Have you ever wondered how to teach your parrot to talk? I have had many pet birds during my life and the ones who could talk were the most memorable and the most entertaining!
Male and Female Budgies
Our current bird is a budgie called Rooster. We named him when we thought he was a he…..but actually he is a she. When budgies are very young it is difficult to tell the males and females apart. We wanted a male bird, because typically they are better at talking and are tamer. The females tend to bite (Rooster has that trait!). The colour of the cere, which is their “nose” area, just above the beak, is the best way to tell males and females apart. The male budgie has a blue cere, while the famale cere is brownish. When budgies are very young their ceres are kind of purplish. Then, as they mature, their cere colour becomes more defined. The best time to start training a budgie is when they are very young, so it’s a bit of a gamble!
Anyway, Rooser is a girl…but we thought he was a boy initially because he was so young when we got him, so we just call him a boy. He goes along with it. He is seven years old, which is starting to be quite old for a budgie. They tend to live for around 5-8yrs in captivity.
How to train him
Parrots are the best kinds of birds to tame and teach how to talk. They have a voice box that allows them to make a talking noise. Once he has learned how to make this noise, he will learn a number of words and phrases that you teach him (and will probably pick up a few words you don’t intentionally teach him as well!).
When he is young, have lots of contact with him. Teach him to sit on your finger in the cage, gradually bring him out of the cage and teach him to sit on your shoulder. Talk to him every time you enter the room. When you talk to him, always repeat the phrases you want him to learn. Start with one phrase and say it over and over until you think you are going a little loopy, but keep saying it. He will soon start experimenting with sounds in amongst his normal budgie chatter, and one day he’ll come out with your phrase! That’s when you keep repeating it back to him and then add in a new phrase. He will probably learn this one much quicker than the first one.
Your young parrot will continue to learn new things for a year or so if you continue to spend time with him and keep talking to him. They do seem to get to a stage where they won’t learn new words any more. They don’t forget the ones they know though. He will keep saying them to you because you are part of his “flock” now. He thinks you and he are a family and will be so happy to see you every day. Super cuteness.
I am using “he” in this section, only because the males learn the best, however, see our Rooster in the clip below and you will realise that female parrots can learn to talk very well too if you are persistent.
Rooster can say the following things: (The clip below shows him saying some of these. Can you hear them?)
- “Give us a kiss”
- “Hey Rooster”
- “Good boy”
- “Hey Roose
- “Good boy Rooster”
- “Rooster boy”
In amongst all this talk, he loves to sing “Do do do dooo” and make adorable “Me me me” sounds too. We didn’t teach him these sounds, he just picked them up himself.
Other sounds he has picked up:
- creaking laundry door
- unzipping laptop case then the velcro
- unzipping school bags
- blowing nose
- kissing noise
- a flock of birds tweeting nearby then fading out as they fly into the distance
These have been very funny to discover Rooster doing as time has gone on.
A very effective way to teach your young parrot to talk, is to record your voice, saying a few phrases over and over. Play this recording to your parrot when he is alone and this will accelerate his learning. A friend of ours had great success teaching her budgie to talk this way. Talking to him in the dark is also good because he can focus on your voice without distraction.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about how to teach your parrot to talk. It can be so rewarding if you are prepared to put in the effort. Parrots are so interactive and comical. Our girls are entertained by Rooster every day.
Do you have a talking bird? I’d love to hear your bird training tips and tricks.