Chatterboxes

Birds have varying degrees of talking ability. Some are able to mimic only a few words and phrases, while some may have a vocabulary of almost 2,000 words. There are even birds that can copy almost any sound from a car alarm to human speech!

African Grey Parrot
African Grey Parrot
African grey parrots are prized for their ability to mimic human speech, which make them one of the most popular avian pets. One of the brightest examples was an escaped pet in Japan was returned to his owner after repeating the owner's name and address. Grey parrots are able to mimic noises heard in their environment and then use them tirelessly. They are highly intelligent birds; both wild and captive grey parrots use contact calls, which ...
allow them to interact with their flock mates and communicate information about their location, detection of predators, availability of food, and safety status.
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African Grey Parrot
Budgerigar
Budgerigar
Budgerigars are native to Australia and have been bred in captivity since the 1850s. Tame birds can be taught to speak, whistle, and play with humans. Both males and females sing and can learn to mimic sounds and words and do simple tricks, but singing and mimicry are more pronounced and better perfected in males. Females rarely learn to mimic more than a dozen words. Males can easily acquire vocabulary ranging from a few dozen to a hundred ...
words. Pet males, especially those kept alone, are usually the best speakers. As an example, Puck, a male budgerigar owned by American Camille Jordan, holds the world record for the largest vocabulary of any bird, at 1,728 words!
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Budgerigar
Cockatiel
Cockatiel
People adore cockatiels as household pets and companion parrots throughout the world because they are relatively easy to breed. As a caged bird, cockatiels are second in popularity only to the budgerigar. Cockatiels are vocal birds and the calls of the males are more varied than those of the females. These parrots can be taught to sing specific melodies and some cockatiels have been demonstrated to synchronize their melodies with the songs of ...
humans, and speak many words and phrases. They have also learned to imitate certain human or environmental sounds without being taught how to do so.
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Cockatiel
Brown Thrasher
Brown Thrasher
Brown thrashers are noted for their mimicry and for having the largest song repertoire of birds. The male of this species may have the largest song repertoire of any North American bird, which has been documented as at least over 1,100. Some sources state that each individual has up to 3,000 song phrases, while others put the number beyond 3,000. Adult Brown thrashers have an array of sounds they will make in various situations. During the ...
breeding season, the mimicking ability of the males is at their best display and they will impersonate sounds from Tufted titmice, Northern cardinals, Wood thrushes, Northern flickers, and other species.
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Brown Thrasher
Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbird
The Northern mockingbird is known for its intelligence and is best known in North America for its ability to imitate the vocalizations of other birds. It imitates not only birds but also other animals such as cats, dogs, frogs, crickets, and sounds from artificial items such as unoiled wheels and even car alarms. Both male and female mockingbirds sing. These birds possess a large song repertoire that ranges from 43 to 203 song types and ...
continually expand their repertoire during their life.
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Northern Mockingbird
Yellow-Headed Amazon
Yellow-Headed Amazon
The Yellow-headed amazon is an endangered amazon parrot of Mexico and northern Central America. They are popular pets and have been kept as such for centuries because they are among the parrots that "talk" best. Yellow-headed amazons in captivity appear to have an affinity for both singing and the learning of song - and a naturally powerful, operatic voice. Yellow-headed amazons that live in the wild sometimes give human-sounding screams.
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Yellow-Headed Amazon
Monk Parakeet
Monk Parakeet
Monk parakeets are small parrots native to areas of Argentina and the surrounding countries in South America but due to feral populations they now occur in many places, mainly in North America and Europe. Monk parakeets are highly intelligent birds. Those kept as pets routinely develop vocabularies of scores of words and phrases. Due to this early speaking ability, they are overtaking the cockatiel as the favorite bird to teach to talk.
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Monk Parakeet
Common Starling
Common Starling
Common starlings are noisy birds and they are able to give a wide variety of both melodic and mechanical-sounding noises. Their song may include a number of variable sequences that often incorporate snatches of song mimicked from other species of bird and various naturally occurring or man-made noises. A wild starling may even mimic a sound it has heard only once. Each bird has its own repertoire and more proficient individuals may have a range ...
of up to 35 variable song types and as many as 14 types of clicks. Males sing constantly as the breeding period approaches and females prefer mates with more complex songs. Singing also occurs outside the breeding season. Starlings chatter while roosting and bathing, making a great deal of noise that can cause irritation to people living nearby. Common starlings may also be kept as pets. Their ability at mimicry is so great that strangers have looked in vain for the human they think they have just heard speak. People who have owned Common starlings report how adept they are at picking up phrases and expressions. The words have no meaning for the starling, so they often mix them up or use them in their songs.
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Common Starling
Gray Catbird
Gray Catbird
Named for its cat-like call, the Grey catbirds also mimic the songs of other birds and even mechanical sounds. Because of their well-developed songbird syrinx, they are able to make two sounds at the same time. A Gray catbird's song is easily distinguished from that of the Northern mockingbird or Brown thrasher because the mockingbird repeats its phrases or "strophes" three to four times, the thrasher usually twice, but the catbird sings most ...
phrases only once. Catbirds often prefer to sing from inside a bush or small tree, where they can remain unnoticed by the foliage.
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Gray Catbird
Australian Magpie
Australian Magpie
Described as one of Australia's most accomplished songbirds, the Australian magpie has an array of complex vocalizations. Pitch may vary as much as four octaves, and the bird can mimic over 35 species of native and introduced bird species, as well as dogs and horses. The magpie is even able to mimic human speech when living in close proximity to humans. Its complex, musical, warbling call is one of the most familiar Australian bird sounds. The ...
bird may also mimic environmental sounds, including the noises made by emergency vehicles.
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Australian Magpie
Tui
Tui
Tui are very famous for their noisy, unusual calls which are different for each individual bird. Just like parrots, tui have a complex variety of songs and calls. They are also capable of clearly imitating human speech, and were trained by Māori to replicate complex speech. These birds also re-create sounds like glass shattering, car alarms, classical music and advertising jingles.
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Tui
Galah
Galah
When tame, these friendly inhabitants of Australia can learn to talk, as well as mimic other sounds heard in their environment. They are noisy birds but comparatively quieter than other cockatoo species. Wild galahs are very social and can engage playfully in entertainment activities to support their very intelligent nature. Like most other cockatoos, they create strong, lifelong bonds with their partners.
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Galah
Blue Jay
Blue Jay
Blue jays are noisy, bold, and aggressive birds. They are highly curious and considered intelligent. They can make a large variety of sounds, and individuals may vary perceptibly in their calling style. Like other corvids, they may learn to mimic human speech. Blue jays can also copy the cries of local hawks so well that it is sometimes difficult to tell which it is. Their voice is varied, but the most commonly recognized sound is the alarm ...
call, which is a loud, almost gull-like scream. Blue jays also differ from most other songbirds for using their call as a song.
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Blue Jay
Eclectus Parrot
Eclectus Parrot
Eclectus parrots are unusual in the parrot family for their extreme difference in the colors of the plumage in males and females; the males of these species are mostly bright emerald green in color and the females are mostly bright red and purple/blue. Eclectus parrots are also one of the more popular birds kept in captivity. They have a varied range of calls, from a loud, high-pitched squawk to whistles and screeches, and are also considered ...
one of the strongest talkers; however, they don't tend to talk in clear voices until they are 1 year old.
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Eclectus Parrot
Yellow-Breasted Chat
Yellow-Breasted Chat
Yellow-breasted chats are shy birds that are often heard but not seen. The songs of these birds are variable and they can mimic the calls of other birds. Birdwatchers even sometimes mistake their song for species such as Grey catbirds and Brown thrashers, which share similar habitat preferences. During the breeding season, chats are at their most conspicuous, as they usually sing from exposed locations and even fly in the open while gurgling ...
their songs.
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Yellow-Breasted Chat