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What Parrots Talk the Most

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What Parrots Talk the Most

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Parrots are known for their ability to mimic speech and other sounds. Some parrot species are extremely skilled at imitating human speech and can learn vocabularies of over 100 words. But not all parrots talk to the same degree. Some species are naturally more vocal and adept talkers.

Parrot Species That Talk the Most

There are a few parrot species that stand out for their clear speech and large vocabularies. The top talkers include:

African Grey Parrots

African Grey Parrots

African grey parrots are considered the best talking parrot species. They are exceptionally skilled at mimicking speech and other noises. Both the Congo African grey and Timneh African grey subspecies are known for their clear speaking abilities.

Key talking attributes:

  • Can learn vocabularies of over 100 words
  • Adept at mimicking human speech, whistles, phone ringing, etc.
  • Known for clear pronunciation and speech
  • High level of intelligence aids speech development

In scientific studies, an African grey named Alex demonstrated a vocabulary of over 100 words and could identify 50 different objects. Other greys have been recorded with vocabularies of well over 200 words.

Amazon Parrots

Amazon Parrots

Amazon parrots, especially the yellow-naped, double yellow-headed, and blue-fronted subspecies, are also top-level talkers. Like African greys, amazons can learn 100+ word vocabularies and are skilled at reproducing sounds like a telephone, doorbell, or alarms.

Key talking attributes:

  • Ability to learn 100+ words
  • Mimic household sounds extremely well
  • Clear speech for a parrot
  • High intelligence like African greys

One blue-fronted Amazon named Skipper had a vocabulary of over 800 words! While that vocabulary size is rare, it demonstrates the speech potential of amazons.

Indian Ringneck Parakeets

Indian Ringneck Parakeets

Indian ringneck parakeets, also known as ring-necked parakeets, are small long-tailed parrots native to Africa and Asia. They are increasingly popular as pets and make excellent talkers.

Key talking attributes:

  • Clear speech
  • Can learn vocabularies of 20-100+ words
  • Often learn phrases as well as individual words

While ringnecks may not match larger parrot species for total vocabulary size, their clear speech makes the words they do say very distinct and understandable.

Cockatoos

Cockatoos

Many species of cockatoos also make fine talkers, especially the umbrella cockatoo. Cockatoos speak clearly like African greys and amazons. However, their screechy voices can make it harder for humans to understand large vocabularies.

Key talking attributes:

  • Clear ability to mimic speech
  • Can learn vocabularies of 10-100+ words
  • Loud screechy voice can limit how many words people understand

How Well Other Parrots Talk

Beyond the top talkers already covered, many other parrot species can mimic speech to various degrees:

ParrotSpeech Ability
BudgerigarsRarely talk, few can mimic some words
CaiqueMay mimic sounds and some words, not the clearest
Canary-winged parakeetsModerate speech potential, can mimic phrases
ConuresOccasionally mimic speech, not very clear
EclectusMale eclectus parrots are decent talkers
Hawk-headed parrotsModerate mimics
MacawsMimic speech infrequently
Pionus parrotsModerate talking ability
Quaker parakeetsDecent ability to mimic phrases

While the parrots listed above may say a few words or phrases, their speech is not as clear or extensive as the top talkers. Those species should not be acquired solely for their talking ability.

What Makes Parrots Good Talkers

All parrots have the physical capacity for mimicking speech sounds. However, some traits make certain species much better at reproducing language:

Innate Vocal Ability

Parrot species like African greys and amazons that are naturally more vocal have an easier time learning to mimic novel sounds. Their innate vocal skills provide a foundation for reproducing speech.

Higher Intelligence

Smarter parrot species are better equipped to associate sounds with meaning and learn to purposefully reproduce them. African greys are one of the most intelligent birds.

Clear Sound Generation

Physical throat structures impact the clarity of parrot sounds. Birds like African greys, amazons, and Indian ringnecks have vocal anatomy suited for generating distinct sounds.

Social Inclination

Highly social birds are more likely to be stimulated by interacting with humans using speech, reinforcing talking behavior.

The combination of intelligence, social motivation, clear voice, and innate vocal ability makes some parrots far better talkers than others.

Encouraging Parrots to Talk

For parrots with talking potential, owners can encourage speech development:

  • Talk frequently with your parrot – Have many one-on-one conversations to motivate them to interact verbally.
  • Train simple words and phrases – Directly reward them with treats for mimicking specific vocabulary.
  • Leave talk radio/TV on – Background chatter can pique their interest in speech.
  • Ensure they are healthy, well-rested, and get plenty of playtime. Bored, tired, or stressed parrots are unlikely to learn new vocal behaviors.
  • Have patience – Speech takes considerable time and effort for parrots to master. Provide support without pressure.

While most parrots have some capacity for speech mimicry, African greys, amazons, Indian ringnecks, and umbrella cockatoos have demonstrated the top talking aptitudes. For owners seeking the most interactive vocal experience with their pet bird, these species are prime candidates. With training, enrichment, and good care, they can develop large vocabularies and converse using remarkably clear speech.

Frequently Asked Questions

How young should you start speech training with a parrot?

You can begin simple speech training as soon as a few months old. However, extensive training is often most effective once the bird starts vocalizing at 6-12 months old.

What is the best method for speech training?

Repetition, positive rewards, associating words with meanings, and one-on-one sessions seem most effective. Have regular small sessions and directly reward them with treats for mimicking specific sounds.

Can parrots really understand the words they are saying?

Research shows at least some species like African greys can associate words and sounds with meanings. They likely have some comprehension of the words especially common phrases they use appropriately in context. Higher level comprehension varies individually.

Do parrots get vocabularies mixed up from multiple owners?

Yes, parrots often pick up speech from different people which can get combined overtime. It’s best to be consistent sticking with certain words and phrases when working with them.

Is it common for parrots to combine words they know into new phrases?

Very common! Parrots are often creative combining known words and sounds into novel arrangements. These new utterances display an additional level of speech comprehension and mimicry skill.

Why do some parrots stop talking or reduce vocabularies as they age?

There are a few reasons parrots may talk less as seniors. Certain health issues can impact their voice. Their vocabularies also can become more set over time focused on favorite phrases. An aging brain can also lose plasticity making new verbal learning more difficult.

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