Do Parrots Understand What They Say While Talking

Do Parrots Understand What They Say While Talking

A 6 minute read by Eddie Waithaka

#talkingparrot #talkingparrots

Parrots are intelligent than most wild animals, with an incredible ability to mimic and master words, phrases, and statements and even give appropriate responses to play questions.

But do they really understand the meaning of words in human speech?

Do they know what they are saying, or they just repeat sounds?

Well, Yes and No!

Actually, the more appropriate answer would be "They do, but to a rather small extent."

Let me explain.

Parrots will only know what they are saying (meaning of words and phrases) if they are well trained, as demonstrated by their ability to identify shapes, colors, and forms with the correct naming.

Some are even able to use the right phrase at the appropriate time, such as good morning at dawn and good evening at dusk.

However, very few owners have extensively trained their parrots enough to show some level of understanding speech even to a basic level; most just imitate sounds.

Follow along as I delve a little more into parrots talking abilities in the quest to understand these adorable pets.

Do Parrots Understand Human Language

Parrots don't have the ability to understand human languages. Most just repeat sounds to adapt to their environment and bond with their owners.

There are smart enough to grasp quite a few words, but understanding language is a whole different ball game.

Even notable vocal birds, such as African greys, with all their intelligence and pizzaz, are only modestly trainable to mimic human speech.

That said, as we've seen before, a smart birdie might be tutored to say certain things in context, even though they don't understand the meaning.

African grays are by far adorned with these skills, but macaws and cockatoos are also pretty intelligent, which is impressive, given their slightly inferior vocal abilities.

Can Parrots Have A Conversation with You

A parrot will have a conversation with you only to the extent which a toddler communicates with the parent.

They can learn and understand what you say, non-verbal cues, and respond to perceived messages, but can't hold a lengthy coherent conversation.

The level of communication also varies, not only among species but also the amount of training and learning that a bird needs to get the point of speaking in context.

Smarter and more observant parrots will want to interact with you in a more meaningful way, hence will learn words more readily than other birdies.

To put things in better context, lets me share some scenarios to demonstrate the extent to which your parrot can hold a conversation with you.

First, while many parrots know how to say pretty birds, only a few know when to say it.

Only a well-trained birdie know to use the phrase when they see or hear another bird.

Another scenario is using the word no!

Many birdies know the word, but not many know when to say it. Only if well trained will some understand the context and respond to subsequent reactions.

Luna was playing on my laptop. I was to give her a little tap to encourage her to move a bit, but before I touched her, she said No. So, I stop with my finger in the air and pull my hand back. Then she said, 'Good girl. Whispering Wisps; A parrot owner and Redditor. There hadn't been an infant in our house for over ten years. One day, our friends brought their newborn over, and naturally, the baby started crying. You should have seen the parent's faces when the birds said, "You want a bottle?" Garwoodwould; A parrot owner and Redditor.

Do Parrots Talk to Each Other

While I would not go as far as to say parrots speak human-talk to each other, most companions will have a conversation if they are well bonded and adequately trained.

A typical conversation between your birds can be initiated by you or one of your birdies. For instance, in the morning, one of my birds loves to scream "Wake up," then the other says, "He is still sleeping."

However, most parrots seem to reserve talking for humans or to themselves. Talk between birdie companions is also not actual conversation. They only say words and phrases they've learned from their owners.

As expected, African greys, macaws, and cockatoo are more likely to hold a conversation compared to your average parakeet and cockatiel.

So, if parrots don't talk to each other per se, how do they communicate?

See below.

How Do Parrots Communicate with Each Other

Body language is the primary way parrots communicate with mates and companions.

They don't have many conversations in the human sense but instead show feelings and intent through touch and posturing.

Your birds will only talk to each other if raised together, with their vocabulary limited to words they are accustomed to by humans.

Parrots in the wild pass messages to others using their whole body, eyes, and feathers.

These cues are sometimes obvious, and almost any owner can discern them, while others are pretty subtle and somewhat unique, implying some experience is needed for the correct interpretation.

Many parrot species and flocks also have their own body language specific to them, albeit such traits are more developed in wild psittacines.

For instance, an excited macaw will blush on the white face, an angry Amazon will fan its tail, and a cockatiel will position its crest feathers depending on its mood.

If the reason you searched this topic is to help you understand what your bird is trying to tell you, please note there is no empirical proof to what particular stance and feather arrangements means...

...but there are some obvious signs positive and negative signals every parrot owner should learn.

Squeaks, screams, bites, and scratches are signs all parrots present to indicate discontent, anger, frustration, or agitation. Whereas a chattering, singing, dancing, playing, or talking parrot is most likely happy and making merry.

In conclusion, observing and interpreting your parrot's body language is not only pleasurable, but it also makes your relationship much easier and satisfying for you both.

Watching your bird can even become an absorbing pass time😎😀.

That's all on this one.

Happy Birding🦉🐦🦜.