I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about how intelligent birds can be.
We were talking about crows that use cars to crack nuts in Japan, before the conversation turned back to parrots, and one thing that came up was lovebirds.
We are both especially fond of lovebirds, so we got to wondering how intelligent they are.
So, I decided to look into the question, are lovebirds smart?
The simple answer is yes, they’re very smart. Lovebirds are highly intelligent birds with complex relationships and needs. They need a lot of stimulation to keep themselves from getting bored, and some research has even suggested lovebirds have the same level of cognition as a 3–5-year-old child.
There are a lot of factors to consider when trying to answer a rather open-ended question such as this.
First of all, individuals in a species will often differ, though in general you can say that lovebirds are pretty smart.
Also, it’s important to understand by which metric you measure how smart a bird is.
For some, that might simply be what tricks they can do, whether they can talk and how well, and how easy they are to train.
This is a perfectly good way of looking at it.
There are other factors, of course, and other perspectives on how intelligent a bird is, such as its relationships and affection towards others.
So, let’s look at a few different angles.
Are lovebirds easy to train?
All birds are complex animals, and so training them is always an equally complex process.
On the spectrum of parrots, lovebirds are relatively easy to tame and train if you know what you’re doing and have some experience training parrots.
Lovebirds are very smart, which, when it comes to training, can be both a blessing and a curse.
Obviously, smarter animals are more trainable in the sense that they can understand better what you want them to do.
So, if you have an accommodating lovebird, training it will be quite easy.
Equally, their higher intelligence can sometimes mean they won’t listen to you, and would prefer to follow their own impulses.
This can be for any number of reasons, including simply how they happen to be feeling on a given day.
If your lovebird seems unreceptive on a certain day or at a certain time, try leaving for a little while and coming back to it later.
Don’t try and force it, or you could irritate your lovebird.
The lovebird’s attitude to you and the training can be down to a number of things.
Your lovebird will need to get to know you before it will be comfortable and open to training.
If you reared your lovebird from hatchling or just from a young age, it is much more likely to be easier to tame.
It will be comfortable and know you well. If you bring home a mature lovebird, you’ll need to take the time to accommodate it.
Ultimately, if you have patience and care, taming and training your lovebirds will be a very rewarding process.
Make good use of positive reinforcement.
Can lovebirds talk?
If you’re looking for a bird that’s a big talker, a lovebird probably isn’t for you.
They’re much quieter than other species, especially when it comes to mimicking human speech.
They primarily just chirp, whistle and sing.
That said, lovebirds talking is certainly not unheard of.
They possess all the faculties for mimicking human speech that any parrot does.
So, it’s entirely possible your lovebird could talk.
They just don’t do it very commonly.
Parrots, in general, talk because they are such social animals, and mimicking the sounds around them help them to fit in.
Lovebirds simply utilize a different set of sounds to achieve this.
If you do want to attempt to teach your lovebird to talk, then you must repeat words and phrases to them over and over.
You will notice that they will mimic other household noises, such as doorbells and microwaves.
So, they do have an impulse to mimic noises, they just don’t mimic human speech very often.
If you talk to your lovebird enough, you may start to notice it repeating the odd word.
But if you’re looking for a big talker, you might want to consider a different species.
Do lovebirds recognize their owners?
Lovebirds’ high intelligence and complex social needs means that they will bond very closely to those that rear them.
If your lovebird is happy and all its needs are met, it will come to recognize you and feel affection towards you.
However, your relationship to your lovebird may be different if you have two.
They are more likely to become totally enmeshed in one another, and you may find that they are less affectionate towards you.
This is certainly not always the case, and even two closely bonded lovebirds will still recognize and feel affection towards their human owner.
Lovebirds do, then, recognize their owners and can even recognize multiple people.
Becoming bonded to you or to another bird is quite essential to their social wellbeing, so naturally they have strong recognition faculties.
Whether they are especially affectionate towards you or not, they absolutely have the cognitive capacity to recognize you.
So, the last word on the matter is that lovebirds are very smart.
The question can be looked at from a number of different angles, but any way you look at it the answer comes up the same.
They have highly complex social needs, and bond so closely to humans or another bird that we can safely say their cognitive abilities are highly advanced.
Further, for an experienced parrot owner, training them will be a breeze and you’ll become very close to your bird.
However, if part of how you judge a parrot’s intelligence is whether or not (and how well) it can talk, then you’ll find a lovebird to be lacking somewhat.
They are not big talkers, and this is a big consideration for a lot of people.
But, all in all, lovebirds are highly intelligent.