Link #83: African Grey Parrots Have the Intelligence of Six-Year-Olds!



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Link #83: African Grey Parrots Have the Intelligence of Six-Year-Olds!

African Grey Parrot by Keith Allison CC BY-SA 2.0

There is a lot of evolutionary variety in the parrot species. This means that there is a wide array of parrots on earth with distinct characteristics. In our last post, we talked about the fattest parrot in the world – Kakapo. Kakapo is so fat that it has forgotten to fly and instead uses its sturdy legs to get around.

Parrots are mainly known for their ability to mimic human speech. While most parrots can do this, the most accomplished of them all is the African Grey Parrot. Did you know that studies have shown that the intelligence of some African Grey Parrots is the equivalent of six-year-old human children? If you want to learn more, read on.

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How Intelligent Are African Grey Parrots Really?

Image credit: GrrlScientist CC BY-SA 2.0

The biggest proof that parrots are as intelligent as six-year-old human children is their cognitive abilities. Cognitive abilities include perception and the ability to learn and reason out connections among various things.

African Grey Parrots are known for having great cognitive abilities within the animal kingdom. They’re not only able to learn and use some words in the right context but can also develop an understanding of basic numbers.

For instance, if an African Grey Parrot learns the words “goodbye” or “hello” then it will usually not mix them up. This means that it will say “hello” when its owner comes into the room and “goodbye” when he leaves. Furthermore, most African Grey Parrots learn the names of objects and use them appropriately around others.

Similarly, African Grey Parrots can learn numbers up to eight. The most famous African Grey Parrot, Alex, knew how to use numbers from zero to six while another African Grey Parrot known as Griffin can count till the number eight.

In addition to this, African Grey Parrots also have the ability to recognise the moods of their owners. For example, they can tell when their owner is sad or happy and change their behaviour and responses accordingly.

How Many Words Can the African Grey Parrot Remember?

There are some African Grey Parrots that are quick learners when it comes to words, while others can’t speak at all and only mimic words and sounds. As per scientists, whether an African Grey Parrot has the ability to talk coherently or not depends on its training and individual ability.

Typically, African Grey Parrots can learn up to 200 words with the average being 100 words. However, some African Grey Parrots have been known to learn up to 1,000 words as well. Usually, an African Grey Parrot will try to learn words by repeating them when no one is around. By doing this, it ends up surprising its owners by cleverly using the word out of the blue.

African Grey Parrots Are Extremely Sensitive to Change

Image credit: paTTrick CC BY-SA 2.0

African Grey Parrots are also extremely sensitive to changes around them. It has been noted that even something as simple as a delay in letting them out of their cage can make African Grey Parrots cranky and unhappy. How do they show their displeasure? They do it by plucking their own feathers out!

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