When Moe of 'The 3 Stooges' hit Curly on the head and called him "bird brain" (which, according to Dictionary.com, means "a stupid, foolish, scatterbrained person"), Moe didn't how far this phrase had been from the truth! Birds are, in fact, amongst some of the most intelligent creatures on Earth. If you're interested in owning a bird with above-par intelligence, read on. These fine feathered friends are sure to impress you, and are listed in no particular pecking order!
The African Grey Parrot
Regarded as the most intelligent bird species on this earth, the African Grey Parrot has actually been tested to have an intellect on the same level as a human child! Endemic to the West and Central African rain forests, these birds are known for their imitation and understanding of human speech. The African Grey Parrot, like other talking birds, are mainly a one person bird. This special relationship with the owner is one factor that shapes their talking abilities. Influenced also by their surroundings, these parrots are smart enough in their mimicking many sounds that they often can fool their predators!
These extremely social birds have endearing personalities and great speaking abilities, not to mention them being extremely intelligent also, being able to imitate a wide variety of sounds (their talking ability however, is dependent solely training by humans). Well suited to human companionship, this parrot is extremely affectionate and bond strong with their owners. There are different cockatoo species around the world and they include the yellow crested, long-billed, and rose-breasted cockatoo (which are the better talkers.)
A bird of many colors and sizes, the Macaw represents the quintessential 'hookbill' parrot. This is a quite beautiful and intelligent bird able to mimic speech and learn tricks. The larger Macaws are probably the most recognizable and include the Blue and Gold, Scarlet, and Greenwing. The smaller of the species are equally as intelligent and shouldn't be overlooked as pets as they also have much to offer. The smaller of the species include the Yellow-Collared, Hahns, and Severe Macaws.
The Amazon Parrot
Kept as pets for hundreds of years throughout history, the sought after Amazon Parrot comes in many varieties. They're known for their supreme intelligence and superior talking ability. They can mimic so clearly that their words are hardly discernible from those of an actual human! They can also be trained to perform very complex tricks. Varieties include: The Blue-Fronted Amazon which is native to South America. They require human interaction to learn talking. These birds have tendencies to bond with one person and they mimic human voices only if properly socialized but when they are, they can talk for hours. They also love to sing and play with toys. The Yellow-crowned Amazon is found in the rain forests of North and South America and are affectionate and excellent talkers. However, some of this species never talk as it depends upon factors like environment and how often they interact with humans. These birds have very loud voices and can live more than 60 years! The Yellow-naped Amazon is recognized for imitating human speech and copying a wide range of words, making them yet another talented bird among Amazon Parrots. They begin talking at a young age and like other parrots they learn words and phrases from their owners. They are a one human bird, bonding and learning from that single owner. They're also quite adept at repeating songs they hear played around them! The Eclectus Parrot, native to New Guinea, is an eye catching vivid green in color and the female is an eye popping red and purple! Like some other species listed here, the Eclectus can be taught tricks and they make excellent companions. Known for its clarity of voice and even learning entire songs, this bird loves socialization and playtime and is a bird which develops a strong bond with its owner. This amazing and intelligent parrot will put some color into your life if that's what you're lacking!
The Hill Myna
Found in Southeast Asia, the Hill Myna is known as one of the best talking birds as they are able to mimic the human voice in exact tones! They also produce a wide range of screeches and whistles that can knock you right out of your recliner! Two main species (the Great Indian Hill and the Common Hill mynas) have more talking power than other mynas that also are great talkers but cannot match up to the aforementioned.
This species will learn and imitate words repeated by the trainer. Some can learn up to 250 words or more and use them in the proper situations (although my aunt's parakeet threw profanities at me every time I visited). Proper training in word usage is highly suggested. There are various types of parakeets from The Monk Parakeet found throughout Europe, South and North America to the Indian Ring Parakeet which is not only a good social bird but also a great companion! And I shan't forget to mention the Budgerigar or Common Pet parakeet, some of which can learn a whopping 300 to 500 words. That's a lot of talking!
Oh, That Clever Crow!
It's interesting to note here, according to a recent study, scientists have discovered that as smart as the above mentioned birds are, none are quite as intelligent as the crow, who is known to manufacture tools to suit its needs! For instance, the Japanese carrion crow will perch at traffic intersections and wait for a red light in order to place walnuts in the street for the cars to run over. When the traffic halts, this crow will swoop down and retrieve its shelled walnuts, newly cracked open by car tires proving, the crow is a smart bird that can clearly crack and see its nuts!
About the Author
Tom Matteo has been a freelance writer since 1992. He specializes in hardware and software reviews for computers and gaming systems, and occasionally writes about such topics as animal behavior and care. Tom resides in Bethlehem, PA with his wife Tina and his beloved cockapoo, Angel.