We’ve all been into the pet store, just to hear the parrots mouthing off to all the customers.
Or we’ve seen the videos of parrots swearing, singing, or copying everything their owner says.
But is this normal parrot behavior, or is this the exception?
Are parrots noisy or quiet?
The answer to the question, are parrots quiet, is no. If you are getting a parrot and expecting them to be quiet, you will be sadly disappointed. While some parrots are quieter than others, making noise is how parrots communicate and form bonds with one another, and this behavior is completely natural and instinctual.
That’s the simple answer.
But this leads us to several other questions – Why do parrots make so much noise?
What are the different ways in which parrots communicate?
When are parrots the loudest?
When are they the quietest?
Which parrots are the loudest/quietest?
Today we will answer these questions and so much more, so let’s not waste another minute!
Why do parrots make noise?
Making noise is a natural instinct for a bird, and there are many different reasons that a bird may make noise:
As a form of communication
Just as we communicate with one another, so do birds.
In the wild, parrots might make noise to warn other parrots of predators, to signal the sight of food to other birds, to mate, or for a variety of other reasons.
As a means of bonding
Just like people bond with one another, so do parrots.
And just as communication is way that we do that, so is it for parrots.
As a form of aggression
Male parrots will guard their females to the death, though they prefer not to do so.
In order to ward off other males, they will often display behaviors of aggression like fluffing their feathers, enlarging their body size, and shrieking or screaming.
To ward off predators
In the wild, parrots have a large number of natural enemies.
Depending on the size, parrots can make a good meal for birds of prey (hawks, owls, eagles), and other jungle predators like large snakes.
Monkeys have also been known to eat parrot eggs, or baby parrots if the opportunity arises.
When parrots recognize that predators are nearby, they may make noise to communicate it to other parrots, or simply to let the predator know that they are awake and aware of their presence.
What are some different forms of Parrot communication?
We now know why parrots communicate, but it’s also important to understand how they communicate.
Unlike some birds that simply chirp, parrots have multiple means of verbal communication, and they often mean different things:
Smaller parrots can often be found chattering throughout the day.
In most cases this will be right before feeding time, but in some cases, they may even chatter in their sleep.
This is a protective mechanism that birds have developed over time in order to fool predators into thinking that they are awake and aware when in fact, they are sleeping.
Screaming is another common form of communication amongst birds, especially parrots.
Screaming is often found in South American species of parrots who tend to mingle in mixed groups.
Just as we would have to scream to be heard in a crowd, parrots who travel together have to scream to be heard as well.
Single-species flock tend to be much quieter, because they don’t have to scream to get the attention of others.
If you’ve ever owned a parrot before, you might notice that they “call” you, and won’t quiet down until you respond.
This is called contact calling.
In the wild, parrots will call to one another to let each other know that they are safe.
In your home, this can come across as a scream or whistle, but is just your bird’s way of checking in on you.
Chances are, as soon as you respond, your parrot will quiet down.
Parrots are beloved by many and the thing that we love most about them is their ability to mimic human speech.
In many cases, parrots cannot only mimic speech, but can also understand it.
Some parrots will speak, and others will not – it really depends on the individual parrot.
Hissing and Growling
Some species of parrot, like African Greys, will hiss and growl.
This is their way of telling you that they feel threatened, and you need to back off.
If this happens, take your parrots warning. If you continue to move closer, they may attack.
When are parrots the loudest?
First off, let us say that parrots tend to use their vocal chords more as adults than they do as babies.
In fact, most baby parrots are very quiet, and rarely vocalize anything unless it is to evoke feeding.
So don’t be fooled if your parrot is quiet when you first bring them home – as they continue to grow, chances are that they will also learn to hone their vocal chords.
As adults, you will often notice that your parrot develops a vocalization routine.
They are often very vocal first thing in the morning, wherein they are celebrating the survival of another night, marking their territory, and signaling that it is time to eat.
Throughout the day you may notice some noise on and off, but it won’t be until dusk that you start to notice louder bursts of noise again.
Dusk is when contact calls are typically made in the wild, and this evolutionary call is often carried on into your home.
So don’t be surprised if your parrot is more vocal first thing in the morning, comes alive at dusk, and is quieter throughout the day.
What Parrots are the loudest?
All parrots are loud, but some tend to be louder than others. Making this list are:
Moluccan cockatoos are known as the loudest birds on earth.
And even though not all species of cockatoos are as loud, most can still make quite a fuss.
This is especially true when they feel threatened or bored, and they let off an ear splitting screech.
Conures also have an ear splitting screech – so much so that it can be heard up to a mile away.
In return, they are not a good option for apartment living, or when you are living in close quarters to other people.
In the wild, Macaws often use flock calls when they are on the move.
These calls often sound like screams, and are usually made a few times a day.
They may also become very vocal if they are bored.
People are often attracted to Amazon parrots for their ability to mimic human speech.
What many people don’t realize, however, is that speech is not the only sound they make.
Most Amazons will also screech or scream for over an hour both at sunrise and sunset!
What Parrots are the quietest?
If a lot of noise isn’t your thing, but you still want a parrot, there are a few options available to you:
Parrotlets are parrots in every sense of the word.
They look just like a smaller version of their larger family members, except they don’t have the ability to scream.
Rather, they softly chatter and chirp.
Senegal parrots are a mid-size breed of parrot, and are known to be much quieter than most.
While they can still talk and vocalize, screaming is unlikely.
Why does my Parrot Scream?
As we mentioned above, parrots in the wild are evolutionarily predispositioned to screaming so that they can be heard over the rest of the flock.
That’s not the only reason that a parrot might engage in this type of vocalizing behavior.
Parrots may also scream out of boredom, due to lack of exercise, as an expression of joy, or as a sign of illness or injury.
In some cases, parrots may also scream if they have been left alone for too long, or if their environment is not stimulating enough.
If your parrot is engaging in screaming fits that are out of the norm for them, you may want to consider calling the vet.
Any sudden or abnormal screaming should be investigated. It may be a sign that your bird is frightened, or could be a sign that something is wrong.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a quiet pet, a parrot is not the right choice for you.
All parrots are different in how much they vocalize or how loud they are, but one thing is for certain – you will not find a parrot that does not make noise.