Top 7 Most Intelligent/Smartest Pet Parrot Species


Bird intelligence has been extensively studied, focusing on various attributes and abilities. Among the avian species, parrots have been a primary subject of investigation. Psittacines, which include parrots, macaws, and cockatoos, are widely recognized as exceptionally intelligent birds and rank among the most intelligent creatures overall.

A collage of the 7 most intelligent pet parrot species

However, with nearly 400 parrot species worldwide, determining the most intelligent and clever parrot species becomes a fascinating inquiry. If you aspire to own a highly intelligent pet parrot, your quest should commence with these remarkably gifted species. Below are the top seven parrot species renowned for their exceptional intelligence.

7. Indian Ringneck Parrot

Indian Ringneck Parrot

  • Price: $400 to $1,500
  • Lifespan: 20 to 30 years
Both male and female Indian Ringneck Parrots possess the remarkable ability to mimic human speech. Initially, these birds attentively listen to their surroundings, and subsequently, they imitate the voice of the human speaker. In fact, some individuals choose to hand-raise Indian Ringneck Parrot chicks specifically for this purpose. As a result, these parrots become remarkably docile and receptive to learning.

Their speech is exceptionally clear, rendering them one of the most proficient talking parrots. Moreover, Indian Ringneck parrots have even demonstrated the capacity to navigate YouTube channels in search of videos featuring their own species. Allow me to present an article showcasing one such Indian Ringneck parrot who thoroughly enjoys watching videos of fellow parrots.

6. Budgerigar

A Cute Budgie Sitting at Large on Metallic Basket

  • Price: $50 to $70
  • Lifespan: 5 to 8 years
Budgerigars, also known as common parakeets, shell parakeets or budgies, are definitely smart. They possess a remarkable neuron density, surpassing that of other birds, enabling them to imitate words, phrases, and even melodies akin to their larger parrot counterparts. Moreover, these delightful birds exhibit an impressive memory capacity, enabling them to learn names, recognize familiar individuals, perform tricks, and overcome various challenges.

One notable example of their exceptional linguistic abilities is Puck, a male budgerigar owned by American, Camille Jordan. Puck had etched his name in the annals of avian history by securing the world record for the largest vocabulary of any bird, boasting an astonishing repertoire of 1,728 words. Although Puck's physical presence departed in 1994, his linguistic prowess continues to captivate, with his record being officially recognized in the 1995 edition of the Guinness World Records.

The remarkable intelligence and linguistic capabilities of budgerigars, coupled with their endearing nature, make them a truly fascinating species. Their ability to mimic human speech and their remarkable memory skills have endeared them to bird enthusiasts worldwide.

5. Eclectus Parrot

A closer look at an Eclectus Parrot

  • Price: $1,000 to $3,000
  • Lifespan: 30 to 40 years
Eclectus parrots, known for their vibrant plumage and distinctive features, are also highly regarded for their remarkable intelligence. These parrots have demonstrated a wide range of cognitive abilities, including problem-solving skills, social intelligence, and excellent memory retention. For instance, Eclectus parrots have been observed using tools to access food sources in the wild, showcasing their problem-solving capabilities. They exhibit high levels of social intelligence by forming complex social hierarchies and engaging in cooperative behaviors with other members of their flock.

Eclectus parrots possess a diverse repertoire of vocalizations, ranging from a resounding, piercing squawk to melodic whistles and piercing screeches. Additionally, they have been observed emitting a chime-like call when a male parrot returns to the nest bearing food. This intriguing behavior appears to be a display of gratitude or a recognition of the male's return.

Additionally, these parrots possess an impressive capacity for vocal mimicry, often able to accurately imitate various sounds and human speech. This speaks not only to their cognitive abilities but also highlights their strong communication skills. Overall, the Eclectus parrot's intelligence is a testament to its adaptability and versatility in its natural habitat as well as in captivity making them fascinating creatures worthy of study and admiration.

4. Cockatoo

A Cockatoo

  • Price: $600 to $1500
  • Lifespan: up to 50 years depending the species
Cockatoos are typically medium to large parrots with a sturdy physique, easily identifiable by their striking crests and curved bills. These intelligent birds have demonstrated their ability to acquire new skills through social interaction. In a fascinating study conducted in New South Wales, both researchers and citizen scientists successfully traced the spread of lid-flipping abilities among cockatoos, as they learned from one another to open garbage bins.

Further shedding light on the cognitive abilities of these remarkable creatures, a team of esteemed scientists from Oxford University, the University of Vienna, and the Max Planck Institute conducted a series of tests on ten untrained Goffin's cockatoos. Astonishingly, these birds showcased their problem-solving prowess by successfully tackling intricate mechanical puzzles.

This groundbreaking research not only highlights the remarkable adaptability and intelligence of cockatoos but also underscores the significance of social learning in their acquisition of new skills.

3. Amazon Parrot

A cute Amazon Parrot

  • Price: $1,200 –to $2,500
  • Lifespan: 25 to 60 years
Amazon parrots are highly sought-after as pets and companion parrots, largely due to their remarkable talent for mimicking human speech and various sounds. Additionally, they exhibit a remarkable affinity for human music and singing. It is truly fascinating to note that the intelligence level of an Amazon parrot is comparable to that of a human toddler. This exceptional cognitive ability further adds to their appeal and makes them truly extraordinary companions.

2. Macaw

A beautiful pet Macaw

  • Price: $1,000 to $18,000
  • Lifespan: Up to 50 years
Macaws are often regarded as one of the most intelligent bird species, demonstrating an impressive level of smartness in various aspects. Their ability to problem-solve, reason, and mimic human speech sets them apart from other avian species. Macaws possess excellent memory skills, enabling them to recall specific sounds and vocalizations over extended periods. Additionally, they exhibit an extraordinary capacity for learning complex tasks through positive reinforcement training techniques. For instance, macaws have been successfully trained to participate in elaborate routines during circus acts or even engage in conversation with their owners.

Moreover, their intelligence is evident in their dexterity when manipulating objects or solving puzzles to obtain rewards. Overall, the exceptional cognitive abilities of macaws highlight their remarkable smartness and position them as highly sought-after pets by individuals who value intellect and companionship in aviculture.

In January 2023, a remarkable incident involving a pet Macaw captured the attention of the public, as reported by The Pet Zealot. This courageous avian companion successfully thwarted a home invasion through its formidable squawks, leaving the intruders startled and fleeing the scene.

1. African Grey Parrot

A cute African Grey Parrot

  • Price: $500 to $4,000
  • Lifespan: 40 to 60 years
African Grey Parrots are considered the most intelligent among all parrot species. One of the key factors contributing to the African Grey Parrot's superior intelligence is its remarkable capacity for vocal mimicry. These birds possess an uncanny ability to imitate human speech and a wide range of sounds with astonishing accuracy. Furthermore, African Grey Parrots exhibit a remarkable capacity for learning and memory retention. They can quickly grasp new concepts, acquire new skills, and retain information for extended periods. This ability to learn and adapt makes them highly trainable and enables them to perform complex tasks with ease.

In a fascinating experiment conducted by Harvard researchers, an African grey parrot named Griffin showcased its remarkable cognitive abilities. The study aimed to assess a specific form of visual memory, pitting Griffin against a group of 21 Harvard students. Surprisingly, the parrot emerged as the top performer, surpassing both the young children and the undergraduates.

The experiment involved a complex rendition of the classic shell game, where participants had to track the movement of hidden objects. Astonishingly, Griffin consistently outperformed the 6- to 8-year-old children across all difficulty levels. Moreover, the parrot's performance rivaled or even exceeded that of the Harvard undergraduates in 12 out of the 14 trial types. This achievement is truly remarkable, challenging the notion of avian intelligence and proving that the term "bird brain" is far from accurate.

You might also be interested in reading:


Post a Comment

Post a Comment (0)

- -
To Top