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Smartest Pet Birds | Top 7 Most Intelligent Birds

Bigger isn’t always smarter! Some of the most intelligent birds are very small and even kept as pets. Birds show their intelligence in lots of ways from building nests, communicating, and even doing tricks.

Many birds in the wild have to be smart just to survive. Predators will prey on the weak and they need to either be bigger and stronger than the predators or simply smarter.

How do you define ‘ Smart or Intelligent ‘ well according to studies it’s defined by “the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations or the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment.”

In captivity as pets, birds will display their intelligence by talking and interacting with their owners and even performing tricks.

So, What are the smartest Pet Birds

Here is a list of our Top 7 Smartest Pet Birds which we all agreed on. There are far too many to list all of them but we have narrowed it down top Smart Pet Birds that anyone can own and afford to buy.

  • Cockatoos
  • Mynah bird
  • African Grey Parrots
  • Macaws
  • Budgerigars
  • Ravens
  • Owns

Top 7 Smartest Pet Birds

7. Cockatoos

cockatoo
FamilyOrginSizeLifespanCost
CacatuidaeAustralia and Indonesia18 to 24 inches40+ Years$1500-$4000

Cockatoos are native to Australia, the Solomon Islands, and New Guinea, and are distinguishable from other parrots due to their coloring – which is most often gray, white, or black, accented with faded color. They have prominent crests and their bills are uniquely curved and small.

Cockatoos can problem-solve, learn up to a few hundred words and speak most of them, and, last but not least, the Cockatoo is a renowned cuddler.

Cockatoos needs heaps of social interaction and exercise for their wellbeing, however. This is not a bird for those who are often away, or for the faint of heart – but for the right person, these clown-like birds will keep you loyal company and fill your days with cheer.


6. Mynah bird

Mynah bird
Scientific NameOrginSizeLifespanCost
Acridotheres tristisAfrica, India, southeast Asia12-18 Inches15-25 Years$400

The Mynah is native to India, Indonesia, Asia, and Africa, and is without a doubt one of the smartest pet birds ever. This is another bird that is not related to the parrot, yet can learn to talk!

The Mynah available as a pet is the Hill Mynah, which is affectionate, lively, and couldn’t be friendlier. The Common Mynah, on the other hand, is considered a pest, as it intrudes on other birds’ territory in search of bugs (it was first introduced elsewhere to help against insects, but turned invasive). The Bali Mynah is ultra-rare and endangered, with only 100 left (in total).


5. African Grey Parrots

african grey
Scientific NameOrginSizeLifespanCost
Psittacus erithacusAfrica13-15 Inches40-60 Years$2500+

True to its name, the African gray boasts plumage in blended stripes of dark to light gray; they have striking white masks and black beaks, and eyes that are yellow or silver.

African Grays are a type of parrot, and are perhaps the smartest pet birds out there, and are known for their unique behavior. For example, they seem to frequently understand what they are saying when they talk (other times, they are merely mimicking noises like your average songbird).

They have also been known to display empathy, and to offer help to other animals, people, and each other.

As pets, this African native needs heaps of attention and exercise, but many consider their friendly, talkative – they can learn up to 1,000 words – company a fair trade-off.


4. Macaws

Scarlet Macaw
Scientific NameOrginSizeLifespanCost
PsittacidaeSouth America20-40 Inches30-50 Years$4000+

The Macaw is another one of the smartest pet birds ever. These birds can live up to 80 years old and will spend that time learning, playing, socializing, making noises, etc. They are richly-colored, and huge, reaching up to 3 and ½ feet long from beak to tail.

The Macaw is native to Central America, Mexico, and South America, and prefers savannahs and rainforests. These birds fill the lush green trees with noise and color.

A pet Macaw will need a huge cage, and plenty of activity, toys, food, and attention, or they can develop restless and agitated behavior. They are a potentially 80-year commitment; make sure you know what you are getting into, and you and your Macaw can get along swimmingly (into old age) together.


3. Budgerigars

budgies
Scientific NameOrginSizeLifespanCost
Melopsittacus undulatusAustralia5-7 Inches6-10 Years$25

Who’d have thought, but one of the tiniest parrot-like birds ever, the Budgie (aka Budgerigar or Parakeet) is also one of the smartest pet birds ever. These tiny birds are said to absorb information like a sponge, and learn to recognize their favorite people.

They love to be sung to and talked to, and thrive on attention in general. Budgies can die of loneliness, so make sure not to get one as a pet unless you are able to give it all of the necessary love, care, etc.

Budgies come in a rainbow of pastel colors, including sky blue, cotton-candy pink, lime-green, leaf-green, dandelion-yellow, and more!


2. Ravens

ravens
Scientific NameOrginSizeLifespanCost
Corvus coraxWestern and Northern North America20-22 Inches10-30 Years$1000-$2000

Did you know that ravens are incredibly intelligent? They can be as smart as parrots; in fact, compared to some kinds of parrots, they are even smarter. Ravens aren’t related to parrots, yet they possess the extraordinary ability to learn to talk.

Their minds are bright, and they have an eye for shiny things, which they will collect, and even gift to the lucky person who has won them over. Ravens are much bigger than crows, with silky-black feathers and powerful caw. In most cases, owning a raven as a pet is illegal.

There are exceptions, however. Sometimes ravens are in need of rescue if they are injured, rejected by a flock, etc. You could try contacting a local rehabilitation center.


1. Barn Owls

owl
Scientific NameOrginSizeLifespanCost
Tyto albaNorth America, Europe15-20 Inches3-6 Years$3000

Owls are not nearly as smart as, say, the African Gray or the Mynah, as they are highly instinct-driven. Owls are most often thinking of fight or flight, hunting, etc.

This sort of throws problem-solving out the window. That being said, as rescues, owls can be some of the smartest pet birds, showing wit, personality, and even humor.

Owls can be found worldwide, and all across the northern US! There are snowy owls, horned owls, barn owls, and more!


Can you increase your bird’s intelligence?

Your pet birds intelligence is already inside their head but like all living animals that have a brain, to can help to bring out the best in them and help them get smarter.

Just think of it as school for birds.

So, what do you need to do to make your pet bird smarter.? The answer is simple. Play with your bird and spent time with them. Also, create a stimulating environment for them to live.

The more you play with your bird and talk to them the more they will respond, learn, and grow. Like all animals and humans in fact. Interaction between you and your pet birds will stimulate their brain and help them become more intelligent.

Spending at least 30 minutes a day with your pet bird to help increase their intelligence. Play games and teach them tricks and reward them with healthy treats like small pieces of fruit. Sit and talk to them in a calm and quiet environment for at least 15 minutes a day.


Final Thoughts

Not all birds are smart. Some will not develop as much as others. Their brain size is not as large and therefor will not learn as fast as some other birds like Macaws for example.

You need to start off with a pet bird that has the power and capability to learn. From then on it’s all down to how much time and effort you put into their training.

Spending 30-45 minutes a day will have you pet birds swearing within no time at all. Ha Ha

Hutch and Cage.com does not provide veterinary advice. Our aim is to provide the reader with information to enable them to make a good decision when making a purchase or caring for their pet. All content is therefore for informational purposes only. If you're concerned about the health of your pet you should seek medical advice from a vet.