The Monk parakeet, more famously called the Quaker parrot, is a species of true-parrot in the family Psittacine.
Usually, individuals come in a relatively small size, bright-green in color, and with a greyish breast and greenish-yellow abdomen.
Like other parrots, Quakers are long-lived and possess the not too animal-common pizzaz to imitate human speech and sounds.
The average age for a Quaker parrot to start talking is 6 months, but some can commence as early as 6 weeks old. Sadly, some birdies may never speak, while others only prefer to imitate sound rather than vocalize speech.
My Quaker was only 3 months old when she started talking, but I have a friend who has a 3 years old and only says "Quaker" once in a while. So, it definitely depends on the bird.
To find out more, please keep reading. You'll learn how ideal talkers Quakers are and how to encourage your parrot to vocalize sounds.
Do Quaker Parrots Talk
Quaker parrots, like most Psittacines, can imitate human speech and sound. However, these adorable birdies are not the most confident speakers, and many tend to remain "closet talkers" for quite a while.
The more shy ones choose to practice words quietly, making them sound like they're mumbling, and only when they feel confident do they say words loudly.
Even so, please note some parrots may never talk regardless of species, while others prefer to imitate noises sounds rather than speech. There is also no way to expressly know whether your quaker is a talker or not; only time will tell.
As such, I recommend you try talking to your bird, repeating words and phrases to help you determine if he (or she) is a talker or not.
Letting your Quaker listen to music and watch TV and using high-pitched "bird noise" also goes a long way in helping your birdie talk, but don't be too overzealous rest your parrots lose interest.
How Well Do Quaker Parrots Talk
In the general scheme of things, Quakers parrots are great talkers, especially given their small body size. Compared to other Pscittacines of this size, they are arguably the best vocalizers of human speech.
Not only can they learn a diverse vocabulary of words and sounds, but Quakers also tend to speak pretty clearly and somewhat rival larger parrots.
The only disadvantage is, Quakers parrots, like talking cockatiels and other smaller parrots, usually don't possess the vocal capability to enunciate like larger parrots.
In line with Rick Klugman's opinion, while our adorable Quakers make good talkers, they are far and away removed from not only African greys as far as voice quality goes, but even most Macaws...
...and without expectations, Amazons speak much more clearly than Monk parakeets and have tonal qualities that more closely resembles human speech.
Quite a few keepers have also observed noted that female Monk parrots tending to be better talkers than male birdies, although this argument has never been empirically proven.
The Quakers girls seem to continually pick up vocabulary throughout their life, while the boys tend to be stranded on standard phrases, but as I said, it might be just the individual birds I've across.
What Sounds Can A Quaker Parrot Make
Quaker parrots are known for their fun-loving, comical personalities and energetic, spanky nature.
Mostly, this awesomeness is optimized by their ability to vocalize sounds, including mimicking human speech, but that is nowhere close to half the sounds these birds can make.
Given their emotional dispensation, mood, and attitude, Quakers can produce up to 10 different sounds, not including a combination of more than one tone.
Chatter, mainly a combination of noises, is perhaps the most common sound you'll hear from your Quaker parrot. It's usually a consistent, low-level noise that's somewhat inaudible, a lot like murmuring with occasional screams and squeaks.
If you've taught your birdie some phrases, they also talk quite a bit, though some tend to be cage and closet talkers. They gradually learn to mimic words they frequently hear from you, other family members, other birds, and even from the TV.
Now, while talking and chatter may not be too much on the annoying sides of things, screaming and shrieking, which Monk parakeets do quite a bit, can be unsettling.
A quaker's scream is a lot less ear-piercing compared to other parrots such as conures, but they will make their presence known in a home, especially when aggrieved.
Quakers can also sing.
Their singing is nothing fancy like robins or cute chickadees seasonal melodies, but they do sing. Not the smoothest tunes to listen to, but they put a lot of sounds, noises, and heart into them.
Away from vocal sounds, other noises Quakers make using parts like beaks, tongue, and feet include griding and clicking. Many Monk parrots also squawk, growl, purr, whistle, and even laugh.
See a comprehensive list below and this detailed Quaker sounds article by Petkeen.
- Screaming and shrieking
How to Teach Your Quaker Parrot to Talk
Quaker parrots quite often start talking at 5 to 6 months old, and from experience, this is the best time to start speech training your birdie.
There are different ways to teach a parrot how to talk, but most of the time, it involves sitting with your parrot for a certain period each day and repeatedly say words you want him to learn.
I like to slot the lessons in the morning when my Quaker wakes up or after finishing his breakfast because he tends to be less tired or distracted.
Remember to be really patient with your bird and keep repeating the words you want them to say even when their concentration is at its peak.
You also have to go step by step while teaching your Quaker how to talk. Once he learns one word, then you can move on to the next one.
Another trick I've learned overtimes and that works quite well is to let your parrot listen to recorded audios, TV, and music.
Depending on your Quakers level of understanding, audio recordings from other birds saying certain words might be better for your parrot.
Lastly, note that a strong bond between you and your monk parrot goes a long way in helping him warm up to you and be willing to learn.
Reward good progress with tasty treats and words of affirmation.