Dear Parrot Lover,
Not every parrot has the ability to talk. But if your parrot is one of those special ones that can talk, you might be wondering what to teach your parrot to say. Some parrot owners think this is the easiest part of training their bird to talk; whilst others have a hard time coming up with a list of words or phrases to teach their parrot.
Regardless of where you fall here, keep in mind that the choices you make now will have a far-reaching impact on the relationship your parrot has with you, as well as with anyone else in their lives. The goal of training your parrot to talk using just a few words or phrases is so that your parrot will be encouraged to try out and adopt an extensive vocabulary.
Once you’ve honed in on the words and phrases that are best suited for your parrot and your joint lifestyle, be sure to set some time aside each day to train your parrot. These practice sessions should always be short and sweet, with plenty of praise.
You had me at Hello
When just starting out training a parrot to talk, it is always best to start at the beginning. Teach your parrot to say “Hello”. Not only is this a word your parrot will hear countless times every day for years to come, but the word itself is fairly easy for any parrot to articulate. Variations on this are “Hi”, “Hiya”, and “Hey”.
But of course, if your family has a special welcoming greeting, then definitely teach that to your bird instead.
Play the Naming Game
Once your parrot has mastered ‘Hello’, the next word you should teach him is his own name. Just like ‘Hello’, your parrot’s name is another word that he will hear multiple times every single day. Learning his name will help him gain confidence over his speech. When you think that your parrot has mastered his own name, you can move on to teach him to pronounce your name. Alternatively you can teach him to say the names of other family members or pets. Just don’t be too surprised when your parrot starts greeting you by name every time he sees you!
The next logical step in training your parrot to talk is to teach him to express hunger, thirst, or the desire for a particular treat or snack. If you talk to your bird in context, he will have an easier time learning particular words or phrases. For example, when giving your parrot a treat state the name of treat, such as ‘Apple’, or simply just say ‘Treat’.
In due course, your parrot will be able to put two and two together and will soon be able to have a wonderful repertoire of words and phrases that you’ll be quite proud of.
The Talking Bird
The differences among birds
Teaching a bird to talk normally ranks highly on the to-do list when you first bring a new parrot into your home. The range of how well a bird may speak depends on a number of factors. Some birds may speak only a handful of words while other breeds may learn thousands! It’s also common for
a good portion of birds to not speak much until after their first year of life, so one shouldn’t get discouraged right away. Once he gets talking, he’ll be off!
Birds also speak differently. One may be quiet while another may be quite loud. Different kinds of birds also have different memory levels, so those birds who learn and retain thousands of words have really good memories. You’ll want to do some research about your bird so that you know what to expect in terms of these different variables like volume, memory capacity, etc.
Who is the best?
It may come as no surprise that the African Grey is often regarded as one of, if not the most, intelligent of the birds with a large capacity for speech. The large Amazon parrots follow closely behind him, but it may be more shocking to know that the little inexpensive budgie you see by the multiples in pet stores actually is quite the little singer and talker.
The budgie is often overlooked since they are quieter than a parrot, and sometimes the communication is more garbled and so may not be nearly as clear. Other birds don’t rank as highly on the speaking list because they tend to scream more than actually talk. Cockatoos, for example,
are not known to normally have as large of a vocabulary.
Because birds vary so much, research beforehand can really help partner you up with the right bird for you. Where can you learn what you need to know? The Elite Parrots Club is a great online resource for a wealth of information from before you have your bird to once he is in your home. You’ll find information via articles and videos on not just training him how to speak, but also things about health, toys, diet, and behavior.
The Elite Parrots Club also includes direct access to a birding professional known as the Bird Lady. Any question you have can be answered by the pro!