Home » Can Budgies Be Taught To Talk? (Yes, Here’s How To Do It!)
do all budgies talk?

Can Budgies Be Taught To Talk? (Yes, Here’s How To Do It!)

Last Updated on February 22, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Budgieregars are skilled mimics who enjoy replicating the sounds they hear in their environment. If you adopt a budgie as a pet and chat with them, do budgies talk back to you?

Budgies can usually be taught to say words in English, Spanish, French, or any other language under the right circumstances. Of course, human speech isn’t a budgie’s primary means of communication.

The more you talk to a budgie, the likelier it is to mimic what you say. It’ll repeat sounds it frequently hears and finds enjoyable to imitate, which may or may not include human words.

If you want a budgie to talk, you must dedicate time to training, ideally when it’s less than 4 months old. A single budgie, especially a male, is likelier to communicate through human speech.

Bonded pairs of budgies focus more on communicating with each other than on the wishes of a human owner, resorting to wild vocalizations to chatter among themselves.

Not All Budgies Will Talk

Budgieregars (Melopsittacus undulatus) can talk, but not all call on this skill. To a budgie, speaking in human language isn’t a conscious decision. It’s merely repeating a sound it frequently hears.

If you only keep one budgie, you’ll become the primary focus of its attention. It’ll constantly watch and listen to you, imitating your mannerisms and vocal inflections.

If you keep several budgies, encouraging speech will be more challenging. The pairing will be more interested in each other, as they’ll meet each other’s needs for attention and companionship.

You can still train two budgies to talk, but the lessons must be conducted one-on-one.

at what age do budgies start to talk?

Taling Ability of Female Budgies

Female budgerigars can talk but are less likely to do so than males. This is a holdover from their wild behaviors, where repetition is less crucial to survival.

According to Ethology, a wild male budgie that wishes to mate will listen intently to a female’s calls and songs. The male will echo these sounds with pitch-perfect clarity as part of a courtship ritual.

The closer the male comes to mirroring the sounds of a female, the likelier she is to accept his invitation to breed. Consequently, male budgies pay more attention to environmental sounds.

This is why a single (male) budgie is likelier to speak. In the absence of an opposite-sex budgie, captive birds see human owners through this prism.

Sole female budgies may respond to speech training and learn to repeat some simple words.

Speaking Skills of English Budgies

English budgies are primarily bred for shows, making them less likely to chirp and chatter throughout the day. However, they’re more responsive to training.

An English budgie is less likely to show off and seek attention from an owner. They have a low baritone voice and can develop a more extensive vocal repertoire.

An English budgie named Puck held the Guinness World Record for the largest known vocabulary of any bird, learning 1,728 words before he died in 1994.

Budgies Understanding of What They Say

Budgies can understand the context and reaction that speaking garners from their owners.

Imagine you train a budgie to say, “I’m a pretty bird.” You may have engaged in days or weeks of coaching to no avail. Then, the budgie repeats this phrase when you walk into the room.

You’ll likely be thrilled that your efforts have paid off and the bird is now talking, so you’ll shower the budgie with affection and treats.

The budgie connects this sequence of sounds with rewards, becoming compelled to repeat them, hoping for the same outcome. You can coach a budgie into associating particular words with daily events.

The bird may say “good morning” whenever you uncover a cage upon waking. Don’t be surprised if the budgie also says “good morning” in the afternoon.

Age Budgies Start to Talk

Budgies often begin chirping and communicating upon hatching. If adopted from fledgling status, most budgies become receptive to human language at 2 to 3 months.

While it may take up to a year for a budgie to become verbal and coherent in human language, many will at least attempt to mimic their owners once they’re able.

If possible, start speech training before the budgie is 4 months old. At this age, the budgie’s brain will be more flexible and capable of absorbing significant new information.

Teaching Old Budgies to Talk

Budgies can learn new words and calls throughout their lives. Captive budgerigars are less likely to welcome speech training in their senior years. If it isn’t speaking after a year, it may never do so.

Juvenile budgies are more excitable and respond better to attention from owners. Older budgies are more set in their ways, seeing little need to cater to human desires.

If you’ve lived with a budgie for a long time and it never spoke when young, this is unlikely to change as it ages. Some budgies never master human language, especially if they have a same-species companion.

How To Get Budgies To Talk

Teaching a budgerigar to speak requires patience, consistency, and effort. If you’re dedicated to conversing with a budgie, follow these steps:

  1. Bond with the budgie. A parakeet is likelier to respond to training if it has reason to please you.
  2. If you keep more than one budgie, separate and train them individually.
  3. Wait for the budgie to calm down before starting the lesson, removing distractions.
  4. Encourage the budgie to land on your hand or an elevated perch. The idea is to reach the parrot’s level with your face. That way, it can see your lips while you speak.
  5. Smile to calm them, and enthusiastically use the word you aim to teach. The more gleeful you sound while saying this word, the likelier the budgie is to pay attention.
  6. If the budgie attempts to repeat the word, even if the result is garbled and incomprehensible, praise and reward them with a treat.

You’ll know if the budgie is engaged in the lesson if its pupils dilate and it watches intently. If you have captured its attention, you can repeat steps 5 and 6 for up to 20 minutes daily.

Once you’ve completed some lessons and the budgie is interested, you can pair words with hand gestures to aid teaching. This can be highly effective with commands related to behavior.

can female budgies talk?

How Long It Takes To Teach A Budgie To Talk

Each bird is an individual, so no single timeframe can be ascribed to teaching a budgie to talk.

Consistency is critical, so don’t lose heart and become erratic with speech lessons if you feel the budgie isn’t advancing as fast as you would like. Keep working with them for 20 minutes per day.

While a budgerigar’s ability to become a skilled conversationalist is never guaranteed, it’ll almost certainly cease attempting to speak if you abandon or provide sporadic training.

Easy Words for Budgies to Learn

Some words are easier for budgies to pronounce than others.

Parakeets don’t have lips, so they often struggle with hard b, g, m, t, and th sounds. A budgie may still attempt to make these noises, but pronunciation won’t be flawless.

Respect a budgie’s speaking limitations when teaching it to talk. Start with simple phrases, ideally not exceeding two syllables. A simple “hello” or “good night” should be a simple lesson to build on.

Some of the most popular words to teach budgerigars include:

  • “I love you.”
  • “Play with me.”
  • “Uh oh.”
  • “Lift me up.”
  • “Kiss me.”
  • “Rise and shine.”
  • “Please” and “Thank you.”
  • “Bye-bye.”
  • “Lights out.”
  • “Pretty bird.”

A parrot should never be adopted solely because the species are good talkers. There are no guarantees that a parrot will speak. That said, budgies can be encouraged to talk if trained and motivated.