Do you ever sit and listen to your beautiful bird sing the most melodic songs?
Or maybe you’ve been lucky enough to train your parrot to speak phrases (which you now realize was a HUGE mistake!?).
You may start to wonder, is my parrot a songbird?
And this is exactly how you found yourself on this article. TADA!
I’m here to assist you with this!
So, are parrots songbirds? The answer is NO. Parrots are not classed as songbirds….. despite the fact they may sing amazingly this alone does not make them a songbird.
In this article will be everything you need to know about the difference between songbirds and parrots, why a parrot isn’t considered a songbird, different types of songbirds, what a songbird is, if parrots have specific songs and what a parrots song means.
Table of Contents
Why is a parrot not a songbird?
The reason a parrot isn’t a songbird is that there are certain types of birds that make them songbirds, and parrots are not in this category.
Songbirds have a specific vocal organ that is developed to give them their ability to sing beautifully (unfortunately a skill I was not born with!) and a parrot is not developed with this vocal organ.
Whilst parrots may be able to sing as well, it does not mean that they have this vocal organ and rather that they are able to imitate the sounds that they hear.
What is a songbird?
Now, you may think I’m about to give you a really technical answer to ‘what is a songbird’ but fortunately, it is really quite simple.
A songbird is literally a bird that has the ability to carry a musical tune.
Whilst you might think that every bird has the ability to carry a song, this is not true.
I agree that there is a huge variety of songbirds (over 5,000 species in fact), but not all of them can carry a tune.
A songbird uses its call to identify itself to other birds, in a way of showing their territory in some cases (much cleaner way than dogs or cats!).
A male songbird also uses its song to attract female birds.
This is because the male songbird’s song shows the male bird’s repertoire.
The greater the male birds repertoire, the more female birds are attracted to them.
The songbird’s song is not to be confused with an alarm call or mating call, although in its own way, the song is a mating call.
What are the differences between songbirds and parrots?
Whilst there are many differences between songbirds and parrots, the main difference is that a songbird can only sing the same song over and over.
A parrot is able to mimic several different sounds and words from humans, much like babies learning to talk.
This is because a study has found that a parrots brain works extremely similar to the human brain in the way that it is able to learn multiple words, phrases and sounds whereas a songbird’s brain generates the sound and the bird is able to tell what sound is coming from their beak and change it to a song they know.
Who knew this could be so fascinating!?
This being said, when conducting this study, a group of researchers came to the conclusion that parrots and songbirds share the same ‘base’ or ‘core’ song system however parrots then learned to evolve this, making them able to learn a variety of sounds.
Lists of songbirds
There are many different types of songbirds. Below is a list of some of the songbirds you can find:
These are just a few of the songbirds that are found in the world (There are over 5,000 known species of songbirds around the world) and each has their own individual and unique song.
Do parrots have specific songs?
I’m very happy to say that parrots do not have a specific song that they sing.
You may notice that they naturally blurt out a few extra songs that you’ve not heard before, but your feathered friend will generally just mimic what songs they have heard the most.
Some parrots even like to have a great boogie to their favorite songs…..
Which of course means you will have to play them over and over forevermore.
As I mentioned previously, parrots have the ability to mimic several different sounds, words and phrases and so although they may sing the same tune or song over and over, this might just mean that they really like this particular song, not that they have suddenly become songbirds.
What do parrot songs mean?
While you may get your cheeky chappy saying all types of words and phrases you’ve taught them, their initial bird song or call does have a meaning to it.
Normally bird songs are there to get the attention of a mate (a mating call this is sometimes called).
There have been scientific studies that have shown that the calls can indicate how healthy and fit a male bird is which in turn will allow the female birds to pick a mate.
I don’t know about you, but I haven’t had such luck with just singing!
A parrot’s song can also be seen as a way of aggression to another bird if they are ‘stealing their bird’ (as it were!).
It can be a way of warning off male birds or showing that they are willing to fight for their picked mate.
So whether you’re a parrot lover or love the sound of a beautiful songbird’s voice you now know all the facts you could possibly want to know relating these two marvelous birds.
The next time you want to teach your parrot a classic tune to brighten up your day, why not try and teach them to mimic a songbird’s song.
That way you have your beautiful songbird song from your much-loved parrot!