Does The Female Eclectus Parrot Talk?

  • Time to read: 9 min.

Does the female Eclectus parrot talk? Parrots are holistically known for their ability to talk. Still, to the surprise of many, there is a significant amount of parrot species that cannot mimic human speech. On that note, can female Eclectus parrots and their male counterparts also talk?

Due to the behavioral tendencies of female Eclectus parrots and their timid temperament, many misconceptions exist about their ability to talk. However, the reality is that both male and female Eclectus parrots can speak and possibly even hold a conversation.

This article will discuss the Eclectus parrot’s abilities, behavioral tendencies, geographical origins, and more. Does the female Eclectus parrot talk? Let’s find out the answer to that question and more below.

Article Guide

This article will cover three prospects about Eclectus parrots. Below, we provide an article overview.

The Topics In This Article

  • An introduction to the Eclectus parrots: includes male vs. female differences (physical) and their habitats. 
  • The science of talking: topics include how Eclectus parrots talk, their ability to mimic, and the science behind how Eclectus parrots are physically able to speak.
  • Behavioral overview of Eclectus parrots: a quick overview of how female Eclectus parrots behave differently than male Eclectus parrots.

The Geographical Location Of The Eclectus Parrot

The Eclectus parrot does not get much air time, and most publicity that comes with the Eclectus parrot is generally not too informative. As such, let us slow down and get a chance to understand the Eclectus parrot in this section.

The Eclectus parrot (scientific name, Eclectus roratus) is a parrot commonly found in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea island nations. However, one can see them natively living in areas like the Solomon Islands. However, as an introduced species, the Eclectus parrot is present in Singapore, Palau, and other nations near the tropics of Indonesia and Micronesia. (source)

Typically, in their native habitat, the Eclectus parrot stays near bodies of water, coastal areas, and lush rainforests, in which all three biomes are heavily present in Indonesia (and, in turn, is why they live there). As to their altitude preference, the Eclectus parrot lives in a broad spectrum of altitudes, from 20 meters up to a kilometer above sea level. However, they keep their nests relatively high up, approximately 20 meters above the ground. 

What Does The Eclectus Parrot Look Like?

a pair of Solomon Island Eclectus Parrots Eclectus roratus solomonensis

Does the female Eclectus parrot talk, and what is their physical description? Although a quick Google search can provide a visual presentation of the Eclectus parrot, pictures cannot reveal certain things from a single look, such as the height and weight of the Eclectus parrot. As such, below, we list the physical description of the Eclectus parrot. (Forshaw, J. & Cooper, W., 1978)

Physical Description Of The Eclectus Parrot 

  • The Eclectus parrot is a stocky parrot, plump and heavyset.
  • It has a short tail.
  • Typically, the parrot has a bright green coloring, with a yellow tinge on the head (male).
  • Their flight feathers or primaries of the Eclectus parrot are bright blues.
  • The male and female Eclectus has a very significant and easily visible sexual dimorphism. Sexual dimorphism refers to the physical differences of animals between males and females (except for the sex organs).
  • The female Eclectus sport a rich red color but can have a darker hue on its back and wings. The female Eclectus also has an orange tail with a gradient of yellow.
  • The Eclectus measures around 14 inches (35 centimeters) in height and typically weigh around 440 grams (adult).

A Deep Dive Into The Mimicking Ability Of Eclectus Parrots

Does the female Eclectus parrot talk? The male and female Eclectus parrots speak very well and are better than most parrot species. The Eclectus is incredibly fluent at saying that many owners report vocabularies of approximately 250 words. Moreover, it seems that Eclectus parrots can carry on conversations better than other parrot species. 

Early Stages 

Typically, most Eclectus parrots will start mimicking sounds at the early stages of life, although not necessarily human speech. Progressively, however, Eclectus parrots will start copying more complex sounds and, eventually, human speech. Typically, the Eclectus parrot does not talk in clear voices until they are well past one year old. 

However, they will start their talking journey at around four months old. Their talking habits will change and mature throughout puberty when they are around a year and a half old. They will reach maturity at around two to three years old and have a firmer grasp of human speech at the said point.

It is easier to teach parrots new words while they are young (like how humans are better at learning new things and languages before adulthood). However, they can still learn new words at an older age, despite being more challenging. 

How Does The Female Eclectus Parrot Talk? 

There are so many animal species, but it seems that not even the ones closest to us, the primates (Gorillas, monkeys), can mimic human speech. For most, human speech is uniquely and most undoubtedly human. However, a particular species– avians, in fact, specifically certain species of parrots, can mimic human speech. Despite our few and far between similarities with said parrots, how can they mimic human speech?

The Larynx Versus The Syrinx

The physical properties of Eclectus parrots differ vastly from that of humans. However, the syrinx, the avian counterpart of the human larynx, can mimic human speech to a certain extent. 

The syrinx branches into two areas to provide air access to both lungs, and through such broad access to air, the syrinx can utilize the passage to create vibrations from both branches and, thus, a sound. 

A unique property of the syrinx is that its structure can produce a tone for each branching way, allowing Eclectus parrots to create two tones simultaneously in the same frequency. The length of the Eclectus parrot’s windpipe, the shape of its beak, and the muscles in his neck all impact the complexity of the sounds they can make. (source)

Unlike the syrinx, the human larynx is usually higher. The syrinx is often called the “lower larynx” due to its position in the nasal cavity. In addition, the human larynx is not double-barrelled, unlike the syrinx. (source)

The Real Reason Why Eclectus Parrots Can Talk: Tounges

Does the female Eclectus parrot talk? One of the primary reasons why Eclectus parrots can talk is their tongues. Unlike most animals, Eclectus parrots can use their thick tongue to create sounds that mimic human speech. Most avians do not have tongues that are strong enough to assist speech and must rely solely on their beak or lips.

How The Eclectus Parrot’s Hearing Ability Helps It Mimic Human Speech

There is a strong correlation between the ability to hear and the ability to articulate proper vocal speeches. Approximately three out of a thousand humans are born with hearing deficiency. As a result, many those with hearing difficulties also have their speech and language development hampered. This tendency is not only observed in humans but also Eclectus parrots.

So, what is the correlation between hearing and vocal linguistic abilities in Eclectus parrots? Human children and Eclectus parrots rely heavily on hearing to acquire vocabulary at an early age. (source)

Parrot’s Linguistics Abilities Vs. Humans

Moreover, human and avian minds at such an age are advantaged in learning linguistic skills: as the brain’s neural networks and thought processes are yet to be connected, and a proper linguistic-cognitive connection is still developing. At this point in their development, humans and Eclectus parrots merely think in pure thoughts and not in words. 

Hearing helps developing brains understand what sounds correspond to speech and allows humans and Eclectus parrots to mimic what “words” and “vocabularies” are to put them into simpler words. For example, human babies typically mention “mama” and “papa” as their first words simply because they constantly hear the words, and the said words are the most straightforward words for babies to pronounce. 

Hearing And Speech

As for Eclectus parrots have an innate keen sense of hearing, which is part of why they can imitate human speech so well. When exposed to the same sound in the same note for multiple sounds, Eclectus parrots will be able to pick up and “mimic” the sound quickly. 

Another thing that backs up the Eclectus parrot’s keen sense of hearing is how their ears and their mechanisms differ from that of humans. For example, Eclectus parrots can discern sounds from each other in quick succession, and when compared to humans, they can do this task exceptionally well. Moreover, they are also able to pick up on shorter notes. (source)

Are Eclectus Parrots Talking Or Mimicking?

There is a widespread belief that Eclectus parrots can hold conversations, retain context, and respond accordingly. Mainly, television is to blame. However, can Eclectus parrots “actually” have conversations, or is this a myth?

Typically, most parrots do not understand the meaning of the words they are saying and are only aware of how they sound. However, their brains are smart enough to understand and associate a sound with a specific event. For example, your parrot might say “Good morning!” when you approach it in the morning, as it correlates with you meeting them as a sign to say “Good morning.” However, because their correlation is as shallow as that, they might still say “Good morning” when you meet them in the evening or the afternoon.

Eclectus parrots typically do not make these sounds to “speak” but rather make these sounds because they are mimicking them. They do not exclusively mimic human speech, but they can mimic the sound of the garage door opening or purring cats. 

Into The Mind Of An Eclectus Parrot: Behavioral Tendencies

Does the female Eclectus parrot talk? Female Eclectus parrots can talk as well as male Eclectus parrots, but there are other differences between the two. A fun trivia is that because female and male Eclectus parrots look and act differently, people thought the two were from different species. This section will discuss the behavioral tendencies of Eclectus parrots and understand the behavioral differences between male and female Eclectus. 

The Behavioral Differences Between Male And Female 

  • Contrary to human and the animal kingdom’s conventions (albeit a bit archaic), instead of males being aggressive and females being passive, Eclectus parrots have the opposite tendency. Typically, males are sedentary and docile; females are feisty and more aggressive.
  • Although the females are aggressive, Eclectus parrots are typically less aggressive than other avians. It is just that in a vacuum, females tend to be more aggressive compared to males.
  • Eclectus parrots tend to be more demanding compared to other parrot species. They need a lot of stimulation, and most of the time, they do not settle for a simple “letting them out of the cage.” They will need complete attention and tend to squeal if they feel ignored. 
  • Most Eclectus parrots do not appreciate physical touch. They tend to bite when they feel offended, so unless you trained your parrot for high degrees of physical contact, avoid said interactions. 

Summary

Does the female Eclectus parrot talk? Yes, they can. Eclectus parrots are a species of parrots commonly found in Southeast Asia, specifically Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. They reside in various environments, from near sea level to heights of approximately a thousand meters.

Eclectus parrots have extreme sexual dimorphism, and many thought that the male and female Eclectus parrots were two different species. While the male Eclectus parrot is emerald green, the females may be bright red. 

What Do They Use For Speech?

Eclectus parrots can talk thanks to their physical body parts that make it possible: their ears, their tongue, and their syrinx. The syrinx is the avian equivalent of the human larynx and can notoriously produce two tones simultaneously.

On the other hand, Eclectus parrots have a large tongue allowing them to enunciate words aside from their lips. Because of their tongue, they can mimic a broad range of sounds. On the other hand, they have an impeccable sense of hearing, allowing them to learn sounds faster.

The male and female Eclectus parrots act differently. While the females may act more aggressive, the males are more docile. Unfortunately, while it may seem like your Eclectus parrot is holding down a conversation, that is not the case. They only mimic sounds and do not accidentally understand the meaning behind them.

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