Can Budgies Talk?

Budgies are by far the most commonly kept pet birds. Many of us find the idea of having a talking bird alluring. However, budgies aren’t the best talking birds.

Most budgies cannot be taught to speak. However, some young males can be taught with lots of practice. Budgies’ voices tend to be low volume and it can be difficult to make out what they are saying. Their voices can sound robotic at times.

Will My Budgie Talk?

While some budgies can be trained to talk, not all of them do. They are not well known as talking birds. It will take months, if not years for you to teach your budgie a dozen words and phrases, considering it pays attention.

If one of the major reasons you want a pet bird is to have a talking bird, then a budgie isn’t the right choice for you. An African Grey Parrot will be much better suited for this goal.

But if you already have budgies that you would like to try training, here are a few tips to increase your chances of success. Get a budgie that is quite young, under 1 year of age. Practise with a male budgie, as they are more likely to learn talking. As mentioned below, the budgie should ideally be trained to be held in your hand first.

Even after all this, it is still likely that your budgie won’t talk. And that’s ok, because budgies aren’t naturally conditioned to mimic human voices.

Making Your Budgie Comfortable Being around You

Spend Time around Your Budgie

Keep your budgie’s cage where you spend lots of time. It could be your room or the living room, for instance. However, don’t place the cage in the kitchen. Kitchens are too noisy for budgies and there are fumes that can harm them.

If your budgie is new, you don’t even need to interact with it right away. Just sit near the cage and allow it to see you without any obstacles. You could read something, chat with friends/family, or watch TV at a low volume.

Remember to keep the volume low, as budgies get startled easily. You do NOT want it to associate time spent near you as scary or uneasy.

You will need to spend time with your budgie every day in the beginning, so that it gets acquainted with you. It could be weeks or even months before it allows you to touch it though, so it requires a fair bit of patience. Budgies are naturally very skittish creatures.

Budgies can memorise words that they repeatedly hear and will then say them out to you. So the more time it spends close to you, the more opportunities it will have to pick up new words.

Hand Tame your Budgie before Teaching it to Talk

Even before you attempt to teach your budgie to talk, it is absolutely essential that it is very comfortable with you. It should be at ease when you are around, and should preferably be trained to sit on your hand or finger.

In other words, if you hand tame your budgie first, it is much more likely to respond to your attempts at speech training. As it has already been trained to some extent, and does not consider you a threat at this point.

Keep Budgies Alone for Speech Training

When multiple budgies are housed together, they will naturally communicate with each other in budgie language. So, they will be more inclined to replicate those sounds instead of the words we humans use.

In order to get a budgie to ‘talk’, it should ideally be kept alone in a cage. But budgies require a good amount of social interaction daily, so you will need to interact with it multiple times a day, on a daily basis. Otherwise it will get depressed and won’t respond to your training attempts.

Teaching Your Budgie to Talk

When training your budgie to talk, you also need to talk in a certain way. You should be calm and eager with it. The more enthusiastic you are, the more enthusiastic your budgie will be.

While talking, it is advisable to keep your face close to the budgie, so it knows you are talking to it. However, to do this, the budgie needs to be comfortable with you, as mentioned above.

Your budgie will observe your face and mouth when you speak. This is a good sign, as it means the budgie is interested in what you are doing.

You can start off by training it to say single words. They could be names of people, pets or simply just a ‘hi’. Always greet your budgie with a ‘hi’ or some other word. Use that same word every time and say it in a cheerful and friendly tone.

You can also say ‘bye’ or some other word when leaving your budgie, so it associates that word with leaving.

Keeping up with this routine will make your budgie learn the words ‘hi’ and ‘bye’ relatively quickly.

It is very important to react positively when your budgie responds in a satisfactory manner.

Your Budgie won’t pick up the words right away in the beginning. However, it will try to replicate them. Those sounds may not sound anything like words in the beginning, but give the budgie some time and encouragement, and it should pronounce them properly soon.

To encourage your budgie, say words of encouragement and give it tiny treats of foods that it likes.

When your budgie starts getting the hang of single words, you can move on to short phrases. Maybe something like ‘how are you?’ or ‘I’m a good bird’.

You will need to keep up with the positive encouragement. It also helps to say certain words or phrases at certain specific times or during certain actions.

For instance, saying something like ‘this food is yummy’ or ‘I like food’ when giving it food will help it associate that phrase with food. When it associates a phrase with something, it will learn that phrase faster.

Spend time training your budgie every day and don’t give up. Good Luck!

Syed Baseeruddin Hyder

I’ve been keeping fish and invertebrates in aquariums for over 5 years. Over the years, I’ve kept more than 15 different species of fish and invertebrates. Through, I hope to guide new and experienced fish keepers alike with as detailed information as I can get.

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