• It depends. Several species of parrots can mimic many sounds. Grey Parrots, in particular, have been taught syntax and grammar to the point at which they are no longer mimicking the sounds they hear, but are actually composing their own thoughts into language. I have a Grey Parrot who can count objects, identify some colours and textures of materials, and specifically asks for the things he wants. My wife's Amazon Parrot only mimics spoken words, but has learned to communicate in other ways that she and I mutually understand: music. Here is a link to some of the music I made with her: if you are interested. Other species of birds tend to speak their own languages, which scientists have studied and only superficially understand, but there are clear ways that wild birds warn each other of dangers, greet each other with curiosity, or approach each other for mating. Pet birds usually retain some of the language of their wild cousins, probably passed down from their parents, although some of it may be intrinsic- it would be very interesting to study the language of a pet bird that was raised from a hatchling by hand without any auditory contact with an adult bird, and compare it to one of the same species in the wild.
    • Cry me a River
      Great! :) thanks. I'll try that link!
    • Cry me a River
      You are Krazy :-)
    • Linda Joy
      That's pretty amazing! I think it may have been a grey parrot my sister had before she passed. I was on the phone with her and heard a phone ring and when I asked her about it she said it was her bird. She said it got her to come in from outside by ringing like the phone. Then she added it also dings like the microwave.
    • bostjan64
      If you are interested, check out "Alex & Me" by Irene Pepperberg. It's a book about how an animal psychologist trained a Grey Parrot to start asking questions about the world around him. For instance, Alex saw himself in a mirror, and asked "What colour?" making him the first non-human animal to ask about its own image in a mirror (gorillas can be taught sign language, but ignore their reflections). Alex was also given an apple for the first time, and asked what it was, and he answered "banerry" - a combination of banana and cherry, two fruits with which he was familiar. It's a fascinating book for anyone who likes parrots.
  • I thought they only mimicked sounds until I read bostjan's answer.

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