If an intelligent, engaging, and trainable pet bird is what you seek, then there are many species of birds to choose from. All birds are highly intelligent, can learn to solve puzzles, play games, perform tricks, and even vocalize. There are a few species, however, that seem to particularly enjoy trick training and performing fun skills. Here is a look at eight of the most captivating pet bird species for teachability, and what makes them ideal or not ideal for new trainers.
Although some species tend to be smarter, always assess the individual bird before committing. You might just be surprised at what they can do. Environmental stress factors during rearing in addition to some genetic tendencies can have a significant negative impact on any bird's interest in vocalizing.
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The Macaws of the South American rainforests are some of the largest, most colorful, and most popular parrots, but you have to be a dedicated partner with large, safe flight spaces to be a suitable owner for one of these magnificent birds. Macaws have comical personalities, yet they can be very affectionate; most get incredibly attached to owners and can live for nearly 100 years with proper care.
Length: 32 inches; half the total body length is in the tail feathers
Weight: 35 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Feathers of scarlet, light blue, yellow; flight feathers are dark blue, dark red, gold, sometimes green; white skin around the eyes
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African Grey Parrots or Congo Grey Parrots are a single species from the equatorial region of Central Africa. These old-world parrots are often cited as the most intelligent birds on Earth. These incredible parrots have surprised everyone from casual bird owners to university researchers with their remarkable memories and deep emotional capacities. Because of this, anyone who adopts an African Grey needs to be certain that they will be able to spend ample time socializing with their pet each day. Their lifespan is 50 to 80 years.
Length: 13 inches
Weight: 15 to 18 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Body feathers are varying shades of gray; tail feathers are red
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The beautiful and entertaining Amazon Parrots have been hailed by many bird experts as some of the best talkers. They can develop exceptionally large vocabularies, and seem to have more clarity in their speech than many other species. Lovable and sociable, they demand a lot of attention from their owners. Amazons come in a variety of species.
Length: 13 to 15 inches
Weight: 7 to 25 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Green body feathers; over 15 subspecies of Amazon Parrots with different head colorings
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The Cockatoos are sweet, loving, and highly intelligent parrots that hail from Australia. These birds form extremely strong bonds with their owners and can suffer intense emotional distress if they begin to feel neglected. However, if you are a good fit for a Cockatoo, you will find yourself with an impressive companion bird who learns readily.
Length: 18 inches
Weight: 14 to 28 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Mostly white body; some yellow feathers underneath the wings; reddish eyes in females, brown to black eyes in malesContinue to 5 of 8 below.
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Budgerigars or Budgies pack a ton of intelligence, trainability, and personality into a tiny package. Not only can Budgies learn to talk as well as larger parrots, but they can also be trained to do a number of fun tricks that never fail to impress. They do, however, require a long-term commitment from their owners.
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
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It has been found that a few species of Mynah bird, actually part of the starling family, can also be conditioned to learn and create human speech, just as the parrots and songbirds can. Like parrots, they learn to speak by mimicking their owners' voices.
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
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Lovebirds are an intelligent and inquisitive species. Because they are good at solving puzzles and quick at learning, they are remarkable cage escape artists. They are not known to be chatty, however, they can learn some vocalizations if taught early.
Length: 5 to 6 inches
Weight: 2 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Mostly green, orange upper body and head, blue lower back and rump, red beak, white eyerings
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Canaries are finches from the Canary Islands that are widely known for their lovely singing voice. Usually fearful at first, these birds can be taught to relate to you vocally and also physically, at close proximity. These birds can learn to perch on your finger, fly about the room, and return to you.
Length: 8 to 9 inches
Weight: 1/2 ounce
Physical Characteristics: Bright yellow, or whitish or reddish body
Birds to Avoid
All birds are extremely smart problem solvers. If you're looking for a very smart bird, look for ones that have been reared by trainers. Avoid birds that have been bored and not challenged. Birds that have not had opportunities to "learn how to learn" may be behind in cognitive development.