Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Language Research: Parrots

  • Jen MuirEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1651-1



A review of language-centered studies on parrots and implications for understanding parrot cognition.


Language-based animal studies have previously focused on teaching language to nonhuman primates in an attempt to understand how language evolved in humans. However, they eventually branched out, using language as a tool to understand cognition in other animals such as dolphins and birds (e.g., Hayes and Nissen 1971; Herman 1980; Pepperberg 1981). Several bird species have demonstrated an ability to imitate human speech, including corvids, songbirds, and, notably, parrots. Parrots (Psittacidae sp.) are a family composed of approximately 390 species. Language research on parrots has focused on African grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus), particularly the work of Dr. Irene Pepperberg, which used their ability to interface with humans to explore their cognitive ability....

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social SciencesOxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Shannon M. Digweed
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMacEwan UniversityEdmontonCanada