How Smart Are Parrots? Everything We Know About Their Intelligence

It is well-deserved that parrots are considered to be among the smartest animal species. These birds regularly display intellectual qualities comparable to those of other intelligent species. This encompasses sentient creatures like humans, dolphins, octopi, and primates.

Some parrot species are especially intelligent. We’ll go over a few of the species that show evidence of advanced intelligence in this post.

Animal intelligence is, of course, a difficult and incomplete science. This is mostly because intelligence is inherently ill-defined. Do objects really possess intelligence only because they behave in a way that makes sense to us? That is not the author’s place to discuss.

Examples of Intelligent Parrot Behavior

Parrots seem to pick things up quickly from an early age, and a large portion of their learning is social. Numerous parrot species coexist in large groups that provide a wealth of mentors for their young.

Young parrots learn via play and curiosity in many of the same ways that young people do. Positive responses to stimuli keep parrots’ minds engaged. Similar to humans, parrots that are left alone and without stimulation have negative reactions. They occasionally even take drastic measures to hurt themselves.

Because of this, a lot of zoologists now think that a lot of parrot species require habitat enrichment. This phrase describes the process of continuously revising and adjusting one’s circumstances in order to feel involved in their environment.

The extended lifespans of parrot species are advantageous for their capacity for learning. Many parrot species have fairly long lifespans; some, like the African Grey Parrot, often reach 50 or 60 years of age. This allows these birds more time to go through the learning processes that involve making mistakes and trying again.

Experts believe that parrots display a number of activities that are suggestive of intelligent behavior, including as intense interpersonal communication. This includes the capacity to solve easy puzzles and the ability to correlate emotions with bodily movements.

Furthermore, it’s common to witness parrots recalling routes, items, and individuals. It has also been noted that some parrot species establish subcultures. Within larger groupings, these microgroups create dialects in language and song.

Particularly Intelligent Parrot Species

There are numerous parrot species that exhibit at least minimally cognitive behavior. Macaws, African Greys, Amazon Parrots, Cockatoos, and New Zealand Keas are a few of the parrot species that are thought to be the smartest.

When parrots are researched, many of the species that demonstrate the ability to replicate speech patterns also score highly on IQ tests. The African Grey Parrot and the South American Amazon Parrot are two particularly notable examples. These bird species are regarded as the world’s foremost linguists among psittacines.

African Grey Parrots

The African Grey Parrot is among the most well-known naturalized instances of an intelligent bird. These parrots have demonstrated a high degree of problem-solving ability. According to some scientists, these are comparable to human children.

Native to the central African Congo and its neighboring tropical rainforests, these perceptive parrots are intelligent. They can be fairly shy and elusive in the wild. African Greys kept in captivity are frequently seen collaborating in groups of two or three. They work together to coordinate efforts in order to complete tasks more quickly and effectively.

African Greys are intelligent animals that display traits including color identification, spatial recognition, and the “null concept,” or the ability to conceptualize zero. It has also been noted that these perceptive birds are capable of coming up with novel names for objects. This includes items people were unaware existed beforehand. For instance, a bird was heard referring to banana chips as “banana crackers.”

N’Kisi, an African Grey, speaks more than a thousand English words in her vocabulary. This talkative bird even created terms to describe things they had never seen or experienced before.

Alex The African Grey

Particularly, an African Grey from the United Kingdom by the name of Alex gained notoriety for his apparent brilliance. Because of his superior cognitive skills, Alex was somewhat of a celebrity in his day.

It’s interesting to note that Alex was seen to use language in a way that implied he could, at the very least, make connections between signifiers and signs, such as words or phrases. For instance, if Alex felt that he had done anything wrong, he would apologize.

The fact that Alex was an experiment from birth is one bittersweet aspect of his life. He was purchased by his lifetime watcher and companion in order to research animal intelligence. Animal Language Experiment is the acronym that actually makes up Alex’s name. Alex’s caregiver thought highly of Alex’s mental capacity.

At the time of his death at the age of 31, she thought he had not yet realized his full potential and that his IQ was comparable to that of a five-year-old human child. Animal specialists frequently use this measure, which puts African Grey IQ on level with a five-year-old’s, to assess the species’ intelligence.

Given that Alex lived a few years shorter than the average African Grey Parrot, his death was quite unexpected. These birds can live much longer; they regularly reach 45 years of age.

Keas: Mischievous and Clever

Keas’s enormous intelligence has also recently come under more investigation. As opposed to Amazon Parrots or African Greys, which frequently demonstrate their intelligence through their great language skills, Keas appear to have a primal sense of manipulating their surroundings.

Keas frequently opens locked vehicles, luggage, and trash cans. They act in this way in an attempt to influence and toy with the contents. Both visitors and residents of New Zealand are often delighted and horrified by the frequent demonstration of these skills at extremely high levels.

Many people think of these birds as being a little crazy and naughty. They appear to take great pleasure in demolishing private property or anything that stands in their way. They have become known as “The Clown of the Alps” as a result of this.Keas’s behavior seems to indicate that they have “Neophilia,” or that they become enthused about new things.

In similar tests of logic and problem solving, keas have repeatedly outperformed monkeys. Recent research indicates that these troublesome parrots may even possess more cognitive capacity overall than African Grey parrots.

Due to their destructive behavior and inquisitiveness, keas have sadly caused constant conflict with farmers and other rural residents who live close to these birds. Keas frequently demolish private property. They’ve even been known to attack sheep, if only to rip the wool off of them out of curiosity and mischief.

Other Intelligent Bird Species

There are additional bird species that display traits of intelligence. I can think of the Corvids, which include ravens, jays, magpies, and crows. These birds frequently exhibit intelligent traits that highlight their particular specializations. Ravens, for instance, appear to be able to recall people who either do good or bad things for them.

Other birds that appear to have intellectual behavior are cormorants. These birds are frequently seen perched near fishing boats, appearing to keep track of the number of fish that the fishermen manage to bring in. The birds appear to comprehend that an excess will provide them with food as well.

It is a difficult undertaking to determine which species of bird is the most intelligent. Even the study of intelligence is a somewhat enigmatic endeavor. Nonetheless, parrots score highly by the majority of established intelligence metrics.