Birds are the animals that people across the world associate with the outdoors and nature. After all, birds sing to signal the start of the day, rest in almost every tree and bush, hop on the ground, explore bird feeders, and soar high above our heads. While these winged beauties seem to only communicate amongst their own kind, several species of birds have even developed the ability to mimic speaking words. That’s right, some bird species are intelligent and trainable enough to teach them the human words. Let’s look at the top bird species in mimicking speech.
Crows, like parrots, can learn how to mimic random sounds and retain them in their memory. However, crows tend to do so better than parrots, retaining about 100 words. Crows are also known for their cognitive skills, social intelligence, and general smarts that rival that of primates. They can even remember a face years later, communicating to other crows the recognition.
So why aren’t these birds more popular? For one thing, crows are not domesticated animals. To own a crow a permit is required as well as a lot of expertise in caring for and handling such a creature. have a crow. Generally they don’t make good pets as they require a lot of attention.
Ravens are large and distinguishable from their crow relatives by a croaking call instead of a “caw.” Ravens are known for their crafty intelligence in planning, bartering, and utilising tools. Some have even been found to perform better than children and apes in problem-solving tasks. Ravens are unique fliers, performing aerial acrobatics and flying upside down. These dark birds are often thought to be ominous. These intelligent birds can be taught to mimic words and can also retain a repertoire of 100 words, like crows. Ravens and crows owned, found in zoos, or held in wildlife centres are usually the ones that can be taught speech, while ones in the wild cannot.
Magpies are another corvid kin, and wild magpies often form friendships with people. A few have become internet sensations and even talk with crows. Some people adopt abandoned baby magpies. When interacting with humans, magpies show them body language as an alternate method of communication.
The name of the mockingbird outright tells you this bird’s speech is anything it can hear and imitate. That can go for other birds’ songs, other animal sounds, electronic and mechanical devices as well as human speech. Mockingbirds can recognize a face in a crowd, individual humans, and other intruders to their nest. They are known for singing late at night.
The starling family contains all birds in the family Sturnidae. They are perhaps the best known on this list for their singing ability and wide range of sounds. They can also talk to humans and mimic the sounds of other animals, electronic and mechanical devices. These feathered friends are okay to keep as pets as long as they’re rescued and not bought.
#3: Myna Birds
Myna birds, or mynas, are large, softbill Asian sect of the starling family. They are famous for their impressive speaking abilities. Their repertoire is about 100 words and they develop an expansive vocabulary in a fairly short time; it only takes about three to four months for them to say their first “hello.”
Lyrebirds can mimic not only human speech but almost any sound in the world, and they can do so accurately. Unlike other talking bird species, even wild lyrebirds can mimic speech upon interacting with humans. Regular exposure to people encourages them to imitate speech, including vocal pitches. Out of the two main types of lyrebirds, the Albert and the Superb, the Albert have superior mimicking abilities to the much larger Superb.
Several parrots species are able to mimic human speech and conversation. Of the genera Psittaciformes, parrots have been known to learn multiple languages, give TED talks, and even front heavy metal bands. They are vocal learners that are the best at discerning and imitating sounds. Although large parrots are generally famous for their mimicking ability, the African Grey Parrot, in particular, is the most intelligent talking parrot around the world, performing on a mental test as well as three-year-old children.
Macaws are a New World parrot species, while cockatoos look just like crested parrots. Cockatiels can learn to sing a wide variety of melodies in addition to how to talk. Parakeets are the most popular parrot species and sing a lot as well but they learn to talk better when they don’t have another parakeet to chatter with.
How Can Birds Talk Without Vocal Chords?
Birds don’t have vocal cords as humans do. However, they do have a vocal organ called the syrinx. Parrots, including the African Grey Parrot, have a specialized syrinx that makes them better at vocalizing and mimicking noises.
Some of our feathered friends do a lot more than sing and look pretty, but they are also talking birds. These birds tend to be corvids and parrots, such as the African Grey Parrot, or another bird species that are generally highly intelligent. Plus, they go beyond simply mimicking a word or two, being able to form complete sentences, carry on discussions, and even mimic other sounds. That’s what makes them the top talking birds in the world.
Best Talking Birds for Pets
While the aforementioned birds are some of the best imitators and vocalisers of their kind, these species are wild and do not make for good pets. If you are interested in owning a “talking” bird as a pet, these species are more suited for the role of domestication:
Read more about the different types of talking pet birds.
While it is exciting to have a pet that will respond to you when you are talking to it, this should not be your main reason for owning a bird. Birds require unique attention and have long lifespans, sometimes up to 80 years, so it is legitimately a lifetime commitment. Some birds, while of species that can mimic or speak, may never do so. It is always important to consider all of the factors before acquiring an animal as a pet.