Can Parakeets Talk? (+How to Teach ’em)

Tori Rhodes
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Can parakeets talk?

Parakeets are pygmy parrots. They are generally small in size and many other types of pet birds will also have similar traits. Some of the most common pet bird species are budgies, cockatiels, cockatoos, parakeets, love birds, toucans, canaries and finches.

Different types of birds have different talking ability. Some are known for talking in a great way while some are just chirp and squak sounds.

Cheap parakeets which are commonly found in pet store are usually known to be having less talking ability as compared to other types of birds. They will chirp and squawk most of the time. But they can also imitate some sounds like clock and telephone bell.

Parakeets are known for talking a great language. Mostly the males tend to have great language capability while females rarely speak. But it is not necessary that all males ability to speak is excellent. In such cases, owners need to train them with a lot of dedication.

How do parakeets talk?

It’s a question that we have all asked ourselves before. They seem very intelligent but can we get them to talk?

Well for starters, they are not called parrots for no reason. Parrots are known for their behavior of mimicking sounds.

Let’s pretend that you’re in an adult learning class and you can read, write, and understand English at about an intermediate level. Now let’s pretend that a tutor comes into your class and says, “You can add “er” to any word to make it plural.”

Now, although you can’t speak English, you’re a smart little guy and you can understand that, so you go home and say to Bob, your African grey parakeet, “Bobs, if you want your treat, tell me more about this English language.”

Bobs as expected loves to chatter and doesn’t mind playing your parrot adult education game. He says to you, “Her treat.”

Males are more likely to speak than females

Yes they can. Male parakeets have a greater desire to speak than females. Males usually start to speak when they are 1 to 2 years old. You can encourage your parakeet to talk by rewarding it every time it makes an attempt.

Common parakeet sounds

Parakeets are highly intelligent and just love mimicking sounds and speech. Here are the cute sounds they like to make:

PIP

Parakeets usually make this sound if they see or smell food or when they’re excited.

ROO

This is similar to the PIP noise but it’s deeper and more pronounced. Your parakeet will make this sound when they see a bird flying by their cage.

CAW

These are very loud and sharp sound similar to that of a cawing crow. If your parakeet makes this sound, they are very happy with their surroundings and can be coaxed to sing for you.

CHEE

This is similar to the CAW sound but it’s softer and gentler. Parakeets might make this sound if they see a bird outside of their cage flying past.

CHIRRUP

This is a soft chirping sound that your bird makes in the mornings and evenings to greet you. They also make this sound when they see you after you’ve been away for a long time.

How to teach a parakeet to talk?

Here’s a fun experiment to test how intelligent your parakeet really is.

For some parakeet owners, teaching their pet to talk is as challenging as training cats. Nevertheless, it is important for you to understand that parakeets are not as intelligent as parrots, however, they can still be taught to whistle, chirp, and talk.

As with most pets, there are many combinations to tackle this trick, but the most popular training technique is the target stick.

Step 1: Make it a target

It helps to attach a bright object such as a grosgrain or a piece of ribbon to a stick. If you find a stick in the backyard or the park, remove any stickers or accessories such as feathers and bark. Step 2: Get a word

Get one parakeet word at a time. Being consistent is important in this process as it will help you learn the word as well as impress your parakeet.

Step 3: Get behind the word

Pick a word that is easy for your parakeet to say, like “hello” or “hey!”. When your parakeet applies the word for the first time, let him hear the word in normal speed.

Make sure your parakeet is happy

You know that feeling when you finally get an opportunity to have a conversation with someone who speaks your language?

It’s a bit like that with your parakeet. When you train it to talk, you will get to communicate with them and get your two-cents from them.

Encouraging intelligent behavior is an important part of bonding with your bird. If your parakeet is unhappy, it won’t cooperate. You must first ensure that your parakeet is as comfortable as possible before even considering training.

Parakeets need plenty of attention and are not happy left for long periods alone.

The best way to train your parakeet to talk is to interact with it several times every day and use the methods below to encourage it to talk.

Time of the day is important

Different parakeets have different daily schedules. And this seemingly trivial detail matters a lot.

For example, if your parakeet is a lark and wakes up before noon, your training sessions will be more effective if you divide them between the morning and afternoon.

On the other hand, if your parakeet is a night owl, you will notice that your parakeet is full throttle at night. This means that training sessions will be more effective if you add a few at night.

Repeat simple words

Repeat simple words and sentences very patiently. Begin with the word/s taught by the person who spends the most time with the parrot. For example, I chose the words: “nama” (name) and “mau kemana” (where to go) for my two parrots. Say these words gently without a serious tone and repeat them again and again. It will be easy for the parrot to recognize these words quicker.

Then give the parrot a chance to repeat them.

Pay attention to the parrot, and repeat the words a couple of times more. If the parrot repeats these words loudly and clearly, do not forget to praise the parrot and give it some instant gratification. It can be in the form of food, treats, or a stroke on its crest.

One word at a time

It’s been a long-running joke that parakeets can’t say more than one word: “I love you.”

Many owners report that, like a pet dog, they don’t seem to have a real grasp of language. When you learn about why it’s so hard for parakeets to understand what you’re saying, it’s not all that surprising.

Starting from the beginning, it turns out that parakeets don’t have the same kind of brains we have. Our brain has a particularly large neocortex, which allows us to process language in multiple ways.

Parakeets, on the other hand, have a smaller neocortex (though they are clever birds). This affects their ability to produce the complex speech we are able to produce.

Additionally, despite the fact that parakeets can mimic human voices, they don’t have the vocabulary that we do. They only know a few words, but according to some studies, they do have the ability to say more than one word. So perhaps it’s just a matter of practicing the pronunciation and technical skills.

Use treats

One way to get your parakeets to talk is through using treats. Just remember to first use training phrases that don’t have negative connotations.

If you want your parakeet to repeat the phrase, “Good birdie” for instance, the trick is to avoid thinking that your parakeet is a parrot. If you do that, your parakeet will think it’s just a bird and won’t understand the words you are saying.

If you treat your parakeet like its a parrot, it will treat itself as one and won’t understand what “Good birdie” means.

Instead, be sure to keep your parakeet in a cage with a mirror, so you can see it when you’re speaking to it and train it to talk back to you.

Build a routine

If you want something to happen at a certain time (like your canary singing at sunrise), you can systematically teach her to do so by reinforcing up to five portions per day. Use a whistle or any other call that has a distinct sound.

For example, let’s say you want your canary to sing at sunrise. First, set an alarm for 5:00AM, so you won’t get up early and awaken your Canary. At 5:00AM, there will be a sound, and when you react positively to that sound, your canary will learn to respond to it.

If you repeat this four or five times per day, your canary will learn to sing at sunrise. Teaching your bird to sing or talk is the exact same process, but with different sounds.

For example, you can set the alarm for a half hour earlier, and then play your CDs with your birds chirping those specific words. The next time you wake up, if the CD player isn’t playing the sounds you want, then you know that it’s time to play it again (whether you’re awake or not).

Respond to activities

If you are a parakeet owner, you’ll know that these birds have a lot of voice. They are not loud in nature, perhaps because they are constantly talking.

Don’t be surprised though because they are not squeaking. Parakeets have a relatively large vocal range for their small size, and in the wild, their calls play a major role in avoiding predators and attracting a mate.

Because of their ability to make sounds, you can teach your parakeets to imitate sounds or speech. All you have to do is combine parakeet talk with another activity.

For example, you can try saying hello when you gave your parakeet a food. Don’t say it in a human voice but in the way they usually talk. Watch to see if he or she repeats it. If he does, respond with your regular talk.

You can also say the same word over and over again, and your pet will repeat the word. Try to work around the word and make the parakeet try to repeat the sound as close as possible to the word you’re saying.

FAQ

Can parakeets talk?

Parakeets can’t really talk per se. Their vocabulary isn’t broad enough and they don’t have the organs to create the big range of sounds a human’s vocal cords can. It’s more likely that they squawk and chirp to communicate and express happiness, fear, and other emotions.

If you really want your parakeet to talk, you’ll need to invest a lot of time into training them. The first thing you need to remember is not to force your parakeet. If your bird isn’t really into learning human words, it would be a wastage of your time and effort.

Instead of just training your parakeet to mimic certain words, try and teach them some words and phrases, and first words tend to be the easiest. Then maintain a daily habit of talking to your parakeet.

Parakeets are happy to learn when they’re young, and learning gets harder when your bird gets older. Don’t wait until your parakeet becomes old to start learning. Most birds don’t even learn to talk when they’re older.

How long does it take a parakeet to talk?

It really depends on the species of the parakeet. Talking ability varies between the different species of parakeets, with some talkers being better than others.

For example, many Indian Ring necks are much easier to handle, and have more of a parakeet personality and appearance than the Australian varieties. Many of these birds can be quite sweet natured.

For that reason, if behavior is what you’re after, the Indian Ring neck is a good choice.

However, from the ones I’ve raised and owned, it’s European Parrotlets (EPs) and African Parrotlets (APs) that have the best ability to mimic words. You are lucky to get even two word phrases from any of the Parrotlet varieties.

On the other hand, Australian Parrotlets can just not compete with the talking ability of the above named varieties.

Australian Parrotlets do make great companions as they seem to get along well with many others of their own kind, they can be taught to talk, and they also learn very rapidly and are easy to train with food as a reward.

They have also been known to be quite affectionate with their owners and I have seen this type sit on their owner’s shoulder watching TV.

How do you teach a parakeet to talk?

All parrots are capable of mimicking speech features [5], though the smaller the bird, the harder it is for it to speak words and smaller birds rarely learn to speak as a result of their size.

But, parrots can be trained to talk like humans do. If you don’t want to teach your parrot to talk, all you have to do is never teach it to talk.

No matter what you do your parrot will probably attempt to learn your language. It’ll have more luck learning a language if it already has some of the words or syllables.

But to try and teach your parrot to speak like a human, you’ll need to start when your parrot is quite young and still has its baby feathers.

The most important part of teaching your parrot to talk is consistency.

Do parakeets understand what you say?

Parakeets understand a number of words but not the same way that a parrot does. Parakeets have a limited vocabulary. Parakeets understand some words as specific commands. They will understand some words as emotional cues such as happy/excited or tired/sleepy.

Have you ever heard of the saying “A happy parrot is a well behaved parrot?”

Parakeets have specific words that they know from their vocabulary that you can teach them (good, no, come here, etc.) and they understand these words to be specific commands.

For example:

If you say the word “good boy” to your parakeet, not only will he dance for you and think that he is getting a treat or some attention, but he will also think that this means he is being praised for his good behavior. And, when you see him acting good, use these words "good boy" as praise. He will associate these words with his good behavior.

Do parakeets like music?

Parakeets are considered to be among the most musical of all birds.

Most parakeets learn to mimic the human speech from less than 100 words ­within weeks of being taught.

This makes them better learners than dogs and can even surpass their intelligence!

You can not only teach them a few words …but also let them learn and sing by themselves.

At what age do parakeets start talking?

As babies, parakeets don’t yet have many words in their vocabulary. It’s early pre-teens when they really start to show promise with most of them learning 50 words or more.

The best time to learn new words for parakeets is between the ages of 6 to 11 months, though they can learn words up to 16 months.

At around 11 months old, your parakeet will start mimicking sounds that you make. This usually includes some of the words that you have said to them as well.

Parakeets may also develop their own word combination to express an emotion.

Can parakeets learn their name?

Yes, but don’t expect too much.

Parakeets are gentle parrots that get along well with people and pets, but they rarely communicate vocally. Also, they don’t mimic sounds in the way that bigger parrots do.

However, that doesn’t mean they can’t learn! Pet parakeets enjoy learning new skills and tricks.

When you teach your parakeet to say its name, you are offering a valuable communication tool. Not only does it help you alert your birds to certain actions (such as giving them fresh water or crumbs), but they can also tell you when they have a wet bottom or are going for a good ride on their bird swings.

So, every time you call their name, talk to your birds as if they were interested. Make eye contact and smile. Tell your bird what a good bird they are and why. And be sure to give them a tasty reward such as birdie bread when they do respond correctly.

Here are a few tips to help teach a parakeet its name:

Repeat your parakeet’s name 3-4 times right after waking them up, as soon as you put them to bed, and several times throughout the day.

Do parakeets recognize their owners?

Parakeet owners often wonder if their parakeets have the ability to talk and remember their voice.

We all agree that parakeets really have the gift of gab and love to talk to you all day long.

Well there is some truth behind it.

Parakeets have a highly developed voice and can mimic the sounds they hear from their environment very efficiently. Parakeets, though, are very poor at learning new words. They can learn to associate certain words with a familiar object or sound.

Parakeets learn words by listening to them from a familiar source. What this means is that if you’re introducing words and sounds to your parakeet, it is important to do so from a familiar source.

This is why it’s so important to speak directly to your parakeet when you want to name him or her. It’s also important to use a calm and consistent voice.

Don’t worry if your parakeets can’t repeat your words back perfectly or at all. They’ll learn your voice and develop an emotional attachment with you simply by associating your voice with safety and security.

They’ll learn your voice and develop an emotional attachment with you simply by associating your voice with safety and security.

Do parakeets like to watch TV?

This would be the most entertaining and a bit of relaxing part of the day because your little buddy is going to learn them on their own and you just have to be the initiator.

The birdbrain is your bird, that means they have their own head for thinking and understanding. Use your time and a little patience, you can teach your bird some tricks.

You have to teach your Parakeet the steps and always be consistent. They have to understand each step before you can move on.

All animals love to learn new things and there are few tricks you can teach it. It is especially fun to teach your Parakeet to talk and whistle.

There are certain consequences for this type of pet and they are not able to live in large groups like other pets can do.

Research shows that there are some problems in this type of pet. It is like having a wild animal in your house.

You can’t ask for a better pet than a Parakeet. If you have little time and you want to have fun with one. This is the right choice!

Tidying the house for real estate is a time-consuming process. It is recommended to hire Green Cleaners of RSMV (Rely On Me) if you need help.

Having a bird at your house is kind of an outrageous idea and you need to be aware of.

Can female parakeets talk?

I haven’t met or know many male talkers so I can’t say for sure.

From a scientific standpoint, behavioral experts agree that females can learn to talk because they have the same vocal chords (if you have the money and opportunity, female) You’ll have to be prepared to work with your bird and stick with it.

If you have a male, you may be lucky and get it to talk, but it’s rare.

The best way to learn how to teach your parakeet to talk is to read various threads, forums, or websites.