I was walking through the bird section of the zoo the other day and, even though I’ve had them at home for decades, I can never resist the parrot section.
I love seeing all the species that I’ve never owned myself, and watching them to learn their personalities.
I was curious about the lovebirds, which were a new addition and recently introduced from a rescue center nearby.
I heard them making a lot of interesting noises, but as with any parrot, I got wondering—can they talk?
I decided to look into it.
So, can lovebirds talk?
Lovebirds do not typically talk. They are highly vocal communicators, and will spend a lot of the day chirping, singing, and whistling to one another—so, talking in that sense. But they aren’t all that interested in mimicking speech or other sounds they hear, but simply singing their own lovely tune.
So, as talking parrots go, lovebirds are not the most talented.
They don’t have the same tendency to mimic sounds they hear, though they do have the same capacity to do so as other species.
So, you may get an outlier who does talk, but this is very rare.
Let’s look further into this.
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Can lovebirds learn to talk?
The short answer is probably not.
The longer answer is that it kind of depends.
In general, lovebirds have no real inclination to talk, and they will really not respond to training to get them to do so.
That said, as I mentioned, lovebirds do have the capacity to talk, and there are certainly examples of lovebirds that do talk and learn a lot of words.
If trained from a very young age, and very diligently, then lovebirds can become good talkers.
It does, though, always depend on the individual.
Even if trained from an early age, they might give it up later in life, or never really catch on in the first place.
A mature lovebird that has not been trained to talk, and shows no desire to do so, probably will not ever talk.
If talking is that important to you, then a lovebird probably is not the right parrot for you.
Lovebirds will still make a great deal of noise.
They like to sing, chatter, chirp, cheep and whistle—whether to you or to their parrot companion.
They are just as vocal as other parrots, though not as noisy due to their size.
They just don’t particularly enjoy talking.
Can lovebirds say words?
Yes, they can, in the sense that they have the capacity to do so.
They have the faculties in their voice to be able to mimic speech.
They just don’t generally do so, for whatever reason.
Often, birds mimic sounds they hear as part of a display to potential mates.
In other words, to become accepted as part of a group.
Domestic parrots are thought to mimic speech for the same reason—to become one of the family.
Lovebirds just don’t operate in this way, even though, again, they have the capacity to mimic human speech.
They rather welcome a single individual into their paired group, if they don’t have another bird, through their own songs and sounds.
So, you may notice your lovebird randomly picking up a word here or there, but it’s unlikely.
The point, ultimately, is that they could if they wanted to—they just don’t!
How smart is a lovebird?
That depends on your definition of smart.
By any definition, though, they are certainly highly intelligent and complex birds.
All parrots are pretty smart—they are highly social and emotional creatures that form deep bonds with their partners.
In the wild, lovebirds tend to mate for life.
This capacity for forming such a deep bond is indicative of their intelligence.
This is why they are most commonly kept in pairs.
If not, they can become bored with the lack of stimulation.
Lovebirds also need a lot of toys and things to keep them busy.
The more intelligent an animal, the higher its need for stimulation and play.
Lovebirds need a lot of play, so they are quite smart in that sense.
Their inability to talk, or their unwillingness, does not really have any bearing on how smart they are.
As I’ve said, they could certainly mimic speech if they wanted to.
They choose not to, since their own songs and sounds suffice.
Are lovebirds noisy?
Yes, they are.
All parrots are noisy to some extent.
Just because they don’t talk doesn’t mean they don’t make a lot of noise.
Lovebirds in particular will spend the whole day chirping and singing away, making a lot of noise and generally being loud.
If you want a quiet parrot, there really is no such thing! Some are certainly quieter than others, but they are all noisy.
Due to their small size, lovebirds are definitely a lot more bearable than macaws or African greys, or similar parrots.
But they are still noisy, by any standards, and will be heard throughout the day.
So, if you want a talking parrot, a lovebird is probably not the best choice for you.
There are other, much more chatty species, and lovebirds are just not interested in mimicking speech.
There may be some cases where they are good talkers, but these would be the exception to the rule.
Lovebirds are capable of talking, as more or less all parrots are, they just don’t.
They prefer to stick to their own song—and can you blame them?