Pet birds are beautiful and intelligent creatures, many of which have the intriguing advantage of being able talk. The answers to the following 7 questions will increase your chances of selecting one that will be able to speak.
1. What is the best way to determine speaking ability? The only way to guarantee that your pet will be able to speak is to hear it talk. Even though some breeds seem to be more able to talk than others, each bird is an individual and there is no guarantee that the bird you select will be able to talk or live up to the standard that is usual for the breed.
Make sure that speaking ability is secondary to your commitment to provide a healthy and loving environment for the bird you choose. It's counting on you from day one.
2. Are there certain species which are more likely to talk? Yes, the bigger parrots have more of a reputation for talking. These include Cockatoos, the Yellow Head Amazon Parrot, and some Macaws. Smaller breeds like Cockatiels, Parakeets (Budgies), and Conures are often able to verbalize as well.
3. What age can I expect to start to hear words? The speaking age differs with the breed. Most birds need to start young, as there is a limited window of opportunity during the first several years of the bird's life to train them. However, the Congo African Grey is the exception to this rule in that it speaks later and continues to learn new words throughout its life.
4. Does it matter where I adopt the bird? A hand fed bird is a better choice (usually from a breeder) because it has developed a trusting relationship with humans. Having a bird that is not afraid of humans is a huge plus, and can yield huge benefits when training begins.
5. Are there factors that can help determine if an individual bird will speak? In general male birds are better talkers than females. A young bird makes a better student. A healthy bird is a good choice for obvious reasons. And the breed is all-important.
6. I bought a bird because it was supposed to be able to learn words, but it does not. Post why? Depending on the age of your bird, you may have missed the chance for having your bird learn. It may also be an individual trait or the gender. Some birds regardless of what they are supposed to be able to do just do not possess the ability.
It is my greatest hope that you will continue to provide a good home for your bird despite this glitch in your plans. You may come to the point where you enjoy your bird because it does not speak. Give it some thought.
7. Is there a way to pick a bird from the pet store that might be able to talk? Trying to determine which bird will speak is risky business. Observe the bird at different times during the day to see how chatty it is; the more chattering it does, the better your chances are to bring home a talker. Also avoid birds that show signs of illness such as puffed up feathers, low energy, and any secretions from eyes and nose.