While there are 13 species of Psittacula parakeets and many more subspecies, most live almost exclusively in the wild. They’ll imitate the calls of other birds and mammals but not human speech.
Ringneck parrots are a popular pet species, able to learn up to 250 human words. They’re highly skilled mimics, entertaining their owners with various English words and phrases.
Ringnecks require prolonged training to learn to talk. Without reward-based training, wild communication styles like whistling, chirping, squawking, and screaming will be the default communication method.
Types of Ringnecks That Talk
If you want to keep a ringneck parrot as a pet, it’s important to understand the different species.
As stated, 13 ringneck parrot species survive today, with a further 3 – Newton’s parakeet, Seychelles parakeet, and Mascarene parrot – extinct.
The Alexandrine parakeet, named after Alexander the Great as this historical figure was believed to travel with them, is a popular choice of pet ringneck parrot. This bird is capable of mimicking human speech when kept in captivity.
The Mallee ringneck parrot is rarely kept in captivity in the U.S. Hailing from Australia, Mallee ringnecks are found in U.K. and Europe. This parrot can learn human words if exposed to human conversation.
Indian ringnecked parrots and African ringnecked parrots are the most popular pet species. They’re among the most gifted talkers in the parrot family, capable of learning numerous words and phrases.
Difference Between Indian and African Ringneck Parrots
Indian and African ringnecked parrots are often mistaken for each other but have few similarities. The African ringneck is a subspecies of its Indian cousin, with differences beyond its country of origin.
|Indian Ringneck Parrots||African Ringneck Parrots|
|Usually live for up to 30 years.||Can live as long as 50 years.|
|Vibrant, deep green feathers with a blue tail.||Feathers are lime green in color.|
|Can be aggressive and don’t enjoy petting.||More docile and tolerant of handling.|
|Grow up to 16 inches in length.||Rarely grow bigger than 13 inches long.|
|Bright red beak.||Purple beak.|
Both subspecies are skilled mimics and will regularly communicate with their owners once a bond has been established. Indian ringnecked parrots are more vocal and chatty.
Are Ringneck Parrots Good Talkers?
A ringneck parrot will frequently repeat words and sentences that it hears from humans. If a parrot masters a word or phrase, you’ll likely hear it repeated for many years.
To maintain a dialog with a ringneck parrot, you must interact daily. They commonly revert to communicating exclusively in chirps, whistles, and squawks if left alone for too long.
Can Female Ringneck Parrots Talk?
It’s a myth that only male ringneck parrots can speak. No difference in communication skills and vocabulary between the sexes has been noted in scientific circles.
Claims that female ringnecks can’t speak may have arisen due to anecdotal claims that female ringnecks prefer male humans. This may mean they talk less when female owners are present.
However, this has never been formally studied, with the theory based on testimony from owners.
This is likely a consequence of ringneck parrots bonding intensely with one human and rejecting all others, as ringneck parrots are often considered one-person birds.
Are Ringneck Parrots Loud?
Once a ringneck parrot starts talking, it’ll rarely stop. A ringneck parrot won’t meet your needs if you want a quiet parrot because they chatter and talk near-constantly.
A ringneck won’t necessarily be addressing you when it speaks, as they’re quite content talking to themselves throughout the day. The more time you spend talking to the parrot, the more words it’ll learn, and the stronger the bond will become.
The vocal pitch of a ringneck, especially an Indian ringneck parrot, is quite shrill and high-pitched. Many owners find the voice of an Indian ringneck adorable, but it can be loud.
In addition to talking, ringneck parrots like to whistle. They’ll whistle near-constantly if you don’t teach them to speak. This sound may be harder to tune out and ignore than spoken words.
Ringneck parrots can also be prone to screaming, especially early in the morning. A ringneck can reach a volume of 110 decibels, comparable to a chainsaw.
How Do You Teach A Ringneck Parrot To Talk?
Adopting an older ringneck parrot that once lived with humans will likely be skilled in speech. If not, how do you get a ringneck parrot to talk?
The first step will be building a bond of mutual trust. Ringneck parrots aren’t the most naturally affectionate birds, so achieving this goal will take time and patience.
When a ringneck parrot shows signs of enjoying your company, commence daily speech training. This involved talking to the parrot directly and encouraging it to repeat the words you use, congratulating and rewarding your bird every time it does so.
You should talk to the parrot throughout the day, even if you’re providing a running commentary on what you’re doing. Dedicate 15-20 minutes twice daily to more intense training, where you encourage the parrot to repeat simple, one-syllable words.
Don’t expect a ringneck parrot to master a word the first time they hear it. These training sessions will involve lots of repetition. If you remain consistent and enthusiastic in these lessons, the parrot’s imitation will become increasingly clear until it speaks fluently.
Ringneck parrots respond better to one-on-one vocal interaction than recordings but can also learn song lyrics and TV and movie quotes. So, don’t be surprised if a parrot regularly sings the chorus of an often-played song or repeats a catchphrase from a syndicated sitcom.
How Many Words Can A Ringneck Parrot Say?
Ringneck parrots can learn and repeat between 200 and 250 words and phrases. This isn’t as extensive a vocabulary as an African gray, considered the best talking bird, but it’s impressive.
Common words and phrases ringneck parrots can learn include:
- “Hello, you look nice today.”
- “What a lovely day.”
- “What is the time?”
- “I can see you.”
- “I love you.”
Once you have mastered basic words and phrases and have formed a strong bond with a ringneck parrot, you can attempt more complex or funny phrases to amuse yourself and visitors to your home.
At What Age Do Ringneck Parrots Talk?
The International Journal of Scientific and Technical Advancements claims that ringneck parrots can imitate human speech at 4 months, but most will begin talking after 8-12 months.
If you’ve adopted a ringneck parrot from a young age, speak to it regularly, even if you only receive garbled responses. You’ll eventually be rewarded with a conversation once it’s old enough.
How Long Does it Take for a Ringneck Parrot to Talk?
Ringneck parrots won’t be fluent conversationalists after saying their first word and early attempts may be garbled. However, always praise efforts to communicate in human language.
The longer you train and the more you speak to a ringneck parrot, the more precise its use of the English language will become. By the time the parrot reaches the age of 18 months, it should be capable of speaking in complete, understandable sentences.
A ringneck parrot will continue learning new words and phrases, so you may find that some oft-repeated dialog falls out of circulation and is replaced by a different sentence.
As with all parrots, ringnecks will primarily imitate noises they find enjoyable to say.
Do Ringneck Parrots Understand What They Say?
As ringneck parrots learn to speak through repetition, they won’t necessarily understand the meaning of language. If you teach a parrot to say “happy birthday” or “Merry Christmas,” don’t only expect to hear these words once a year according to the calendar.
The intelligence of ringneck parrots means they may start associating language context with reactions. If a ringneck parrot says “I love you” and you respond by offering a treat, it’ll be encouraged to repeat this proclamation of affection regularly, but not necessarily with context.
This means that ringneck parrots can also be trained out of using unwanted or bad language by ignoring it. If a parrot has taken to repeating profanity or insulting words, don’t react.
Ringneck parrots can be demanding and aren’t ideal pets for novices or beginners, but the talking ability of commonly-held captive species is lauded. If you have the know-how and time to care for a ringneck parrot, you’ll benefit from the company of a skilled conversationalist.