Phoenix Feathers & AZ Parrots

hand raised conures, african greys, and macaws

I want a bird that talks

I get this a lot - does the bird talk, or I only want a bird that talks.

Having a bird that talks should never be your primary reason for wanting a bird. While almost all parrots have the capability to talk, not all of them do. Think of it more as they have the potential to talk. Take the African Grey parrot for instance. Along with the yellow headed amazon parrot, they are one of the best speakers. They are also highly intelligent. Some of them speak clearly, have large vocabularies, understand abstract concepts like colors, shapes and numbers, and can communicate exactly what they want. Others don't speak words but are amazing at music, sound effects, beeps and whistles. There is no difference between them. One speaks, the other doesn't. Why pass up an amazing bird just because it doesn't speak words?

Sometimes people are so fascinated with the idea of a bird that talks that they don't see the reality of it either. My African Grey, Zoe, has quite the vocabulary. She sings "la la la la la". She also growls like a dog. She says Good Morning, her name, says Jump! while she jumps up and down. She also says, "Don't fucking swear" and a few other things. This is funny and entertaining when I'm outside feeding them each day, but not something I want to hear ALL DAY LONG.

My Blue Crown Conure, Jackie, starts each day out with something that sounds like a quack. He repeats it every few seconds for several hours. While I love that old man to death, the quack is annoying and some days it tries my patience. Now imagine hearing, "Good Morning, Hi Zoe, Jump, Don't Fucking Swear" every few seconds for 3 or 4 hours at a time. That's the reality of a bird that talks. I'm not saying that every bird will do that and if properly trained they will use it to communicate with you, not bombard you with a constant stream of vocalizations.