Parrots – Do they really talk?

Parrots ParrotsWalk into the home of a parrot owner and you will likely hear a raucous “Hello” from the colourful bird. Just what is it about parrots that allow them to talk?

 

 

Parrots

Image Source: (http://www.flickr.com/photos/thenaughtyprata/2425209174/)

Parrots, also know as psittacines, “talk” as a form of communication. Parrots in the wild will learn to vocalize by mimicking the sounds of their parents and the other birds in its social group. However, a parrot in a home surrounded by human communication will view the humans as its social circle and will naturally try to communicate with them by mimicking the sounds it hears.

Unlike humans, parrots do not have vocal cords. Instead, they learn to control the movement of the muscles in their throat to direct the airflow in a way to reproduce certain tones and sounds—sometimes even human sounds! With careful training, parrots can be trained to speak words, sing, and whistle. However when they speak, they are merely mimicking words. They do not understand what they are saying at all.

So, don’t be fooled by the parrot which shrieks “Hello” when you come in, it might say the same thing when you leave!

There is no question that some parrots show signs of intelligence!

An example is the African Grey parrot named Alex. Alex can associate human words with meanings, and intelligently identify shapes, colour, number, etc. It can also produce human speech. This video below shows the intelligence of this bird!

 Alex the African Grey Parrot!

Image Source: (http://www.freewebs.com/icu109/photos/alex_parrot.jpg

Watch this intelligent parrot!

References:

‘Can parrots really talk?’ URL: http://www.bigsiteofamazingfacts.com/can-parrots-really-talk

‘Why do parrots talk?’ by Nicole Hoelscher, eHow Contributing Writer, 30 May 2009. URL: http://www.ehow.com/members/ds_nicole10159.html

“How do parrots speak so clearly and mimic so well?” By Askville.amazon.com. URL: http://askville.amazon.com/parrots-speak-mimic/AnswerViewer.do?requestId=7222240

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