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Talking birds are birds who can imitate human speech. Talking birds have varying degrees of intelligence and communication capabilities, some, like the crow, a highly intelligent bird, are only able to mimic a few words and phrases, while some budgerigars have been observed to have a vocabulary of almost two thousand words. The Hill Myna is a commonly kept pet, well known for its talking ability – whilst its relative, the European starling is also adept at imitating speech.[1]



Only recently has it been discovered that budgerigars are highly intelligent and masters of communication. In 1995 a budgerigar named Puck was credited by Guinness World Records as having the largest vocabulary of any bird, at 1,728 words. [2]

African Grey Parrots

The African Grey Parrots are particularly noted for their cognitive abilities. Some of the most notable African Grey Parrots are Alex, Prudle, and N'kisi.


Alex had a vocabulary of about 100 words,[3] but he was one of the most famous birds because of his cognitive abilities. In 2005, World Science reported that Alex understood the concept of zero.[4]


Prudle held the Guinness world record for bird with biggest vocabulary for many years with a documented vocabulary of 800 words. [5]


N'kisi is noted for his impressive English usage skills and other abilities. As of January 2004, he had a documented vocabulary of 950 words and shows signs of a sense of humor. N'kisi is believed to be one of the most advanced users of human language in the animal world.[6]

Hill Mynas

Hill Mynas are renowned for their ability to mimic the human voice. Many have claimed that the Hill Myna is the best talking bird and the best mimic in the world.[7]


Crows have long been considered to be highly intelligent, and top a bird IQ scale.[8]

See also

  • Lyrebird, ability to mimic natural and artificial sounds from their environment


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