Optics Mag is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Read more.

Can Crows Talk Like Parrots?

Last Updated on

crow-perched-6317701

There are quite a few talking birds like Parrots, including the Parakeet, Blue Fronted Amazon, and Budgerigars. Many people have also heard that crows can talk, and it’s a popular question that we get. The short answer is yes. Crows can talk but keep reading while we look into if they do it as well as these other birds and where you can find a talking crow to help you be better informed.

Can Crows Talk?

Yes. The crow can talk but cannot use its tongue the way a parrot can. The inability to use the tongue significantly reduces the number of words it can learn compared to the parrot and other talking birds.

What Words Can Crows Say?

Crows can say a number of words, especially if they hear it frequently. “Hello” is a popular word that they seem to pick up without much training.

How Do Crows Talk?

Syrinx

The syrinx is the bird’s vocal box responsible for creating the sounds we hear. They do not use their tongue to create sounds and cannot understand the words they are saying.

Intelligence

Crows are one of the smartest birds in the United States, and this high intelligence level is partly responsible for their ability to recreate sounds they hear, including human language. Though their head is smaller head to body ratio compared to other birds, they have higher intelligence. This intelligence allows them to work together in groups, develop complex social orders, recognize objects and colors, and even mimic human speech, especially when it helps them get what they want.

Brain Function

Scientists discovered that crows have a higher brain function than other species, with 1.5 billion active neurons that give the crows the ability to mimic sounds.

crow on ground

Image Credit: Pixabay

Why Don’t We See More Talking Parrots?

Though they are capable of saying the words, it can take quite a while to teach. Crows will need to hear the word repeated dozens or even hundreds of times before there is any chance the bird will repeat it. Since crows don’t make good pets and generally avoid getting too close to people, there is little chance that they will hear the same word repeatedly enough to learn it. Even if it did learn a word, it would likely be too shy to say it in public.

Parrots, on the other hand, enjoy being around people and make great pets, so they live in our homes and hear us say the same things over and over without us even realizing it.  We say hello when we answer the phone, the door, or even greet people in our home, so it’s a word many birds learn. Other popular words and phrases include “good morning,” “goodbye,” “I love you,” and many others.


Can I Teach a Crow To Talk?

Yes, you can teach a crow to talk, but it will be extremely difficult unless you keep one as a pet in captivity so you can constantly expose it to the words you want it to learn.

Start Early

The younger you are crow is when you start to train it how to talk, the better your chances of success. Older birds are much more set in their ways and are less likely to be interested in what you’re saying. Younger birds are more likely to accept you as part of their family and should be more open to learning words.

Simple Words

We recommend starting with simple words like hello, bye-bye, night night, hi, and many others. You can even use baby words, like mama, dada, and so on. It’s important to remember that the crow likely has no idea what the words mean and merely mimics what it hears.

Enthusiasm

The best way to teach your crow the new word is to use plenty of enthusiasm as you repeat it. The excitement will help clue your pet in that something important is going on, and it will want to be a part of it. The more enthusiastic you say the words, the harder the bird will try to mimic them, succeeding faster.  However, it’s important to remember that even the best trainers can take several weeks to teach the smartest birds have no word, so patience is critical.

Treats

If the bird succeeds in saying a word or even looks like it’s trying hard, it’s important to give it a treat to show it you appreciate the effort. This positive reinforcement will also help keep the bird focused and willing to learn.

Routine

Holding short training sessions at the same time each day can help get your bird into a routine. Routines help build trust and increase comfort level because your bird knows what to expect, and some birds can get quite excited about the prospects of gaining treats for saying a few words.

crow-bird-9616260

Image Credit: Pixabay

Will All Crows Learn to Talk?

Unfortunately, not all crows will learn how to talk. These birds are extremely shy and usually don’t like being around humans so they will be more interested in getting away and learning a new word. Purchasing a captive-bred crow when it’s still a baby is your best chance at obtaining a pet that enjoys living in captivity enough to learn how to talk.

binoculars 3 divider

Summary

While most crows can learn how to speak, it’s unlikely that most of us will ever hear one do so. Most crows are too shy to say the words even if they learn them, and learning a new word requires saying it repeatedly until the bird picks up on it, which wild crows are unlikely to allow. Your best option is to purchase a baby crow from a captive breeder if you can find one and get started training it immediately.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this short guide and found the answers you need. If we have put you on a search for a breeder, please share our look into if crows can talk like parrots on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

About the Author Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who contributes to a wide range of blogs covering information on computer programming, pets, birding, tools, fitness, guitars, and optics. Outside of writing, Ed is often found working in the garden or performing DIY projects in the house. Ed is also a musician, spending his time composing music for independent films or helping people repair their guitars.

Ed Malaker Profile Picture