Why parrots can talk like humans

  • Published: 04 March 2019
  • Monkeys are our closest biological relatives, and they can't speak. But parrots don’t seem to have a problem at all.
    This video is presented by Wix: wix.com/go/vox

    Become a Video Lab member! bit.ly/video-lab

    In 2016 researchers released a study with an incredible headline: monkey vocal tracts are speech-ready. It showed that monkeys are held back from speech not by their bodies, but by their brains. But if that’s the case, what’s the deal with birds?

    Parrots are known for their ability to mimic human speech with incredible accuracy. It’s jarring to hear an animal so vastly different from us speaking our language. So how do they do it? Partially, neurology: parrots are wired for communication in ways other animals (including other birds) are not. But it’s largely physiology. Birds are uniquely equipped to make sounds, and this video will give you a basic overview of how that works.

    Throughout reporting this piece I had several conversations with Dr. Irene Pepperberg – If you’re interested in the neurology of these birds, I highly recommend checking out her studies on African Grey parrots. I’ve linked to a few of them below:

    Evidence for Conceptual Quantitative Abilities in the African Grey Parrot: Labeling of Cardinal Sets
    Acquisition of the same/different concept by an African Grey parrot: Learning with respect to categories of color, shape, and material
    Number Comprehension by a Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus), Including a Zero-Like Concept

    Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out vox.com.

    Watch our full video catalog: goo.gl/IZONyE
    Follow Vox on Facebook: goo.gl/U2g06o
    Or Twitter: goo.gl/XFrZ5H

Comments • 2 502

  • Rey
    Rey  3 hours back

    I can't even imitate camera sound that perfect coming from larynx

    • Khadija Aziz
      Khadija Aziz  16 hours back

      just a random thought.. the researcher kinda looks like Cameron Diaz..

      • Givetvis
        Givetvis  2 days back

        How many tried to pronounce rural?

        • TheWalkingChicken
          TheWalkingChicken  3 days back

          Can’t wait to see a parrot singing a random Michel Jackson song

          • Santoshi Kalavala
            Santoshi Kalavala  4 days back

            Parratsome speak repeat if they like

            • wayne holand
              wayne holand  1 weeks back

              I had a miner bid that talked perfectly .

              • Spicy TenderZ
                Spicy TenderZ  1 weeks back

                “They are part of our flock”

                I offered my Parrot a Cheez it and it screeched at me and bit my finger.

                • Mike Clancy
                  Mike Clancy  2 weeks back

                  Parrots are highly intelligent, and if you really care about them, you should not have them in captivity. Every wild species deserves to be unbothered in their natural habitat.

                  • Numan Hussain
                    Numan Hussain  2 weeks back

                    Watching this @ 4am :/

                    • sssub
                      sssub  2 weeks back

                      1:08 keep this family friendly.

                      • Puran Shankhapal
                        Puran Shankhapal  3 weeks back

                        This reminds me of Velvet the cutest parrot ever !!

                        • John Mayer
                          John Mayer  3 weeks back

                          wow she’s hot

                          • Taterman 02
                            Taterman 02  3 weeks back

                            That camera tho

                            • Emily L
                              Emily L  3 weeks back

                              Those mouth close ups are nasty

                              • Doggo
                                Doggo  4 weeks back

                                1:08 i see it gachibass

                                • Jordan
                                  Jordan  4 weeks back

                                  Cornell? She must know Andy Bernard

                                  • Hiii5
                                    Hiii5  4 weeks back

                                    imagine if parrots evolved to speak with humans in the future

                                    • Derp Gaming
                                      Derp Gaming  4 weeks back

                                      Ventriloquism for birds??

                                      • Israel Camargo
                                        Israel Camargo  4 weeks back

                                        Did anyone started breathing mainly

                                        • Xeonix
                                          Xeonix  1 months back

                                          Imagine teaching parrots to say the n word at a pet store

                                          • Sammy Vazquez
                                            Sammy Vazquez  1 months back

                                            Aeiou i sometimes cry
                                            I had to do if anyone understand what I said

                                            • AlexDoesStuff YT
                                              AlexDoesStuff YT  1 months back

                                              This bird is shooting lasers at me.

                                              • PurpleParrot
                                                PurpleParrot  1 months back

                                                Having had parrots for over 40 years, one the whole time, I can say, parrots don't just mimic. They understand.

                                                • Ghost Coffee
                                                  Ghost Coffee  1 months back

                                                  SPEECH 100

                                                  • buck Newton
                                                    buck Newton  1 months back

                                                    My friend trained his parrot to say "come on in beers in the fridge"

                                                    • God Dam Problem
                                                      God Dam Problem  1 months back

                                                      Awww its sweet!

                                                      • พชร สุมาลานุรักษ์

                                                        Everyone gangster till parrot starts making creeper noise...

                                                        • ski year
                                                          ski year  1 months back

                                                          he wasn't parrot what was he?

                                                          • joseph jackson
                                                            joseph jackson  1 months back

                                                            Why is "hewwo" the only example of human speech a parrot makes in this video?

                                                            • TVlogs
                                                              TVlogs  1 months back

                                                              *Meanwhile in a Parallel Universe*
                                                              Why Humans can talk like parrots

                                                              • the lol
                                                                the lol  2 months back

                                                                I want a parrot right now

                                                                • Justin Perry
                                                                  Justin Perry  2 months back

                                                                  Parrots can talk like humans

                                                                  • DannyDaDuffyDucking Daffer

                                                                    Bird are just hax

                                                                    • Hipppogrifff
                                                                      Hipppogrifff  2 months back

                                                                      I love birds, they’re the most amazing creatures.

                                                                      • Darian
                                                                        Darian  2 months back

                                                                        Since there are human languages based on whistles, I wonder if anyone has ever tried to teach a bird one of those.

                                                                        • Losaiko Vote!!!
                                                                          Losaiko Vote!!!  2 months back

                                                                          Parrots mimick, as does the Mocking birds. It helps distract preditors.

                                                                          • YUNESH TIMALSINA
                                                                            YUNESH TIMALSINA  2 months back

                                                                            They can't speak??
                                                                            they speak their language.

                                                                            • jonnyfighter
                                                                              jonnyfighter  2 months back

                                                                              “Plosives, for example, require our lips.”
                                                                              Sorry that is just not correct. Plosives describe a manner of articulation where the airflow is temporarily stopped, such as /k/, /g/, /t/, /d/.
                                                                              Some plosives are produced with the lips, like /p/ and /b/, and these are called bilabial plosives, but to say all plosives require our lips is just misinformed.

                                                                              • HL Watts
                                                                                HL Watts  2 months back

                                                                                Wow 😲

                                                                                • Bongolo Boy
                                                                                  Bongolo Boy  2 months back

                                                                                  I'm actually a parrot, and we do know how to text too...kudos from 🌳🌳

                                                                                  • fuzz Wuzz
                                                                                    fuzz Wuzz  2 months back

                                                                                    Hmm she maybe a bird expert... but is she a expert bird lawyer?

                                                                                    • Flippy Flamingo
                                                                                      Flippy Flamingo  2 months back

                                                                                      Feel bad for the birds, once they get a conscious imagine future birds going to school? Weird huh.

                                                                                      • Lord Raffy Graphics
                                                                                        Lord Raffy Graphics  2 months back

                                                                                        Was there ever a dinosaur that could do this?

                                                                                        • Brandon Parker
                                                                                          Brandon Parker  2 months back

                                                                                          I like that red bird haha it has its hair all spiked up 1:49

                                                                                          • Kevin Garcia
                                                                                            Kevin Garcia  2 months back

                                                                                            African greys are the most smartest bird in the world right now I believe

                                                                                            • Sloppy Joe
                                                                                              Sloppy Joe  2 months back

                                                                                              Start a school of parrots.

                                                                                              • Make Persia Great Again
                                                                                                Make Persia Great Again  2 months back

                                                                                                I do.

                                                                                                • SparkDatJawn
                                                                                                  SparkDatJawn  2 months back

                                                                                                  Massacre all bird species except the ones that can talk like parrots and liar birds, then in the next couple thousand years hundreds of different breeds of talking birds would be thriving around the world.