Talking birds rank among the most popular pets, and for good reason. With a multitude of sizes, colors, and especially, personalities, there is a perfect bird for everyone.
What makes these birds so interesting and highly regarded is their renowned ability to mimic human speech. They can brighten up an apartment or home with their cheery coloration, affectionate chatter, and sometimes cheeky comments.
Some talking birds are easier to care for than others and are more suited for those with less experience keeping birds.
The Best Talking Birds for Beginners
The following list ranks birds on a combination of suitability for beginners and their ability to mimic speech.
Budgerigars are some of the most beloved talking birds. Also known as budgies, they are native to the woodlands of Australia and can live up to 8 years.
Due to their small size and sweet nature, they are an excellent choice for beginners. They can develop a large vocabulary and speak quite clearly for a smaller bird.
For someone looking for a small, easy-to-care-for talking bird, the budgie makes a great choice.
2. Monk Parakeet / Quaker Parrots
Monk parakeets (also known as Quaker parrots) can be superb talkers and have great personalities. Native to the woodlands of Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil, they can live up to 15 years.
They can learn a large variety of words and phrases, and their speech is clear and understandable. Monk parakeets form strong bonds with their owners, and will quickly become part of the family.
Due to their fun personalities and smaller size, they make an excellent choice for beginners.
Additional reading: Are Quaker Parrots Good Pets?
Cockatiels can learn to become fair talkers and rank as one of the easiest birds for beginners. In the wild, they are found in dry habitats in Australia, where they travel in pairs or flocks and stay close to water.
In captivity, they will live up to 25 years. They are typically quite gentle and appreciate being held.
Their talking abilities are good, and they can learn to whistle a variety of tunes. Beginners will appreciate their small size and easy-going attitude.
4. Derbyan Parakeet
The Derbyan parakeet is able to speak very well and makes a good pet for a beginner. In nature, they are found in the forested mountains of India and China.
A smaller bird, they are intelligent as well as affectionate and will provide up to 30 years of companionship. They require plenty of attention and will reward their owners with a strong bond and the occasional cuddle.
Unfortunately, wild populations of Derbyan parakeets are threatened, so be sure to purchase only certified captive-bred birds from a reputable source.
The Eclectus makes a wonderful pet and can develop an extensive vocabulary. Native to northern Australia and several islands in the South Pacific, the Eclectus can live for around 30 years in captivity.
The Eclectus is considered one of the top talking parrots. Both the quality of its speech and scope of vocabulary is quite impressive.
As a larger parrot, it has more advanced needs, such as a larger cage, greater mental stimulation, and more direct attention.
Meeting these needs and ensuring a happy bird will be rewarded; a thriving Eclectus is affectionate, gentle, and intelligent. This parrot is an excellent choice for the responsible beginner.
6. Amazon Parrots
Amazon parrots have good speaking abilities and can be a good choice for beginners. There are around 30 species of Amazon parrots found in the wild.
Native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America, they are very social, and often travel in large flocks. As a companion, they are generally well-tempered and sociable, although males can sometimes become more aggressive as they mature.
Like the Eclectus, they are a renowned talker and require the extra stimulation and space of a larger bird. Amazons can be lifelong companions and will live up to 70 years if properly cared for.
7. Hill Myna
The Hill Myna is unique to this list as it is the only non-parrot included. However, it certainly earns its place.
The Hill Myna is considered by some to be the most accomplished of all talking birds. The words and phrases that it produces have an uncanny, human-like quality to them.
Sometimes the resemblance is so perfect that the listener has a hard time distinguishing bird from human! Beyond their talent with words, Mynas have friendly, adaptable personalities.
Native to the forests and jungles of South and Southeast Asia, the Hill Myna can provide up to 25 years of companionship.
Due to their popularity, they can be quite expensive and difficult to source, so if your local pet store doesn’t carry them, you may need to seek out a reputable breeder.
8. Indian Ringneck Parakeet
The Indian Ringneck Parakeet is a good talker, and with the right care, it can make a wonderful pet. Found naturally across a variety of habitats in Southern India, it can live up to 30 years in captivity.
An intelligent bird, they thrive on attention and will misbehave if neglected. As a conversationalist, they are skilled at picking up both phrases and individual words.
The voice of an Indian Ringneck Parakeet is clear, melodious, and higher pitched than the raspy speech of some of the other parrots.
The Cockatoo is a fair talker and can be a good bird for the beginner who is prepared to give them the affection and stimulation they need.
Native to forested regions of Australasia, they can live up to 65 years in captivity. Cockatoos’ emotional needs are not to be overlooked, as neglected birds will show signs of depression and neurosis.
Well-cared-for birds, however, are a lot of fun and are known for their lively, affectionate, and sometimes mischievous behavior.
10. African Grey Parrot
The African Grey is considered by many to be the most fluent and intelligent of parrots and can make a wonderful companion for the right person.
Native to dense forests of equatorial Africa, they can live to 60 years in captivity. Research from Harvard indicates that they can outperform 5-year-old human children on certain mental tasks.
They can learn hundreds of words, and even combine those words to express themselves. Understandably, their mental and emotional needs are somewhat more complex than those of some of the smaller birds.
African greys require daily exercise, toys to stimulate and entertain, a large cage, and at least several hours of attention each day. These birds are best suited for a well-prepared beginner who is ready for a solid commitment.
While the 10 birds listed in this article vary in different ways, each has the potential to be a wonderful companion for many years, if not a lifetime.
From the tiny budgie to the intelligent African grey, and every bird in between, there is a bird to fit every lifestyle and experience level.