Birds are highly intelligent animals and some species are known to be particularly trainable. Many bird owners enjoy the interaction a trained bird has with them so species that are adept to learning make ideal pets for those who are looking for that type of opportunity.
Some trainable birds are large but size doesn't equate the ability to talk or do tricks. Both small and large birds can be taught to do many things. Check out this list of the top 10 trainable pet birds to find the species that is right for you.
Macaws are primarily native to Central and South America and they are some of the largest pet birds. They are also some of the smartest. These colorful parrots are very social, love spending time with their owners, and can be trained to talk, perch, mimic, and do a variety of other things. Macaws can also be very loud and need a lot of space to spread their wings so they are not ideal for every home, though.
Length: 32 inches; half the total body length is in the tail feathers
Weight: 35 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Feathers vary from species to species of scarlet, light blue, yellow; flight feathers are dark blue, dark red, gold, sometimes green; white skin around the eyes
A famous African grey by the name of Alex helped this species become popular for its trainability. African greys can easily learn to talk and mimic noises and with a little more intense training, they can even learn colors and counting. These birds require a lot of social and mental stimulation so training sessions are perfect opportunities to build a bond with a pet African grey while also providing it with enrichment.
Length: 10 to 14 inches
Weight: 14 to 24 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Body feathers are varying shades of gray; tail feathers are red if Congo grey, black if Timneh grey
While there are a variety of subspecies of Amazon parrots, all of them are very trainable birds. These stocky birds are often described as having difficult personalities but they are also very social and smart. Regular attention from their owners is often demanded and they thoroughly enjoy mentally challenging toys as well as training sessions.
Length: 10 to 20 inches
Weight: 7 to 25 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Green body feathers; different head colorings depending the subspecies
Cockatoos are quite the characters but they are also extremely trainable. They all have a characteristic crest on the top of their head that they will hold erect for a variety of reasons including fear, excitement, and aggression. Many times they will even hold their crest up while they are performing a trained behavior because they are having so much fun.
Length: 12 to 28 inches
Weight: 10 to 30 ounces
Physical Characteristics: White body in most species; some yellow feathers underneath the wings; reddish eyes in females and brown to black eyes in males, supposedly; less common species are rose or black colored
Native to Australia, budgerigars are small but mighty birds since their size does not inhibit their abilities to be trained to talk or do tricks. Parakeets, as budgies are also commonly known as, can learn up to 200 words and since they are so small, they are nowhere as loud as their larger cousins. They also don't take up as much space, are much less expensive than larger birds, and are readily available to purchase from pet stores. All of these factors make budgerigars one of the most popular species of trainable birds.
Length: 7 inches
Weight: 1 ounce
Physical Characteristics: Light green body with black wing markings and yellow head; captive-bred colors include blue, gray, green, white, violet, yellow/blue
Often touted as the smartest bird in the world, the mynah bird is possibly the most trainable pet bird there is. Mynah birds are not as commonly seen as pets as some other birds but they can be purchased from select breeders. These birds need a lot of mental stimulation and room to explore but they are easily tamed if you choose to care for one of these highly intelligent birds.
Length: 9 inches
Weight: 4 to 5 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Brown body, black hooded head with a bare yellow patch behind the eye; bills and legs are bright yellow
Sometimes underestimated in its trainability due to its prevalence in pet stores, the cockatiel is actually a very smart small bird. It is a little larger than the budgerigar and can easily learn to mimic and talk as well as do simple tricks. Because of these things, the cockatiel is a popular option for those that like the look of a cockatoo without the size and life span commitment.
Length: 12-13 inches
Weight: 2-4 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Classic coloration is a gray body with a yellow face and crest and orange cheek patch; multiple color mutations exist including albino, pied, lutino, and others
There are a number of species of conure but most are known to be very social, active, and quick learners. Like other birds, younger conures are often easier to train but many species love to use their feet to pick things up so some will learn how to perform special tricks. Conures aren't the best at talking, but if you're not looking for a chatty bird, these small to medium birds can be trained to do a variety of other things.
Length: 10 to 13 inches
Weight: 2 to 4 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Various species have differing colors; bodies may be orange, yellow, and red or primarily green
Known for their characteristic ring around their neck, Indian ringneck parrots have higher pitched voices than some other birds and are very trainable. Ringnecks may not start talking until they are closer to about one year of age but once they do, they can be excellent talkers. They can also learn how to perform many tricks and enjoy training sessions with their owners.
Length: 37 to 43 inches
Weight: 3 to 5 ounces
Physical Characteristics: A vast rainbow of color mutations exist; natural coloring is lime green body with a dark ring around the neck if they are a male parrot; females lack a ring
Eclectus parrots are known for their dramatic sexual dimorphism but they are also highly trainable birds. These colorful parrots are great at talking and learning behaviors. This means that they can easily learn how to do or say something that you teach them but like many other birds, they will also teach themselves things. This means you'll need to make sure you don't repeat or reinforce any unwanted words or behaviors.
Length: 12 to 14 inches
Weight: 13 to 18 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Males are bright green; females are bright red and blue