It’s natural to feel concerned when your parrot stops talking or refuses to speak.
However, it’s unlikely that your parrot has permanently lost its voice. In most cases, following certain adjustments, your parrot will be able to talk again.
A parrot that has stopped talking is likely afraid, unwell, depressed, or adjusting to changes in its life.
Abnormal silence or strained noises signify that something is affecting its lungs, throat, or syrinx. Aspergillosis and bronchitis can make vocalization uncomfortable, difficult, or no longer possible.
Parrots are noisy birds so, if your parrot won’t talk, chirp, scream, sing or make other sounds, something is clearly amiss. You need to uncover why your parrot is no longer talking.
Parrot Not Talking Anymore
Parrots that suddenly stop making noise are usually unhappy or unsettled, but it can be due to sickness. If your parrot’s unwillingness to talk is due to a mental or psychological factor, the following may help:
- Talking and interacting with your parrot
- Is your parrot bored? Provide more toys and enrichment
- A larger cage and more freedom to move, including out-of-cage time
- Make your parrot feel safe. For example, keeping cats out of the room.
- More natural sunlight.
- Additional exercise
Here are some of the reasons why your parrot has stopped talking:
Parrots need time to adjust to a new home or changes in their environment. Like moving the cage to a different room corner, small changes can lead to a silent period.
A vocal parrot in its previous home may become quiet when introduced to a new environment. The same applies if you bring a new pet or person into your home. The parrot is doing its best to come to terms with the change. Even small, seemingly insignificant changes can upset a parrot, leading to a few days of near-silence.
Parrots are prey animals, and their instinct will be to freeze or flee when afraid. Captive parrots don’t have the option to fly away, so they may freeze and become silent until the danger has passed. What a parrot feels is dangerous may not always be so. In fact, your parrot may stop talking when bothered by:
- A loud TV or music
- The neighbor’s cat coming near the window
- Construction work outside
- A sudden flash of light from a passing car
- A loud bang, such as dropping a pan
- An argument that your parrot hears through the walls
A decrease or ceasing of vocalizations is a dramatic change in behavior for many parrots. As such, it’s an indication that the parrot is feeling unwell. It’s natural for a parrot to hide any illness symptoms until it manifests in more visible symptoms, like feather loss or a lack of appetite.
As such, parrots will stop talking when they feel sick or are injured. They have to devote more energy to healing or hiding their injuries. Also, when feeling weak, they won’t have the inclination or energy to communicate. If your parrot won’t or is unable to repeat phrases or whistle a tune, then check for these symptoms:
- Discharge from the eyes, nose, or mouth
- Abnormal feces
- Tail bobbing
- Labored or wheezy breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Ruffled or missing feathers
Get in touch with an avian vet if any signs appear. Parrots may not show symptoms until the illness has progressed.
A depressed parrot is likely to stop talking, especially if it is being ignored. Parrots thrive when given lots of attention and enrichment. If your parrot lacks either or both, it will become bored, sad, or depressed. If you hardly interact with the parrot, it may stop talking altogether and even refuse to mimic phrases you’ve taught it.
Parrots grieve. Losing a member of the family will likely trigger a period of grief and depression. That’s especially true if the bird was closely bonded to an individual or another parrot.
If you have adopted a parrot, it may also be depressed because its previous family gave it away. The previous home may have mistreated it, failed to provide proper care, or left it bored and depressed.
Parrot Is Not Making Any Sound
A completely silent parrot has a health issue. Some diseases and fungi can enforce silence by infecting the:
The most common health issues that stop parrots from talking are:
Aspergillosis is a common respiratory disease that affects parrots. It’s a fungal infection caused by aspergillus spores infecting the throat and restricting airflow. Most commonly, this happens in parrots exposed to mold, even kinds that humans deem benign.
When left unchecked, the infection will grow until the parrot struggles to vocalize or even breathe. This can eventually result in death via suffocation. Signs of an aspergillosis infection include:
- Raspy breathing
- Labored breathing
- High-pitched whistling when breathing
Your parrot may also have a blockage in its airway. This could be from fluids generated by illness or an inhaled object or liquid. Remember that parrots have powerful breaks that can break plastics and wooden objects, so yours may have swallowed a piece of a toy or shelled food it had been playing with.
Sadly, a parrot may also cease talking in the time leading up to its death. It will feel tired, preoccupied, and maybe even sense that the end is near. A much-loved parrot that has lived a good life may continue to talk, even if its voice lacks its previous strength. Others may appear to rest and show no interest in talking, especially if they’re very old.
Parrot Lost Its Voice
Parrots don’t lose their voice. In rare cases, a parrot will lose its voice permanently because of scarring to its throat, lungs, or syrinx. This could be due to:
- Foreign bodies
These factors can irreparably harm the muscles and tissues that make up the vocal system. However, it’s more likely that the parrot will develop a ‘hoarser’ tone.
Do Parrots Have Vocal Cords?
In humans, the vocal region is comprised of vocal cords, which are positioned on either side of the larynx. Each of the cords is located at the top of your throat. To produce sound, we push air from our lungs through the vocal cords. These control the vibrations to create the desired sound. We also use our teeth, tongue, and lips to shape sounds.
Parrots do not have vocal cords; they have a syrinx. This organ sits at the lower end of the parrot’s throat and is composed of two parts. One is beside the bronchi of each lung. Parrots can change the shape of each syrinx and its moveable valve independently to produce sound. Air is pushed through the syrinx, and the vibrations of the muscles and valves make the right noise.
According to the Journal of Zoology, there is much that scientists still don’t know about the syrinx. Syrinx structures vary across species and families, even within the parrot family. For example, cockatiels are not capable of producing the same range of sounds as African greys.
How Do Parrots Talk Without Vocal Cords?
Parrots can talk without vocal cords due to their ability to alter the depth and shape of the syrinx. Since parrots can control the muscles with such precision, they can make a broad range of sounds. They can manipulate each branch independently of the other. That enables them to pick up noises from a wide range of species, including humans.
Current Biology found that birds use their tongue to change the frequency of sounds produced. Researchers found that ‘lingual articulation’ is part of the reason why parrots can mimic human speech. Even though parrots lack lips and teeth, their beaks enable them to shape sounds.
Parrots are naturally social creatures. They will mimic sounds or calls from their flock to fit in. However, they also pick up any noises they like the sound of. If a parrot hears a cat meow or an ambulance siren, it may eventually copy those sounds, especially in situations similar to when they normally heard them.
Why Has My Parrot Gone Quiet?
A parrot won’t lose its voice without reason, and it’s unlikely that a parrot will refuse to vocalize for an extended period of time. If your parrot has been unusually silent for 24 hours or more, arrange a consultation with a vet.
A blockage in the throat, disease, or infection can impact the lungs, throat, and syrinx. A parrot is also unlikely to talk when it feels unsafe, sad, or stressed, even if its vocal region is healthy.