Not all parrot species have the same vocal abilities. Eclectus parrots are known for being quiet, but their temperament doesn’t reveal the true nature of their ability to perform mimicry.
Although quieter than other birds, Eclectus parrots can learn up to 250 words, speak different languages, have clear speech, and be trained to sing short songs.
Training an Eclectus to speak is fairly easy, as they’re intelligent birds that benefit from socialization. So, as long as they hear people talk regularly, they can develop a good vocabulary.
Can Eclectus Parrots Talk?
Eclectus parrots are among the most talented talking parrot species.
Eclectus parrots are shy about making traditional “bird noises,” like squawking, screeching, and high-pitched trills. But when it comes to mimicking words, Eclectus parrots are very chatty.
Eclectus parrots are good for people who want a bird they can talk with. What sets them apart from other talking parrots is how clear their enunciation is.
Eclectus parrots mimic the sounds they hear so well they can be clearly understood when they speak.
Can Eclectus Parrots Mimic Sounds?
Eclectus parrots do more than speak human languages. They can mimic virtually any sound, from musical instruments to digital sounds and laughter.
Parrots are naturally good at mimicking what they hear due to how their brains function.
According to the University of Alberta, parrots have a large medial spiriform nucleus that helps them relay information from the brain to the brain stem.
This allows them to accurately control their syrinx to produce the sounds they hear. The only animal with similar neural pathways is humans, with our pontine nucleus.
One of the many signs that your Eclectus parrot enjoys living with you is if it mimics the sounds it hears daily. Parrot flocks will have different vocal patterns even if they are the same species.
This indicates that different Eclectus parrots will have varied ways of communicating with the members of their flock. When your parrot mimics sounds you frequently make, your bird considers you part of its flock.
These sounds are the flock-specific vocal patterns your bird has learned to communicate with.
Can Female Eclectus Parrots Talk?
Female Eclectus parrots talk as much as male Eclectus parrots do. Eclectus parrots of both genders are fully capable of learning an abundance of words and talking as much as the other.
It isn’t known why female Eclectus parrots talk as much as the males while female parrots of other species don’t. However, there is a theory that bigger birds are smarter than smaller birds.
While budgies and cockatiels are smart in their own right, they don’t need the same level of cognitive function to form and maintain relationships in a flock.
Due to the size of their brains, Eclectus parrots may be more emotionally complex than smaller birds. To navigate the multiple relationships they form during their long lives, both males and females must communicate effectively.
At What Age Do Eclectus Parrots Start Talking?
It can take 3-12 months for an Eclectus parrot to start talking. When your parrot first starts talking, you may not be able to understand what it’s saying.
It takes a lot of practice for a young Eclectus parrot to mimic properly, but once it learns, it’ll have no problem enunciating words.
Some Eclectus parrots don’t start speaking until the 14-month mark, while others don’t like to talk. As long as you know that your parrot is completely healthy, there is nothing wrong with a silent bird.
How To Teach An Eclectus Parrot to Talk
Teaching an Eclectus parrot to talk is usually easy due to how friendly and agreeable the species is.
Follow these steps to teach your parrot to talk:
1/ Talk To Your Parrot
The first step in getting your Eclectus parrot to talk is to expose it to the human language. Eclectus parrots are friendly, and they love to socialize. Speak with it as often as you can.
Tell the other household members to speak to your bird and include it in conversations when you can. Put on some music or the TV, so your bird can familiarize itself with human sounds.
2/ Repetition and Context
Repetition is key when it comes to training a parrot.
It’s not enough to say things once or twice and expect your bird to pick up on it. Once you decide which words you want your parrot to learn, repeat them daily.
You could repeat a word multiple times during a training session, but using context with your parrot is more effective.
So, instead of saying hello multiple times to them, say hello every time you walk into a room. This way, it’ll associate the word with the action and greet you when you walk into a room.
3/ Easy Words and Phrases
Start by teaching your parrot easy words, especially if it’s a young parrot. Older parrots have more practice with mimicry, so they might be able to handle bigger words or phrases faster.
Start with simple, common words. They should be phrases the parrot is bound to hear regularly, such as greetings or words of affection.
Once your parrot is skilled at simple words, you can move to longer phrases and songs.
4/ Same Tone
Eclectus parrots are extremely smart but don’t understand language exactly like we do.
When they hear a word, they mostly hear what it sounds like without thinking about what it means unless they’ve learned the context behind it. Using the same tone of voice when speaking will help the parrot remember specific words.
Use different intonations for the different words and phrases. You can extend vowels for certain words or use a sing-song voice for others to help your parrot learn a variety of sounds.
5/ Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement will encourage your parrot to learn faster.
When your parrot successfully says something, reward it so that it associates talking with good things. Eventually, your parrot will love to talk for the sake of talking.
Positive reinforcement isn’t only limited to treats. Verbal praises and head rubs are also welcome. Use a happy tone when praising your parrot so that it’s aware that it’s doing a good job.
6/ Establish A Routine
Practice and consistency are crucial to learning. Establish a routine with your parrot where you spend time training it on how to speak.
Training sessions should be no more than 10 minutes, and you should integrate them into play sessions. You should never do 10 minutes of talking to your bird as you would a student since parrots are too impatient for that. They are more like toddlers, who learn better through playtime than lectures.
How Many Words Can Eclectus Parrots Learn?
Eclectus parrots can learn more than 200 words.
Of course, every parrot is different, even from the same species. Some Eclectus parrots won’t mimic that many words, even if they can.
Teaching an Eclectus parrot more than 250 words is no small feat.
It takes a lot of training to teach a parrot that many words. If you wish to expand your parrot’s vocabulary by that much, it’s not impossible, but it’ll be a long journey ahead.
Easy Words for Eclectus Parrots To Learn
The easiest words for Eclectus parrots to learn are words they can hear often.
While it’s true that you should start teaching your parrot to talk with simple words first, the words it’s most likely to repeat are the ones it hears often.
Words of greeting, praise, and affection are the most common words you’ll hear an Eclectus parrot mimic. These are usually the ones their owners say to them, no matter how long the phrases are.
Why Has My Eclectus Parrots Stopped Talking?
When an Eclectus parrot stops talking suddenly, it usually means it’s ill, stressed, or sad.
Parrots tend to speak less when they are upset about something. If your parrot has stopped talking, look for other signs of unhappiness, such as:
Take your parrot to the vet as soon as possible. Parrots are very good at hiding their illnesses, so you shouldn’t wait until other symptoms of illness arise.