Last week I was speaking with a family member about their new parrot.
After extensive research, they chose to bring a young Eclectus parrot into their family!
They are so thrilled by his lovable and engaging personality.
Eclectus parrots are known for their calm nature and intelligence, making them excellent pets.
They love to socialize and can bond closely with their family.
They are also exceptional mimics!
Given their exceptional intelligence, let’s look into the number one question I am asked about these birds.
Can Eclectus parrots talk?
Yes, Eclectus parrots are considered to be one of the best parrot species for training to speak! They love to engage with their owners and mimic sounds which quickly evolving into speech as they mature. Owners report their Eclectus parrots learning an expansive vocabulary of 250 words and excellent reasoning ability.
While the Eclectus is often a talented talker, they also have a reputation for being a bit shy.
They tend to be a bit quieter than other types of parrots, meaning less screaming.
It also means that you will need to create a very positive, safe environment to train your Eclectus to speak.
They will need to feel confident to start engaging!
Keep in mind that this shy nature often means that the Eclectus is a more sensitive bird.
Though they may be relatively calm and quiet compared to other species of parrot, they need ample social interaction in order to learn to talk and maintain good mental health.
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When do Eclectus parrots start talking?
Eclectus parrots generally begin to experiment with speech around 4 months old, though they may not yet be able to form clear words.
Their mimicry is likely to begin becoming clearer by around their first birthday.
Eclectus parrots will go through puberty around 18 months old and reach sexual maturity at around 2-3 years old.
These big changes can impact their talking habits.
Hormonal and emotional changes can change the way the Eclectus interacts with their owners, but don’t give up.
They can absolutely continue expanding their vocabulary through this time!
Eclectus parrots can continue to learn words at any age.
If you adopt a mature bird that doesn’t yet talk, don’t despair.
They can absolutely pick up sounds with lots of positive encouragement.
Of course, some birds will never talk.
Each bird is an individual and will have their own behavior preferences.
Are male or female Eclectus parrots better at talking?
Both male and female Eclectus parrots are excellent talkers.
They are equally intelligent and have the same capacity for learning vocabulary.
However, it is true that male and female Eclectus parrots have some significant differences that could impact the training process.
In fact, male and female Eclectus parrots are so different they were at first thought to be different species!
The dimorphic coloration of males and females, basically the extreme differences between the bright red female and bright green male, is how they earned their name Eclectus (derived from the word eclectic).
The differences don’t stop at their bright plumage.
Eclectus females are known to be calmer and more affectionate while males are more outgoing.
Some consider males to be more trainable and easier to work with, while females can be more independent.
Some owners argue that males make better pets because they are more trainable and outgoing, but really it does come down to personal preference.
Females can be territorial with a strong maternal instinct.
This independent streak may make some individuals challenging to train, but in the long run it shouldn’t impact their talking ability or potential to bond with their owner.
When choosing between a male and female Eclectus, simply keep your own personality in mind.
That way you can choose the individual bird best suited to you and your family.
How do I teach my Eclectus parrot to talk?
Luckily Eclectus parrots absolutely love to talk.
They are very chatty birds, especially once they become comfortable in their environment.
Once your Eclectus has come out of its shell, you’ll have it talking in no time.
While they likely won’t start to mimic sounds until 4 months old at the earliest, it’s never too early to engage with your bird.
The first step is simply to talk to them clearly and in your normal voice.
The more time you spend with your parrot the better!
Once they start to mimic sounds you can work on formal training!
Introduce words one by one and make it a daily routine.
Ideally you can bring your bird out of its cage and make these training sessions really engaging.
Say your chosen words or short phrases slowly and clearly.
Outside of these formal training sessions, work on saying specific words in the related context.
For example, when you enter a room say “hello!” in a cheerful, happy voice.
Your parrot will not only learn words, but also some sense of meaning and context behind them.
Always provide lots of positive reward when your bird successfully says a word.
This can be verbal praise or small treats.
Be sure to also reward attempts.
Even if the word isn’t totally clear yet, let them know that they are on the right track.
The better your bird gets at talking, the more careful you’ll have to be about what you say around them.
Many owners have accidentally taught their clever Eclectus a phrase they didn’t want repeating!
Do Eclectus parrots talk as well as African Greys?
If you google Eclectus parrots, you’ll quickly come across is the vibrant discussion between Eclectus and African Grey parrots.
In fact, it may be more of a good-natured rivalry.
These owners most often want to know if the Eclectus parrot is as good at talking as the famously intelligent African Grey.
Personally, I love both species of parrot.
While it is impossible to say if one is a better pet than the other, the comparison is worthwhile simply because both parrots are very intelligent and can both learn expansive vocabularies.
Many owners who have owned both report their Eclectus attaining a similar level of vocabulary as their African Grey.
They also report similar level of problem solving and cognitive ability.
Of course, we must remember that the Eclectus and African Grey are very different birds.
Both may be excellent talkers, but any prospective parrot owner should be sure to choose based on lifestyle and personality match.