Many parrot species are known to be excellent talkers. Some can mimic sounds and words with little effort, while others needs daily training sessions with their owners. When your parrot greets you for the first time with a hearty salutation, there is a satisfaction that cannot be described as anything but thrilling.
The Best Talkers
African greys often have an amazing ability to talk. They can mimic voices and sounds to the point that many people are often convinced there is someone in the house, or that the phone is ringing. Amazon and Jardine's parrots are similar in their ability.
Some cockatoo subspecies are known to be talkers, others say only a few words.
The little Budgie can learn to form complete sentences. Listen carefully, as their voices are high-pitched. A famous talker is Victor the budgie, who has a vocabulary of more than 1,000 words (see Resources).
Eclectus parrots, macaws, pionus, quaker parakeets, ringneck parakeets, some conures and cockatiels are all capable of mimicry. Each has their own voice and training needs. For additional information on parrot species who may talk, see Resources.
One of the most important things to remember when training your parrot to talk is that it may never do so. Not all parrots will talk, even those who are known for this ability. Males of some species are more likely than females to talk.
A quiet room without distractions is the best tool for teaching your parrot specific words or phrases. Limit training time. Depending on the species of parrot, he may become bored very easily.
The best method for training your parrot to talk is to use words that are connected to an action. When you enter your bird's room say, "Hello." When you are holding or petting him, say, "I love you." When he drops a treat say, "Uh oh!" It is a lot like teaching a child to talk; they learn more easily both from hearing you say something and associating it with what you are doing.
Many parrots pick up the sound of your telephone, fax and doorbell without much trouble. This can be quite confusing for you, but also rather charming. Teaching him to sing or whistle is best done in a quiet room because he needs to really listen and have the sounds repeated over and over.
Things to Avoid
Be careful what you and your family members say around your parrot. If you regularly swear in the vicinity of an adept talker, you may hear that word for the next 40 years. If you are in the habit of yelling, or if your kids like to shriek through the house, he probably will pick those noises up quickly, and they may become his favorite sounds to make, forever.
If you house your parrot with another parrot whose species is known for screaming, like a macaw, some conures or a cockatiel, you will most likely have a second parrot who screams.