I was chatting with a friend the other day about all the most impressive talkers we’ve had in our parrot-rearing lives.
We’ve both owned a lot of parrots over the years, and naturally one of the biggest points of attraction with parrots is their unique ability to talk.
One species that came up, though, was the Senegal parrot.
Neither of us had much experience with them, so we weren’t sure how good they were at talking.
So, I decided to look into it.
So, are Senegal parrots good talkers?
No, Senegal parrots really aren’t great talkers. They may pick up a few key words and phrases here and there, but they won’t develop a large vocabulary. They can be trained to speak, but there’s no guarantee this will work. For the most part, they aren’t the most gifted speakers.
The thing to remember about Senegal parrots, and indeed parrots in general, is that they are highly individual creatures.
No two are going to be exactly the same, and so you may find that your individual Senegal parrot happens to be a fantastic talker.
This would not be the norm, though.
Let’s look further into this.
Can Senegal parrots talk?
It can, yes. In fact, all parrots have the ability to speak—they have the faculties to mimic the noises they hear.
It’s important to make that distinction, though. Parrots do not ‘talk’ in a literal sense.
They are merely mimicking noises they hear you make, and fixating on the ones they like.
So, though Senegal parrots do have the capacity to talk, they usually just don’t.
Where some of the most gifted parrots can string whole sentences together, and appear to mimic complex patterns of speech, Senegal parrots, at most, might learn a handful of words they regularly squawk.
It’s really all to do with the parrot’s inclination.
As I said, they all have the capacity to speak to roughly the same extent.
Some species are just a lot more inclined to speak than others.
So, yes, the Senegal parrot can speak—and they may even become a gifted talker.
Generally, though, they don’t, and prefer to make chirping, whistling, and other more basic noises.
But they can, in some cases, be trained.
How long does this take?
How long does it take a Senegal parrot to talk?
Unfortunately, the only definite answer is that it depends.
It’s going to be different for every parrot, and in any case, it’s going to take a certain amount of time and even a bit of training.
Positive reinforcement can be a good way to encourage it to talk once it has developed the capacity.
In terms of the age where they will start talking, though, this will vary a lot, and you can only really go off the anecdotal evidence of other parrot owners.
No studies on this subject have taken place.
Some report that their Senegal parrots start talking as early as six months old.
Others, that they don’t start speaking until they are several years old and fully mature.
Talk to your Senegal parrot every day.
This will reinforce the importance of talking, and they will be more likely to start picking it up.
It’s better to do this from a younger age, or they may not be inclined to start doing it when they are older.
If your Senegal parrot doesn’t seem to want to talk, there could be a few reasons for this.
Why won’t my Senegal parrot talk?
So, as I’ve said, the first possibility you’ve got to entertain is that you’ve simply got a Senegal parrot that doesn’t want to talk.
This is perfectly normal, and not something you should worry about.
You will notice it making a lot of other vocalizations, mimicking other common noises, but not talking.
It could also be that your Senegal parrot hasn’t been exposed to enough talking.
Though it can often feel silly, it’s really important to keep talking to your parrot to reinforce the importance of talking.
Just chat with it, or even read and sing to it.
Remember, if what you want is a parrot that talks and you are still in the decision-making stage, then a Senegal parrot may simply not be the right choice for you.
Let’s look into some other options.
What is the best parrot for talking?
There are a few options that are really great talkers.
The African grey is often considered to be the best talker, and they can even mimic long, complex sentences.
They’re a great choice.
You also have Timneh greys.
They are really great talkers, with a bit of training, and will sometimes spend the whole day just chatting away to themselves.
Yellow-naped Amazons are also a great choice, with complex vocal cords that can produce eerily accurate mimicking of words and phrases.
Most of the best talkers in the parrot world are quite hard to keep, so be sure that you know what you’re getting into before buying any.
So, if talking is really what you want out of your parrot, then a Senegal perhaps is not the best choice.
They may develop a fairly wide vocabulary, but they rarely string sentences together.
Indeed, in many cases, they may not learn more than a couple of words or even common sounds.
They might mimic to some extent, but not as much as other species.
They are, of course, great pets in many ways, but if talking is what you’re looking for, then you will want to look elsewhere.