As a pet parent, you've probably imagined what it would be like to have a conversation with your beloved animal child. With a pet bird, there's a good chance you can! However, only certain bird species have the ability to talk. If you're looking for a talking bird you can keep as a pet, you may be interested in the African grey, mynah, quaker parrot, cockatiel, or even a budgie. Consider not just their ability to talk but also their size, lifespan, and care requirements when choosing the right talking bird for your household.
10 Pet Birds That Can Talk
Whether you're looking for a bird to bring home or are just curious about which birds can talk, this list is a great place to start. Many species of parrots, songbirds, and some starlings have the ability to mimic human language, though not all are good pets. These 10 birds each have their own unique characteristics, but they're all great talkers and even better companions.
African Grey Parrot
When most people think of a talking bird, the African grey immediately comes to mind. These gorgeous -- and very long-lived -- parrots are well known for their ability to mimic human voices and other sounds. Of the two types of African greys available, the Timneh variety is said to be more apt to talk than the Congo grey. If you acquire a baby African grey, just know they likely won't start speaking until they reach 1 or even 2 years of age.
If you aren't familiar with the hill mynah -- sometimes spelled myna -- this small, crow-like bird is a member of the starling family native to South Asia. And yes, they can talk up a storm. The mynah can imitate various voices and can reportedly learn up to 100 unique words. Hill mynahs are spirited birds who are very friendly when socialized from a young age. You're unlikely to find one at a typical pet store, so you may need to find a breeder or dealer who sells mynahs.
Rose-ringed parakeets, also known as Indian ring-necked parakeets, are chatty parrots. Not only will they pick up words and phrases, but they also love to whistle. These medium-sized birds are a vibrant green color with an attractive ring of pink feathers around their neck. As with any pet bird, the rose-ringed parakeet is a significant commitment when it comes to their care requirements as well as their lifespan. These birds can live to around 30 years of age.
Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot
Of the 30-plus Amazon parrot species, the yellow-naped variety is said to be the most talkative. They're also highly intelligent, cuddly, and cheerful. However, because these birds are endangered in the wild, you should make sure it's lawful to own a captive-bred yellow-naped Amazon in your state or country of residence. Experts caution that the yellow-naped Amazon males can get a bit grouchy (and subsequently nippy) as they age, so they may not be the best choice for children. Double yellow-headed and turquoise-fronted parrots are two other Amazon species that tend to talk a lot.
Most macaws are very large birds, but the smallest of the group, the Hahn's macaw, is also one of the chattiest. Still, these outgoing birds have large personalities packed into their small bodies. The Hahn's macaw is sweet, charming, and smart to boot. In addition to teaching them how to say several hundred words, you can also teach them intricate tricks. Just be sure to keep an eye on these tricksters because they've been known to outsmart their humans as well as outlive them. Hahn's macaws can reach the ripe age of 50 years old.
Many birds that can talk tend to chatter on even when they're not being talked to. This can lead to a noisy household. However, the Eclectus parrot is a bird with a large vocabulary but isn't loud. This species is dimorphic, which means the males and females are visually unique. Male Eclectus parrots are a bright green color, whereas the females are bright red with a black beak and purple underside. The females of this species tend to be more confident and resilient, while the males are generally more apprehensive.
With vibrant plumage and an equally vibrant personality, the quaker parrot, sometimes called the quaker parakeet, is a popular pet bird. Unfortunately these birds are considered invasive, so they're not legal to own everywhere. Be sure to check your local guidelines before trying to purchase one. If you're lucky enough to have permission to keep one of these parrots, you're in for a treat. Not only can these small birds be great talkers, but they're incredibly intelligent and friendly. Just know quaker parrots can take to chewing on furniture, so keep them happy and busy to prevent destructive behaviors.
Yes, cockatiels can talk. While these small birds generally can't learn as many words or phrases as larger parrot species, they have the ability and intelligence to speak. Most cockatiels begin by imitating noises, but with practice, you can successfully train your cockatiel to repeat basic phrases. The cockatiel is also a great choice for children due to their gentle, social nature. Just note they're much shorter-lived than the larger parrot species, with a lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
Many people might be surprised to learn that the budgerigar, also known as the budgie or simply parakeet, can talk! Some enthusiasts boast the budgie can speak as well as, if not better than, most talking parrots. In fact, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the bird with the largest recorded vocabulary was a budgie named Puck, who learned an estimated 1,728 words. Budgies are very social birds who do best in pairs, so you may be looking at not one but two talking birds in your home. Like the cockatiel, they live around 8 to 15 years.
Cockatoos aren't known for their speaking abilities, but they made the list because they can learn to talk. They can pick up a few phrases or words but are more apt at mimicking sounds or whistling. These stunning birds are notoriously stubborn, which can make training challenging. You'll need to be persistent, patient, and use positive reinforcement to encourage your cockatoo to speak.
Not All Talking Birds Will Talk
It's important to remember that each animal is an individual. Every single member of a certain species or breed won't all have identical characteristics. That means getting a talking bird that simply won't talk is possible. Some birds also won't talk on their own and need patient, consistent training. The best ways to promote chatting are to first build a bond with your bird, interact with them frequently, and use positive reinforcement training. But if your pet bird still has nothing to say, you can simply enjoy their company and bond in other ways.