military macaws. Small macaws that can be saved as pets include the Hahn’s, Illiger’s, and the Yellow-collared macaws. Macaws have an average length of 20 to 42 inches, with the mini macaw’s length ranging from 10 to 20 inches.
Macaws are very active, playful, and with prominent personalities. They are affectionate and loyal companions when well trained. It is recommended that you start training these birds from birth. Focus on hand feeding when doing early training. Train the birds to control biting, nipping, and screaming. With time you can start training the macaws to talk or to sing. Create a good rapport with your birds and initiate interactive play between you two. Macaws are usually loud and noisy often scream loud. If you cannot tolerate loud noise and frequent outbursts, macaws are not your ideal pets.
Macaws can learn to say words and mimic speeches, but their clarity is not like other birds. With consistent training, macaws can speak more clearly. The blue and gold macaw is the best talking large macaw, and the Hahn’s macaw is the best talking mini macaw.
Macaws require a large, durable, and strong cage that can withstand their beak bites. You can put a wide variety of wooden toys or plain untreated chunks of wood in the enclosure for the bird to chew. Hanging toys and toys to climb on are also a great choice. Macaws feed on food pellets, healthy fresh fruits, and vegetables. They can also eat cooked pasta, applesauce, cereals, and low-sugar snacks. Macaws are long-lived birds and can live for more than 80 years.
Budgerigars, also known as the common parakeet or shell parakeet, are small parrots in the Melopsittacus genus. These seed-eating birds have long tails. The birds are predominantly green with black bars on their wings, back, and head. Mature female Budgerigars are a tan or beige around the nostrils, while the male is bluish. Immature budgerigars have bar markings on their foreheads that recede with age. They have dark irises that gradually turn gray as they age. A variety of colors and patterns have emerged through selective breeding of the budgerigars. Such plumages include violet, yellow, blue, pied, albino, and the classic neon green plumage. Budgerigars have an average length of 18 cm and a weight of 30 to 40 grams. The birds have an average wingspan of 30 centimeters. The common budgerigars kept as pets are the American budgie and the English budgie.
Budgerigars are gentle, obedient birds that are easy to tame, especially at a young age. These birds love company and prefer living in pairs. They are active and very playful, especially with their mates. Budgerigars are quieter than most parrots. The birds may not have strong bonds with their keepers and are not very fluent in mimicking sounds. It’s quite a challenge to train these birds to mimic sounds and sing songs, but you can start with easy words and keep on progressing. Budgerigars have a vocabulary of 100 to 500 words. A budgie named Puck worn the Guinness World Records for the bird with the most extensive language having 1,728 separate words before their death. Budgerigars are gifted to mimic other sounds such as a creaking door, a squeaking chair, or a tone of a text message coming into a phone if it’s recurrent enough times.
Budgerigars are playful and active birds that require ample space for them to fly around and play. The enclosure should be large enough to accommodate two budgies as they seem happier when kept in pairs. The diet of a budgerigar consists of food pellets, seeds, fruits, and vegetables like carrots, corn, spinach, broccoli, and beans. Budgerigars have a lifespan of 8 to 10 years.
The Derby parakeet, commonly known as Lord Derby’s parakeet, is a parrot in the Psittacula genus. The scientific name for Derbyan parakeet is Psittacula derbiana. Derby parakeets are sexually dimorphic. The birds have green legs, wings, and necks with purplish-blue marking on the head, chest, and belly. Both sexes have a black facial stripe wrapping around their forehead and another one around their chin and neck. Female Derbyan parakeets have an all-black beak, while the males have an orange-red beak. Immature Derbyan parakeets have duller plumage, and the juveniles have a green crown, orange-red bill, and dark irises. Derby parakeets have an average length of 45 to 50 cm and an average weight of 11 ounces.
Derby parakeets are known to be highly intelligent and very social, with a curious personalities. They are affectionate and cuddly to their owners when they grow fond of them. This outgoing personality makes it easy and fun to train the Derbyan parakeets. Derby parakeets require a lot of stimulation to avoid boredom. They, therefore, need many toys and other engaging objects as well as maximum interaction with their human breeders.
Derby parakeets love talking and may get noisy occasionally. Some Derby parakeets prefer to live quietly and do not talk or sing much. Derby parakeets can go from babbling to competent speech or complete sentences when well trained.
Derby parakeets require a large well-lit enclosure where they can roam around freely. Keep them entertained and busy by engaging them with toys and hanging out with them, for example, while watching TV. Derby parakeets require time out of their cages to explore the outside world. Bath them regularly and change their food and water daily. You can feed them food pellets, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Derby parakeets have a lifespan of up to 30 years.
Pionus parrots are small, stocky parrots native to Mexico, central and south America. There are eight parrot species in the pionus genus. They are often confused with amazon parrots are smaller, quieter, and have deeper wing-strokes when flying. The birds have different colors varying with the other species. They are very colorful and beautiful when they reach full maturity. The birds have short tails and bright red undertail. Most of the bird species have blue or green plumages.
The most common Pionus parrots kept as pets are the Blue-headed, the Maximilian, and the white-capped Pionus parrots. The birds are not much active and do not enjoy a hands-on play or overstimulating activities. They, however, provide a great companion to their keeper and are considered gentle and charming. Pionus parrots tend to be aggressive when frightened and make short little bursts, almost as if they have difficulty breathing.
Pionus parrots aren’t among the best bird talkers, but some species can garner an impressive vocabulary though not clear. A pionus owner can make out what the bird is rasping. Despite their quiet nature, Pionus parrots can be noisy if they live in noisy environments.
Pionus parrots diet consist mainly of food pellets, nutria berries, fresh fruits, and vegetables. The birds are prone to obesity, so you should watch out for their fat intake. Pionus parrots have a lifespan of more than 30 years.
A canary is a small songbird in the finch family native to the Canary Islands. The canaries are greenish-yellow with yellow underparts. Captive canaries come in an array of bright colors due to selective breeding. The most common domesticated canary is yellow, with others being orange, white, and red. The canaries have an average weight of not more than one ounce an average length of 4 to 8 inches.
The canaries are social birds that love human company. However, the birds do not like heavy handling the way budgerigars and parrots do. They are intelligent and easy to train. A canary is qualified to sit on your hand, move to a perch or fly in a particular direction. The canaries are better prepared when young, as older ones require more patience to tame. Do not house two male canaries in one cage as they tend to act aggressively towards one another.
The song canary is the most popular pet canary and is specifically bred to sing. Male canaries are better with sounds and can develop elaborate songs than female canaries who mostly vocalize with chirps.
Canaries love flying, so their enclosure should be large enough. Canaries, unlike parrots, do not require many toys, so you can just put a single toy, a mirror, or a branch to perch on. Provide the birds with a bowl of fresh water daily and give them a unique bath several times a week. Canaries’ diet consists of a good quality seed mixture coated with vitamins, food pellets, fruits, and vegetables such as celery, peas, watercress, dandelions, spinach, and broccoli. Hard-boiled eggs are also excellent protein supplements to the canaries.
Many bird keepers look for birds that can talk or sing as they seem more attractive. Talking birds are easy to train and manage and give satisfying results. A talking pet gives great company, pleasure and productively occupies you. Carry out intensive research before adopting a pet bird to be well informed on the talking bird you are taking in. Take your time to train your favorite pet bird, be patient with the bird, and it will surely not disappoint you. Keep a record of the developments and celebrate the small wins and achievements.