Discover the Top 8 Smartest Types of Parrots in the World

Group of Ara parrots, Red parrot Scarlet Macaw, Ara macao and military macaw (ara militaris)
© xtrekx/iStock via Getty Images

Written by Em Thomas

Published: November 16, 2023

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Parrots are some of the most beautiful birds on the planet, but they’re more than just their feathers! These colorful birds make up some of the smartest birds on Earth. They come in all hues and sizes, but their brains are unmatched. From advanced language skills to incredible problem-solving, these parrots exhibit incredible intelligence which makes them fascinating pets. Read on to discover the eight smartest types of parrots in existence.

8 Smartest Types of Parrots in the World
Parrots are among the smartest birds on the planet.

8. Budgie

budgies are in the roost on the green background

These small birds come in a wide array of colors. Generally, budgies are under 7 inches tall and weigh only an ounce! It can be difficult to tell the gender of budgies, but looking at their cere can give some indication. Many types of parrots are difficult to sex.

©Khmel/iStock via Getty Images

One of the smallest birds on the list is the budgie. Budgies (short for budgerigar) are small but mighty thinkers. They are some of the easiest parrots to adopt, making them a great option for beginning bird owners looking to explore training. Budgies are great performers, capable of a wide range of tricks. They can also be trained to talk, so if you’re looking for a humorous vocalist, they can be a great option.

7. Indian Ringneck Parakeet

Close up of a Green Indian Ringneck Parrot

While Indian ringneck parakeets are related to budgies, they’re a bit larger. These birds are generally around 16 inches long. Only male ringneck parakeets develop the rose-colored ring around their neck.

©AusCroft/Shutterstock.com

Related to the budgie is the Indian ringneck parakeet. These parakeets, also called rose-ringed parakeets, are known for the unique coloring around their necks. Indian ringneck parakeets demand a lot of attention, but they bring incredible smarts to the table. These birds are great vocabulary learners. They don’t mimic the human voice like some species of parrots do, but they can develop extensive vocabularies, making them one of the smartest parrots in the world.

6. Monk Parakeet

Beautiful colours of a monk parakeet

Monk parakeets are also known as the Quaker parrot! They’re one of the only parakeet species that prefer to live in groups. However, if domesticated, they will take their humans as their flock!

©Roel van Moorsel/Shutterstock.com

Another small bird on the list of smartest birds in the world is the monk parakeet. These bright parakeets are about 11 inches long and live in the wild in South America and the tip of Florida. Monk parakeets are illegal to own in some states, so be sure to check your local laws if you’re looking to adopt one as a pet. Like the other parakeets on this list, monk parakeets in captivity can mimic the sounds of their human flock. As they practice, their vocabularies can grow quite large.

5. Macaw

Flock of Blue and gold macaw birds together perching on log in the zoo, beautiful parrots

Macaws can vary in size, but some have a wingspan up to four feet wide! These are blue and gold macaws, but there are actually 17 types of macaws, varying in color and size!

©Super Prin/Shutterstock.com

Jumping significantly in size from the parakeets on the list, we reach another one of the smartest parrots in the world: the macaw. Full-size macaws are, on average, 40 inches in length! Like their smaller parrot relatives, macaws are capable of learning tricks and developing a rich vocabulary. In fact, some macaws are thought to have the intelligence of a toddler! Macaws are gentle and affectionate birds, making them a good option for a pet. However, be prepared to care for the bird for up to fifty years!

4. Eclectus Parrot

Eclectus Parrot, Eclectus roratus, pair standing on a branch, green male and red female.

These birds are smart and affectionate, making them great candidates for pets. However, they’re very large, so it’s important that Eclectus parrot owners have plenty of space. These birds, like many parrots, also live for between 30 and 50 years. Be prepared for a multi-decade commitment!

©slowmotiongli/Shutterstock.com

Another beautiful and intelligent species on this list is the Eclectus parrot. Eclectus parrots come in a couple of different color variations, as seen above. These birds are stunning, but they also boast a lot of brains! These birdies respond well to positive reinforcement and, with adequate training, can perform a wide variety of skills. They can talk, do tricks, and even execute tasks! These birds got their names from the word “eclectic” because of their bold and varied coloration.

3. Cockatoo

cockatoo

Some cockatoos demonstrate exceptional problem-solving skills. Cockatoos have been observed picking locks and solving puzzles, so be careful what your bird has access to!

©iStock.com/phototrip

Another smart parrot is the cockatoo. These mid-size parrots reach around 18 inches in length and are wonderful pets. They can learn to talk, though they aren’t as chatty as some of the parrots on this list. However, the birds are still extremely intelligent. Studies have proven that cockatoos are indeed smarter than human toddlers, even if undomesticated!

2. Amazon Parrot

Turquoise Fronted Amazon parrots

These are turquoise-fronted Amazon parrots, one of the most beautiful types of Amazon parrot. All Amazon parrots are green, but the variation between types occurs in their head coloration.

©iStock.com/Lucas Pacheco

On the top of the list of smartest parrots in the world is the Amazon parrot. Amazon parrots are actually contenders for the smartest birds in the world, exhibiting some incredible intelligence in a variety of ways. These birds are 13-15 inches long and absolutely beautiful, but they’re coloring isn’t what makes them fascinating. Amazon parrots can develop rich vocabularies and their ability to mimic the human voice is almost unmatched. Additionally, these birds can do all sorts of tricks and tasks.

1. African Grey Parrot

Mysterious Gray Animals - african grey parrot

These birds can be fantastic pets, though they are known to demand attention. They can get a bit noisy if not given adequate attention.

©iStock.com/n1kcy

Finally, the smartest parrot in the world is the African grey parrot. African grey parrots are also revered as the smartest birds on Earth. These parrots are capable of a long list of tricks and tasks, and they can also develop extensive vocabularies. African grey parrots are thought to be the smartest of all nonhuman animals, including apes. They have the cognitive ability of a 4 to 6-year-old human child and can execute incredible tests. They can identify objects by color and shape and they generally also exhibit signs of emotional intelligence.

Summary of the Smartest Parrots on Earth

The smartest parrots in the world are a diverse crew. They’re varied in size and color, as well as skill level. Budgies can execute tricks and repeat a few words here and there, while African grey parrots can solve complete puzzles! Parrots are clearly an impressive breed of bird, capable of incredible things. If you’re looking to adopt a parrot in the future, be sure to do thorough research before selecting the bird for you. Many of these birds are significant time commitments!

For a quick glance at the key points of these genius birdies, here’s a summary of the smartest parrots in the world:

RankBirdSizeCharacteristics
1.African Grey Parrot13 inches in length; up to 18 ounces in weightExcellent human speech mimickers with big vocabularies
2.Amazon Parrot15 inches in length; up to 25 ounces in weightExcellent human-speech mimickers with big vocabularies
3.Cockatoo18 inches in length; up to 28 ounces in weightExtremely smart birds with large vocabularies and the ability to do puzzles
4.Eclectus Parrot14 inches in length; up to 19 ounces in weightCan learn words, tricks, and tasks
5.Macaw40 inches in length; up to 50 ounces in weightExtremely smart, large parrots capable of broad vocabularies and complex tricks
6.Indian Ringneck Parakeet16 inches in length; 6 ounces in weightLarger parakeets that can repeat words in their bird voices
7.Budgie7 inches in length; 1 ounce in weightSmall birds capable of tricks and some mimicking


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About the Author

Em Thomas is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering places, travel, and chili peppers! She's an MBA student with a passion for storytelling. Though she's a Michigan native, she presently resides in Denver, Colorado. While she doesn't currently have any pets of her own, she's an avid dogsitter with an affinity for big dogs!

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