5 Types of Large Talking Parrots

Cropped Hand Feeding Female Eclectus Parrot
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It seems that when you mention the word "parrot" to a person, the same image generally comes to mind: a large, colorful bird whose most distinguishing characteristic is the ability to mimic human speech. In fact, many people who become interested in bird ownership do so strictly because they want a talking parrot. If you find yourself in this category, then don't waste any time in checking out the information below on large parrot species that can learn to talk. As important as it may seem to get a bird with exceptional speech abilities, it is far more important to adopt a bird whose traits are compatible with your personality and lifestyle. Research the species listed here to get an idea as to whether or not one of these birds would be a good choice as a pet for you and your family.

  • 01 of 05


    Scarlet macaw flying in the wild

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    Arguably the most recognizable of all the parrot species, the macaws are known for their beautiful colors, bold personalities, and advanced capabilities for mimicking human speech. Properly trained, Macaws are able to learn upwards of 100 different words, and some even seem to be able to use them in context. Like some other types of large parrots, Macaws are also quite skilled at learning short phrases and some even learn to sing snippets of songs. As with any parrot species, the quality and quantity of a macaw's speaking abilities will vary between individual birds, with some birds choosing not to talk at all.

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    Umbrella cockatoo raising its foot
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    Hailing from the "Land Down Under", the cockatoos are another type of large parrot who have displayed speech abilities in captivity. While it has been reported to be more difficult to train Cockatoos to talk than some other species, those who have done it say that the birds seem to have a softer, sweeter speaking voice than many other parrots. Of course, this could be due to the words and phrases that the birds were being taught -- parrots will often not only mimic words themselves but the tone and vocal inflections that they are spoken with. Because of this, it's not uncommon for talking parrots to sound exactly like their owners.

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    African Grey Parrots

    African Grey parrot perching on a pipe

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    Often regarded as the absolute best talkers in the bird world, African Grey parrots have not only displayed the ability to mimic up to 1,000 words, but some who have been studied are reported to also be able to associate those words with meaning, effectively making it possible for them to communicate with their owners. Dr. Irene Pepperberg of The Alex Foundation has been working with African Grey Parrots for over 30 years and has made great strides in studying the exciting communication skills of these intelligent birds. Her first bird, Alex, became famous for being able to identify colors, shapes, and textures by name.

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    Amazon Parrots

    Amazon parrot eating with it's foot

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    The colorful, eye-catching Amazon parrots are another type of popular large bird who can amass an impressive vocabulary. While much fuss has been made over the speaking skills of the African Greys, it is Amazon Parrots who are the most widely regarded among experienced bird owners for having the clearest voices and most accurate pronunciation skills. In addition to this, many Amazon parrots become accomplished singers -- just do a quick search on YouTube and you'll find videos of countless Amazons belting out everything from classics to current top 40 hits. If you want a bird that's a real chatterbox, the Amazon may be your best bet!

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    Eclectus Parrots

    Eclectus parrot at zoo

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    With the females displaying striking red and purple feathers and the males donning bright green plumage, you might think that the most interesting thing about Eclectus parrots is their beautiful colors -- but you'd be wrong! Eclectus parrots have fairly high speech capabilities and most readily mimic their owners with consistent training sessions. They are not known to be quite as vocal as some other species in general, but as with all talking birds, their speech will vary among individuals. Adhering to a proper training schedule and making sure to provide plenty of repetition can go a long way toward helping a more quiet bird find his or her voice!