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African Grey; The BEST Of The Talking Birds

Updated on February 15, 2013

Talking Parrot

I had always wondered what it would be like to own a talking bird. The idea of a bird talking had fascinated me since childhood. A few years ago I was in Hawaii and saw a huge, beautiful blue Macaw perched on a huge branch outside the airport.

While I waited for my husband to get the suitcases I studied this beautiful creature until a distinct, "aloha" was uttered. I felt as though I were 8 years old again, when I quickly responded, "aloha" right back. I decided that I wanted this sweet bird to take home. Then my husband came over with the suitcases, and before I could say that I wanted this bird, the feathered beast let out a loud scream as it looked at my husband. It twisted its head upside down and threw its wings up in the air as it bobbed its head around. My husband said, "let's get out of here", as we headed toward the car. No talking bird for me!

Macaw or African Grey

A short time after we returned from Hawaii a friend of my husband's was moving to Honolulu and gave us his African Grey. We had a large cage with this beautiful parrot ready to learn some words.

I named the bird "Boes" and taught her some operatic songs, and as much as I am in love with dogs and cats, this was one of the funniest animals I have ever owned. The intelligence and cleverness of African Grey's is truly amazing!

She could sing a variety of songs, and would sing them in a loop, over and over. She also added the sound of the sink bubbling, and doors creaking to her repertorie. It is absolutely shocking how many background noises we ignore every day that the birds tune into, and do a fine job of repeating back, over and over, ugh! We were walking all over the house trying to figure out what the water sound was before we realized that she could imitate the sound of water going down the drain. She also discovered that if she made her "telephone ringing" sound, she could get us to come in the house.

She loved the water, and when it rained I would put her cage outside where she could put on her water dance. Hilarious to watch! She stretched her wings and did circles on her perch with joy. When she was happy, it made me feel good. I could have had a terrible day, and when I arrived home to hear Boes trying to impress me with her rendition of "I love You Truly". My spirits were instantly raised, and the chaos of the office was far in the distance. She would have me laughing out loud for 10 minutes.

Its really too bad that one can not control what African Grey's choose to say. This particular parrot was present at someone's wake while living with her previous owner. She would startle my guests often when she would break down in very authentic, emotional crying spells.

The African Grey does not have a voice that most people consider a "bird voice." They are the best, clearest talkers of all parrot's, however, some are better than others. There was noting scratchy about This bird's voice, and she could really carry a tune.

The Not Much Fun Side

If either you or someone you live with is easily irritated, I would strongly suggest buying a fish instead. These pets are very high demand, needy creatures. They want to hang out with you, and will nag until you place them on your shoulder where they will bite and peck your ears until you put them down where they can tear up your papers, ect. You know what I mean. You must be ready to love bird's and do not make the mistake of thinking that a bird is low maintenance.

The Fun Side

These parrots are very personable and love attention. They want to be with their owner all the time, which can be nice and entertaining in times of relaxing. While performing her songs, and games, Boes wanted to be admired, and was eager to learn more. African Grey's have a great personality and are a real fun loving friend. They are the "friend" who you love at the party, but when its time to get business done, they drive you crazy. We all know someone like that.


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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Mike has anyone seen waxniwgs in housing estate at the back of wye vale garden centre on Newport pagnell road yet last two years there have been lots.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      5 years ago from now on

      Awesome animals they are and good advice in your hub! My first African Gray was a Timneh (a slightly smaller variety) and he originally came from the wild - what a talker! He learned something new every week. His cage was near the phone so he learned to repeat phone conversations. I had 4 young children during this time who would talk to their friends on that phone. When the phone would ring he'd say Hello, and repeat the half of their conversations he could hear. Usually it would include phrases like "you want to sleep over", "I'm going to bed now," "get a lawyer". My kids' friends would come in the house through the back door by his cage and he'd say to them "you want to sleep over?" They'd look around puzzled. He'd talk for an hour or two straight - my X wife eventually made me get rid of him, she said because he annoyed her - it wasn't 'til she ran of with another guy that I realized the reason the bird annoyed her was probably because everything he said was in my and learn.

      The Gray I have now is just as phenomenal, though I noticed when he learns a new phrase he'll stop saying one of his old ones. Whenever we come in the door he says Hello! and when we are getting ready to go out he says, "you ready to go?" and as we head for the door he 's quick to say "bye, bye" then followed up with "see ya later!" as we go out the door.

      We had a cockatoo for a while. They are very loud and when she would squawk the gray (mimicking my past remarks) would yell "Awwe shut up!" then if she squawked again he'd say emphatically "will you shut up!" Sometimes when the cockatoo was quiet the gray would squawk exactly like the cockatoo and then tell himself to shut up! Once when we started watching the football games on TV when a team was kicking a field goal as soon as the ball was kicked he yelled "IT"S GOOD!" He has uncanny timing and I wouldn't trade him for the world - I have recorded over 50 phrases he knows not counting ones he stopped saying. His favorite song is the theme from Andy Griffith and two phrases he says every day is "Praise the Lord" and "We love our big boy" sometimes he stops at big.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 

      6 years ago from India

      Lovely hub..

      It is fun to watch birds talking..

    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Thank you RealHowsewife.

      African Grey's are amazing creatures. I love my dogs but I think that an African Grey can cause side splitting laughter like no other pet. "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" would be hilarious to listen to.

      Have fun with Pedro, and thank you for stopping by.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 

      6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Hey Scarlet - I was coming to visit because you left a comment on one of my articles recently. I was so shocked to see your article on African Grey's pop up - ! I have one! His name is Pedro and I love him SO MUCH!

      You are so right - they are intelligent, amazing creatures. Pedro is the most awesome pet...he whistles, "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" and makes the sounds like you describe perfectly!! The door, the microwave, Spongebob Squarepants noises:) haha

      Glad to be a new fan! Great hub!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Scarlet: What a wonderful story two birds together, just the best (:-J

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I completely agree on these sister and her family owns one (called Baby) and I cannot even echo back the words this bird says...not to mention, like you said, the noises they make...they are truly amazing and quite entertaining...thanks and cheers

    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from California

      Thank you Maria, Very sweet comment. I do love Boes, she is hilarious even when she is annoying:)

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      7 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Oh Skarlet,

      It is easy to see how much you love your Boes... this article was so endearing. The 'emotional crying spells' sound quite heart wrenching! I can certainly see the nurse in you 'front and center'!

      Voted UP & FAB and adorable! Hugs, Maria

    • Skarlet profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from California

      Thank you Rochelle, That is funny! I actually have to laugh at the whole thing, but, it can be annoying when your just not in the mood for games.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      7 years ago from California Gold Country

      I knew someone with an African Grey. Amazing bird. Every time she walked in the room it would demand, "WHERE have you been?!!" ( Which it probably learned from her husband.)

      She also said she had to be careful on the phone, not to repeat her credit card number or personal information-- she claimed it would broadcast her numbers, and she even suspected that the bird was ordering toys on the internet.

      I'm sure she was jesting-- but after hearing it, I wasn't too sure. As you described, the voice and intonation were very clear.


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