Talking birds can provide years of companionship, entertainment and love for owners looking for an unconventional pet. In this post, our Charlotte vets offer insight into the best talking birds and their personalities, plus advice on cost and ownership.
What are the best talking birds?
Talking birds make for exciting and entertaining pets, though they don’t get that way by themselves; they’ll need lots of patient training and engagement from an attentive owner.
Here are our picks for the best talking birds.
These intelligent, charming and brightly-coloured feather 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 as they have a long lifespan and require time and energy to keep content.
In return, you'll have a loyal friend who will continually charm, amuse and entertain. Each breed will have its quirks and different personalities, so get to know them and find one to love.
Widely considered to be the smartest, most intelligent talking bird in the world, the African grey parrot originally hails from West and Central AFrican rainforests and can grow a vocabulary of hundreds of words. They are known for their exceptional understanding and imitation of human speech.
Their ability to build their vocabulary will depend on their relationship to their owner, as they tend to attach to only one person. They learn from the different types of voices that surround them most often and they are intelligent enough to make different sounds to throw off predators. Providing lots of treats as they learn will help them improve their talking ability at a quick rate.
Double Yellow Head Amazon
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 need a lot of it.
It boasts an incredible ability to mimic human voices (even opera singing) and has a love for song. You two will make some beautiful music together. A caveat for this bird: It’s a boisterous, noisy bird that will often engage in screaming sessions twice a day, at dawn and dusk. Though these are normal, it can be startling and last longer if the bird is bored due to lack of mental stimulation or attention.
Also affectionately called the budgie or parakeet, this bird can make a great pet and is capable of learning several songs and phrases. Don’t let its small size fool you; budgies have broken world records for the largest bird vocabulary, although not all birds in the species have great potential and vocabulary will vary among individual birds.
They are very smart, social birds who enjoy practicing chatting with their caretakers. You’ll find they tend to imitate words their owner frequently uses. Both females and males can imitate human speech, though male birds appear to be better at speaking words in the right tone versus females.
Known for their ability to mimic human speech and words they hear around them in high quality, some parrots will even learn and entire song and serenade you with it. Both males and females have charming voices and characteristics.
They are typically gentle and friendly, thrive on socialization with caretakers and are not usually excessively boisterous or noisy.
Indian Ringneck Parakeet
With a gift for learning longer phrases in addition to shorter words, Indian Ringneck Parakeets are notorious talkers and clever birds that can build a large vocabulary. Though they are more likely to speak in their own unique, high-pitched “bird voice” rather than mimic human voices. Many are able to learn dozens or hundreds of words.
Provided they are properly socialized and handled daily by their caretakers, are they typically charming birds who love learning new tricks (think waving hello with a foot).
Do all parrots talk?
No. Like humans, each bird is different and some will never learn to speak, regardless of their species. Choose a bird for its unique personality and because you want to give a feathered friend a good home, not because you hope it will be gifted with the ability to gab.
How much does a talking parrot cost?
Keep in mind that members of the parrot or parakeet family will need a significant commitment and investment. They can cost anywhere between $20 (for a baby budgie) and $5,000 (for a mature macaw).
Also note that birds have a much longer lifespan than the average pet - there are some larger species that will outlive even their owners, so appropriate care, budget and planning for the future is required.