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                   It’s no secret that talking birds make for popular pets. In fact, seeing a pet bird mimic human speech or performs a trick is what inspires many people to acquire a bird of their own. Some species have a greater capacity for speech than others, though no bird will learn to talk unless they can spend lots of quality time interacting with their humans and listening to repeated words and phrases. If you’re hoping to train a feathered friend to mimic your voice, here are five of the best talking birds.

i) African Grey:

Overview:

  • LENGTH: 9 to 14 inches
  • WEIGHT: 11 to 19 ounces
  • PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Mostly gray plumage with pale edging; black beak and bright red tail (Congo African grey); tan upper beak and maroon tail (Timneh African grey)

The highly intelligent African grey is often regarded as the best talking bird, with some amassing vocabularies of hundreds of words. There’s even research suggesting these parrots can use words in context to have simple conversations, though that doesn’t necessarily mean they understand what they’re saying. In any case, this kind of verbalization takes years of patient training and practice.

ii) Budgerigar:

Overview:

  • LENGTH: 6 to 8 inches
  • WEIGHT: 1 ounce
  • PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Green abdomen; black and yellow back; yellow head; dark blue tail; mutations include blue, yellow, white, and gray

Not to be outdone by the bigger birds, the budgie (or parakeet) is an excellent talking bird. In fact, budgies have broken world records for the largest bird vocabulary. While their voices tend to be a bit gravelly, budgies are capable of learning  many words and sentences. And because they are quite social birds, many enjoy practicing speech with their caretakers.

iii) Amazon Parrots:

Overview:

  • LENGTH: 15 to 17 inches
  • WEIGHT: 16 to 23 ounces
  • PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Green body; yellow head; red at the wing bend; tan beak; white rings around the eyes (double yellow-headed Amazon)

Many Amazon parrots can learn to speak with exceptional clarity, and they generally have very sweet voices. Their innate need to socialize is possibly what draws them to mimic humans. They’re intelligent, spirited birds that love being the center of attention. They bond closely with their caretakers, requiring lots of social interaction and ample space to play.

iv) Indian Ring-neck Parakeet:

Overview:

  • LENGTH: 14 to 17 inches
  • WEIGHT: 4 ounces
  • PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Green plumage; blue tail; yellow underwings; males have black and rose rings around their necks

Indian ringneck parakeets seem to have a gift for learning longer phrases, along with short words. They also tend to speak with clarity. Centuries ago in India, religious leaders who said daily prayers in their gardens began to notice local ringnecks repeating the prayers. This led to the birds being regarded as sacred and ultimately caused people to keep them as pets.

v) Quaker Parrot:

Overview:

  • LENGTH: 11 to 12 inches
  • WEIGHT: 3 to 5 ounces
  • PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS: Greenhead, wings, and body; gray breast, cheeks, and throat; blue flight feathers; mutations include blue, albino, cinnamon, lutino, and pied

Quaker parrots, also known as monk parakeets, are illegal in some parts of the United States because feral flocks have become invasive, so check local laws if you want to adopt one. Quakers are very social and tend to pick up human speech quickly. Being such fast learners, they are popular among inexperienced bird owners who are new to training a bird to talk.

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