A green parrot sitting on a human hand while eating seeds

How to teach a bird to talk

Teaching your bird to talk isn’t as difficult as you may think! In this blog post, we’ll discuss how to go about teaching your bird to talk. We’ll cover the basics of how birds learn and provide some tips on how you can help your bird learn to talk and a few other bits of useful information. 

With patience and proper instruction, you can get your bird chatting away in no time at all! So read on for all the information you need to get your feathered friend talking.

What birds can talk?

Birds are amazing and intelligent animals and are one of the most talkative animals in the entire world. There are an estimated 10,000 species on earth, which makes you think, well surely there must be hundreds that can talk to me, right? Well actually, no.

Not all birds have developed the ability to talk and mimic humans. When it comes to what birds can talk, it is restricted to some species of songbirds and most parrots.

Birds make amazing pets and who wouldn’t want one that can actually talk to you? That’s why parrots are the go-to bird when you’re wanting something different to the household dog or household cat.


An African Grey parrot sitting

The most popular talking parrot is the African Grey. It’s a large bird known for its vocal abilities and cognitive skills and makes a great pet. An African grey has the ability to manage up to 1000 words!


A green Quaker parrot sitting in a tree


If size is an issue, then a smaller option is the Quaker Parrot. It’s a medium-sized bird that has amazing vivid green feathers and is well known for its chatty manner, making it a great household pet. A Quaker Parrot has a vocabulary of 50 to 60 words, which is still amazing considering that a dog knows zero… 

A small Budgie sitting inside its cage on a small beam

If you want a small bird to begin with, then you can’t go wrong with a Budgie. They’re small and have a friendly nature. They love to make noise by whistling and singing and can be taught to talk, making them great pets for new bird owners and families with children. 

When it comes to how many words a budgie can learn, let’s just say that it’s a lot. In 1995, a budgie was awarded the Guinness World Records holder for talking birds with a vocabulary of over 1,700 words, one of the highest word counts ever recorded for a bird.

So, how to teach a bird to talk:

Get to know your bird - Getting to know your bird is the first and probably most important step when it comes to teaching your bird to talk. Bond with your bird - it builds the trust needed to get them talking. Let's be honest, who likes talking to strangers?

Also, understand that relationships aren't built overnight so be patient.  

Use short words - Start with short words to communicate with your bird. Repeating the word in a positive and upbeat tone will help keep your bird’s attention and entice them to mimic you.

Pick words that are short and simple. Begin with “hi” or “bye” or even your pet's name. Keep an eye out for words that catch your pet's attention. 

Repetition - The next step is good old-fashioned repetition. Repeat your word as often as you can so that your bird wants to mimic it. Some people use special devices that emit recordings of words or phrases, while others simply spend time talking to their pet and repeating key phrases in tones that excite their bird.

Multiple words and meaning - Once your pet has learnt its first word then congratulations! You did it! The next step is to start expanding on its vocabulary and adding meaning to words and sentences.

Simple things like when feeding your bird, repeating the word “food”, so that it begins to add meaning to being fed.

Do talking birds know what they’re saying?

Knowing if talking birds are aware of what they’re saying is hard to prove, but most bird owners swear that their pet birds know exactly what they’re saying, whereas others argue that they’re simply mimicking sounds that they hear. 

Some may say that it's a biased observation to claim that their beloved pet is smarter than most and can talk like us humans, but there are also studies showing that some birds may actually know what the context is of what they’re saying.

This doesn’t mean that your talking parrot who barks believes they’re a dog - most talking birds are just mimicking sounds they hear that excite them. But it is possible for your pet to know some of the things it says with the right training, so you have every right to say it does understand. 

Besides, it’s YOUR feathery friend. You know them better than anyone else, so enjoy conversing with them. 

Keep your best friend happy and healthy 

A good diet is essential for any animal, so is the right medication if they get sick and need that extra support. Luckily, we have you covered. Scriptly offers an extensive range of premium pet care. To discover Australia’s best-selling products, click here to shop now.