Senegal parrots aren’t the best talking birds, but owners can usually train them to speak. Some Senegal parrots can learn dozens of words and basic human phrases, but not all learn to talk well.
Senegal parrots are among the quieter parrot species, and they prefer to whistle, chatter, and squawk.
If you start training your Senegal parrot while it’s still young and spend a small amount of time each day training it, it’ll start to mimic you.
Encourage your Senegal parrot to talk by repeating words to it regularly. Only choose words and phrases that are easy for Senegal parrots to repeat, giving them the best chance of learning to speak.
Can Senegal Parrots Talk?
As stated, Senegal parrots are known for being a quieter bird species.
The good news with this is that they don’t screech or scream like louder parrots. They’ll never be able to talk as well as African grey parrots or cockatoos.
However, Senegal parrots can learn words and basic phrases with consistent training. According to PLoS One, parrots have a highly developed genome sequence that enables them to display human-like qualities.
Senegal parrots are most likely to talk if you:
- Speak to them throughout the day
- Leave the TV and radio on
- Repeat words and phrases
When Senegal parrots do talk, they speak relatively clearly. Owners should be able to clearly understand what they’re saying, especially if they’ve spent time teaching their bird to talk from an early age.
Instead of human words, Senegal parrots are better at mimicking sounds, such as:
- Alarm clocks
- Clicker sounds
Don’t be disheartened if your Senegal parrot never learns to talk. Not all do, so don’t choose one if you’re specifically looking for a talking bird.
Do All Senegal Parrots Talk?
Many factors affect whether a Senegal parrot will talk, such as its willingness to learn and how well it’s been socialized. There’s pressure on owners to encourage their birds to speak.
Without encouragement, Senegal parrots likely won’t be interesting in speaking.
Do Female Senegal Parrots Talk?
Both male and female Senegal parrots can be taught to speak.
Male parrots tend to be bolder and more aggressive than females. This can be beneficial or a hindrance when teaching your parrot how to speak.
Senegal parrots are one of the easiest species to train because of their advanced intelligence. They pick up clicker training and respond to positive reinforcement. This means you can teach either sex to speak.
At What Age Do Senegal Parrots Start to Talk?
All Senegal parrots are different, so there’s no definitive age at when they begin to talk.
Some owners report their parrots mimicking words from six months of age, while others don’t start talking until they’re a few years old. Some never speak at all.
Several factors affect your Senegal parrot’s speaking age, such as:
- Your parrot’s personality and characteristics
- How early you start training it to speak
- The age of your bird – younger parrots are easier to train
- Your bird’s willingness to talk
- How bonded your your parrot is with you
- How quiet the environment is, as Senegals don’t enjoy chaotic living areas
The sooner you start training your parrot, the more likely it’ll be to speak. The reality is, your parrot will never attempt to mimic you if you don’t try to talk to them.
Do Senegal Parrots Understand Us?
Even though some Senegal parrots can mimic words with a reasonable degree of accuracy, they don’t understand what they’re saying as they lack the brain capacity or intelligence to do so. That being said, they may gain a contextual awareness based on their owners’ interactions with them.
For example, if owners consistently say “Hello” to their parrot as they walk into the room they’re kept in, Senegals start to recognize the context of the interaction and repeat it back to their owners.
The confusion comes when humans respond to appliances when they beep. Once parrots learn that these sounds get their owners’ attention, they mimic them. Because beeps and other electrical sounds are easier to copy than words, some parrots don’t try to expand their vocabularies.
Can Senegal Parrots Understand English?
Senegal parrots don’t have the cognitive abilities to distinguish between human languages, meaning they don’t understand English. They only mimic the language of their owners because that’s what they hear, not what they know.
It may seem that your parrot can understand what you’re saying, but our brains fill in the blanks when our birds say nonsensical sounds, making it seem as if they’re having a conversation with us.
How To Teach a Senegal Parrot to Talk
Teaching a Senegal parrot to talk isn’t easy – it takes time, patience, and consistency.
However, if you stick at it and start while your parrot’s as early as possible, you should see success. Don’t force your bird to do anything it doesn’t want to, though, as teaching it to speak will turn into a stressful experience.
Build a Bond
Your parrot will be more receptive to training if you’ve built a bond and created trust with it first.
While it’s best to start young, spend some time interacting with your bird first. You’ll find that once your parrot loves you, it’ll want to please you by mimicking words all the time.
Simple Words and Sounds
According to PLoS One, it’s rare for parrots to mimic complex sounds.
While parrots have the most advanced vocal mimicry skills out of all non-human animals, Senegals, like most birds, can’t learn more than basic words.
That’s why you should keep your training routine simple, sticking to one or two-syllable words such as:
- “Good bird”
Start simple, and in time, your Senegal parrot may move on to longer, more complicated words and phrases.
The trick to getting your Senegal parrot to mimic words and phrases is to repeat them. In the same way that human babies learn words by copying them, parrots do too.
Start with one word at a time and use it around your bird as much as possible. Once it starts to mimic you, move on to the next one and keep repeating this process until your bird’s built up a decent vocabulary of words.
You can encourage your Senegal parrot to learn words faster by associating words with:
To do this, make the action, expression, or sound and raise an object to your parrot’s eye level so that it can see what you’re holding. Repeat the word over and over, following the same steps.
Senegal parrots are motivated by rewards, specifically food. Whenever your parrot successfully mimics words, reward it with a treat to encourage it to keep learning.
Patience and Consistency
Your parrot won’t learn to speak overnight. It’s likely to take months for your bird to learn only a few words.
The process can be slow and frustrating, which is why you mustn’t give up. You’ll need to spend at least a few minutes every day going over words and phrases. Otherwise, your bird won’t learn.
Similarly, you must exercise patience. If you push your bird too hard or speed through the process, you’ll make it resent you. As a result, you’ll find it harder to train your Senegal.
All Senegals are different with unique personalities. What works for one bird may not work for another, so be adaptive with your training methods to find what works for your pet.
Getting to know your parrot will help you determine the right course of action. Also, don’t be afraid to change things up if you do not see progress.
What Sounds Do Senegal Parrots Make?
As mentioned, Senegal parrots aren’t prolific screamers or screechers. They’re not completely quiet, though, as all birds make noise, even though they’re calm and peaceful.
Here are the most common sounds Senegal parrots make:
You’ll often hear your Senegal parrot whistling, particularly if you make the sound frequently around your bird. When Senegal parrots whistle, they make a soft, pleasant sound that’s easy to listen to.
Whistling is similar to talking to parrots, and they learn to make the sound by listening to their owners, the TV, or the radio. It’s a sign they’re happy – parrots don’t whistle if they’re angry or sad.
Senegal parrots sometimes whistle to gain their owners’ attention, particularly if they’re bored. You can encourage your parrot to talk by teaching it to whistle first. Once it’s mastered the sound, move on to words.
Squawking is a common parrot sound, so it makes sense that Senegal parrots squawk frequently. They make the sound to get what they want, such as:
- Out-of-cage playtime
However, pay attention to your parrot’s mannerisms and mood when it squawks, as it also indicates danger.
Senegal parrots squawk when they see other animals close by. Some parrots also squawk during a night terror. This is when they become fearful at night due to unfamiliar sights, sounds, or smells.
Chattering is one of the most relaxing sounds a Senegal parrot can make. Chattering sounds like an endless stream of nonsensical syllables interspersed with whistles and random words.
It’s a sign of contentment and joy and occurs when a Senegal parrot learns to say words. If you have several parrots, you’ll hear them chattering to one another before bedtime. This is how they connect in their flocks.
If you want your Senegal parrot to speak, spend time interacting with it. The more you speak and sing to your parrot, the more likely it will repeat words back to you.