If you are looking for an unconventional pet that will provide many years of companionship and love, a talking bird may be right for you. These entertaining creatures make delightful pets for owners willing to offer birds the care they need to stay happy and healthy. Our Fairfield, NJ vets share some of their favorite talking bird species.
Which are birds that can speak?
A talking bird may be just the pet you're looking for if you want a pet that will greet you with a warm 'hello darling' as you walk through the door. However, not all talking birds have the same speech capacity, and some may be a little too loud for your liking, so do your research before purchasing a talking bird.
That said, birds don't just learn to speak all by themselves. Teaching a bird to talk will take patience and persistence as well as lots of love, care, and time together. And it's important to note 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 voices can range from beautiful and soothing to loud and shrieking! If you live in an apartment with thin walls, you should pay close attention to how the species you're considering sounds.
Are parrots the only birds that can talk?
While parrots are probably best known for their ability to mimic the human voice, not all parrots will be able to learn to 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.
What are the best talking birds for pets?
Parrots are the most common and brightly colored 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 find the right species for your lifestyle, you'll have a devoted companion who will constantly charm, amuse, and entertain you. Each breed will have its own quirks and personalities, 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 by 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 vocabulary is dependent on their relationship with their owner, as they tend to attach 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 make different sounds to ward off predators. Lots of love and treats will help them improve their communication skills quickly.
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 incredible ability to mimic human voices (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 boisterous, noisy bird that will frequently scream twice a day, at dawn and dusk. Though these are normal, they can be startling and last for a longer period of time if the bird becomes bored due to a lack of mental stimulation or attention.
This bird, also known as the budgie or parakeet, makes an excellent pet and is capable of learning a variety of songs and phrases. Don't be fooled by its small size; budgies have broken world records for the largest bird vocabulary, though not all birds in the species have the same potential, and vocabulary varies between 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 an entire song and serenade you with it. They are known for their ability to mimic human speech and repeat words that they hear around them in high quality. Males and females both have endearing voices and characteristics.
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 notorious talkers and clever birds with a talent for learning longer phrases in addition to shorter words. Although they are more likely to mimic human voices than speak in their own high-pitched "bird voice." 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 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 on the location from which 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 smuggled 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?
Non-profit rehoming organizations care for a variety of talking birds due to their lifespan and the amount of care, space, and attention they require. Many of the birds up for adoption have not been abused, but have been well loved and cared for. Many of these birds have outlived their original owners and require a new home, though many have surrendered due to family circumstances.
Reputable bird rehoming agencies will also help you to find the right bird for your lifestyle and skill level. Their volunteers and experts get to know the birds and are able to provide you with insights into the individual bird's personality.
For more information on how to choose the right bird for your household, visit our Exotic Pets page.