Do Parrots understand what they say?

bronxzoofrank

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I remember reading an article in...I think it was Nat Geo about a parrot who would correct others when they pronounced things improperly.

~Maggot
I remember something along those lines, now that you mention it. Please loet me know if the details come to you, thanks, best, Frank
 

Fatal_S

Mel's Exotics
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Embrace Calamity

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I read both those links, very interesting. The first led me to another article about birds naming their babies:
Bird Research - Parrot Parents Give Specific "Names" to their Chicks! | That Bird Blog That Bird Blog

My questions would be, do all birds have names? What happens if a bird isn't given a name when it's young? And what happens to our pet birds when they go to a new home and receive a new name? So much to think about, thanks :)
That's really interesting. After learning about how smart these birds are, I'd absolutely love to have a parrot. I think it'd be so cool to interact and observe them and really be able to appreciate their intelligence.

~Maggot
 

bronxzoofrank

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I read both those links, very interesting. The first led me to another article about birds naming their babies:
Bird Research - Parrot Parents Give Specific "Names" to their Chicks! | That Bird Blog That Bird Blog



My questions would be, do all birds have names? What happens if a bird isn't given a name when it's young? And what happens to our pet birds when they go to a new home and receive a new name? So much to think about, thanks :)

Hello..thanks, the article you mention above is mine as well, glad you enjoyed. This info is all very new, so we do not have much in the way of details. All birds communicate in one way or another, and many seem to recognize specific calls (i.e. when incubated under foster parents of a different species, many finches will pick up the song of the foster species, and court that species when they mature). And social species, other than parrots, certainly interact with one another (co-operative hunting, etc) in ways that require cooperation. I'm sure there will be more on this in the future; I'll keep an eye out..

As for pet names, I don't think we can draw any parallels with what happens in the wild; captivity is a completely un-natural situation, so huge adjustments are made by parrots and others as regards all aspects of their lives.

Best, Frank
 

DrCarrotTail

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From my experiences, some parrots do understand what they say to an extent and some do not. My aunt's African Grey definitely knew the names of foods - it would ask for specific foods and say "no" when you gave it something else. It would also curse at itself when it did things wrong...I doubt it knew what it was saying in that instance but it definitely knew the words were a reaction associated with undesirable actions.

My Senegal Parrot on the other hand repeated words/noises she associated with people or situations but I don't think she understood what she was saying. She would repeat "I love you" over and over when she saw my mom, wolf whistle at my dad, say goodbye when she saw her carrying cage, and a few other sounds. My friends cockatiel would whistle constantly, mostly at its reflection, and I seriously doubt it associated its noise with anything. The various lovebirds I had didn't mimic noises much but I would assume their "understanding" was on par with the cockatiel.

All in all, I think they associate sounds with concrete things but may not "know" what they are saying in the same way we do. I'm not sure they can go too much beyond concrete to more abstract associations but there are some birds with incredibly impressive vocabularies out there that seem like they may!
 

rosyrosY

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The White Cockatoo Parrot breed is really smart and they are pretty good in talking and understanding, Cockatoos speak join words too.
 
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