What Parrot is the Smartest?

intelligent parrots kea

Looking at all the species in this world, it can be safely said that the smartest ones majorly belong to the bird world. We hardly see any other species talking as perfectly as humans as birds do. This is the biggest proof of birds being the smartest.

But, not all bird species are equally intelligent. Many of them do not possess talking abilities or cannot solve the puzzles thrown at them. However, parrots are good at handling such tasks. They are smart, talented, and intelligent that has been proven by numerous pieces of research as well. But, among the varied parrot species, what parrot is the smartest? Let us explore.

What is the most Intelligent Bird?

Talking about the most intelligent bird, studies suggest that crows are the smartest among the bird species. They are followed by several parrot species that are discussed here:

Here is our list of smartest parrots.

1. Kea

Mark Whatmough / CC BY

Found in the South Island, New Zealand, Kea is the only true Alpine parrot in the entire world. Living in the snow, Keas form nests both below and above the ground. They majorly feed on carrions.

They are intelligent enough to form judgments from different pieces of information provided to them. They can also understand probability just like the great apes. They can also be seen solving puzzles using logical thinking to satisfy their curiosity and find out their hidden treats. An experimental study revealed that Keas adapt to the changing situations they face in their natural environment.

They find ways to solve the new problems they face and discard the old problem-solving methods once they are of no use. This represents the analytical intelligence of these birds.

2. African Grey

African greys are stars of the house parties courtesy their ability to mimic humans. They can build a vocab of about 1000 words and possess the analytical abilities to use these words in the right context. These birds are always in their deep thoughts and are excellent talkers.

A few tests hinted at the bird’s excellent logical capabilities as they can find their hidden food with the help of deduction skills. These exploratory skills of African greys can be compared with those of apes and humans. Research suggests that the species can perform intelligent reasoning at par with a 4-year-old child. Their emotional responses are also comparable to a toddler.

3. Macaws


Macaws are among the most intelligent birds with their smartness being comparable to a two-year-old child. They are emotional and demanding like a toddler and display similar traits while denied a treat.

Their intelligence can be seen from the fact that they can successfully hide their food from the other bird when they are in doubt. On their food being hidden in other objects, they will use their logical thinking to happily find it out. Additionally, it has been observed that the macaw parents assign a name to their offspring in the wild. The baby macaw is called with the same sound-cum-name by everyone in the community. In captivity, macaws are intelligent enough to learn their owner’s speech and mimic various sounds.

4. Cockatoo

Along with the excellent talking abilities, cockatoos carry the intelligence to make musical instruments. They are extremely social and affectionate displaying emotional responses as good as human babies. They are good at mimicking a wide variety of sounds.

An experimental study found out that cockatoos can resist the temptation of a treat to trade it for a bigger and better reward. Cockatoos can also successfully find out a hidden treat using their logical thinking abilities while deriving amusement from the task in hand – just like a toddler.

5. Amazon Parrots

Amazon parrots can be found in a wide variety – all showing intelligence and emotions. They are extremely quick at picking up human speech when in captivity and can build a large vocabulary. These wonderful creatures can even learn songs and phrases though it all depends on the level of human interaction they are exposed to.

They are excellent at mimicking sounds from their surroundings and one can hardly differentiate between a sound produced by the bird and the original one. Amazons are playful and curious creatures displaying exploratory skills. This allows them to find out their hidden treat while enjoying the whole process.

One can also observe Amazons performing a variety of bird tricks using their logical abilities. These birds are extremely affectionate towards their owners making a great companion. This brings out their emotional intelligence as they are capable of developing a strong bond with humans. Additionally, Amazons require a lot of mental stimulation and are demanding like a toddler.

How smart are Quaker Parrots?

Quaker parrots are known for their excellent talking abilities. Their communication skills represent their cognitive abilities as they can develop a huge vocabulary over time. Not only that, but they are also intelligent enough to use the words they learn in the right context. Many owners are surprised to hear their Quakers using the right words at the right time. Let us delve deep into the smart world of Quaker parrots:

Excellent memorizing skills

Along with memorizing words, Quakers can learn various sounds, phrases, jingles, and full-length songs. They are excellent in picking up sounds from their surroundings like that of a door, washing machine, or microwave. They can also remember the tunes of jingles and sings. It won’t be a surprise to hear a Quaker singing a song that he watched on television with his owner.

Nest making skills

The only parrots in the world that make nests are Quakers. This shows their level of architectural intelligence with their nests being built like human homes. One can find several room-like compartments in a Quaker’s nest to ensure privacy for each of their family members – just like humans.

Affectionate and social nature

Quaker parrots are extremely social and love bonding either with their owners or fellow Quakers. They are good at recognizing faces showing their cognitive abilities. They develop an affectionate bond with their owners displaying emotions similar to a human toddler.

Puzzle-solving skills

Many Quaker owners report that their parrots learn to open their cage locks just by observing the process. Quakers can apply their conceptual abilities extremely well in solving puzzles. They can disassemble a puzzle toy without destroying it. It comes naturally to them because of their curious personalities. This conceptual ability also allows them to learn new bird tricks with a little training.

Analytical skills

Quaker parrots have excellent analytical skills that can be observed in their everyday tasks. The tool-using ability of Quakers while building a nest in the wild shows this aspect of their intelligence. The complex structure they develop is comparable to that of large buildings constructed by humans for community shelters. One can even watch his pet Quaker picking up pens, pencils, straws, and other such items to form a nest in his cage.

These birds can make a nest using their judgment even if they haven’t seen their fellow Quakers doing so. The analytical abilities of Quaker parrots can also be observed from their eating habits. If a pet Quaker doesn’t like a particular food item in his bowl, he won’t eat it at all. The pattern will follow for this disliked food item even in their subsequent meals.

A more in-depth article about Quaker Intelligence:

Are parrots the most intelligent?

Parrots cannot be called the most intelligent non-human species but they are very intelligent with their genes playing their part in this smartness. The genes responsible for developing the brain of parrots are comparable to the ones that gifted large brains to humans on evolving. One can find many behavioral traits in parrots that are similar to humans including their emotional capabilities and ability to learn human speech.

What is smarter: a dog or a parrot?

Though it is popularly believed that dogs are the most intelligent animals as they are also a part of the police force, a newly conducted research reveals a different truth. It has been found that parrots are more intelligent than both monkeys – our primates and dogs. In a mental test,

African Grey parrots displayed an intelligence comparable to a three-year-old human child. Parrots can recognize colors, numbers, shapes, patterns, textures, and faces. The biggest fact proving parrots’ intelligence is their talking abilities. No other pet can learn human speech or mimic sounds from their surroundings. However, parrots need training and time to learn and develop their skills just like humans.

Summing Up

Parrots are smart with Kea parrot being the smartest of them all. These birds are intelligent, talented, and affectionate towards humans. They display logical and analytical abilities from time to time to prove their smartness. Many parrot species are good at learning new things because of their curious personalities.

The key to feed parrots with knowledge is their exposure to the world of knowledge. The more an owner will interact with his parrot, the more vocabulary his parrot will develop. With the emotional capabilities of parrots, one can find a lifelong companion in them.

About ali.demirovic

Hello everyone, I'm Ali from Sarajevo, Bosnia. In my home, I have a Quaker parrot and a Lovebird. My love for parrots started when I was a kid, beginning with a small blue budgie. He was with me his whole life, and I learned a lot about caring for parrots with him. The most recent addition to my family is a female Lovebird, who I got from a local shop. It's been quite a journey to tame her. She's still a bit shy and likes her own space, but she's quite friendly when she's out of her cage. On this website, I'll share my experiences with these amazing birds. I'll also post any useful information I find about keeping parrots. I hope this site will be helpful and interesting for anyone who loves these wonderful birds as much as I do.

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