Do Birds Know Their Names

Do Birds Know Their Names

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Birds are amazing creatures. They are smart, beautiful, and they love to sing. However, there is one thing that makes them even more special – they have the ability to recognize names.

They call each other by name, they recognize the names given by their owners, and they even use their names to greet people.

Fascinatingly, birds are not only able to recognize their own names, but they are able to use their names to tell each other apart.

Do Birds Know Their Names

Similar to other pets like cats and dogs, birds are able to recognize their names given to them by their pet owners. This trait is more prevalent in parrots, ravens, macaws, cockatoos, budgies and conures.

In fact, some bird species can even be trained to perform certain actions on command. If you have ever trained your pet bird before, you may have heard of the two basic commands, “Step Up” and “Step Down”.

Birds are also able to recognize the names of other pet birds if they have been exposed long and consistently enough in such situations.

How Do Birds Respond to Their Names?

Girl Looking at Pet Bird in Cage

There are some obvious cues which show that your pet bird is actually responding to its name. They will do actions such as:

  • Head bobbing
  • Wing flapping
  • Tail flipping
  • Chirping
  • Squawking
  • Swaying

The amount a bird responds when it hears its name also depends upon how much time has passed since it was last called.

If the bird hasn’t seen its owner for an extended period of separation, it will likely respond immediately to its name. However if you keep calling the bird’s name excessively, then it’s more likely that it will ignore it.

How Long Will It Take For Birds to Learn Their Names

It takes about three months or so for most birds to learn their names. During this process, you should give your bird plenty of exposure to its name. You could also try adding an action whenever you are trying to call out to your pet bird by its name. This repetition helps with imprinting. You might want to consider giving your bird different names at first until it gets used to all of them. Once the bird knows its name, you can start using it regularly.

If you spend lots of time training your pet bird to recognize its name, you’ll find that it becomes very responsive to it. In addition, you won’t need to say anything else but its name to get your bird to come over to you.

Do Birds Give Each Other Names

Some birds are known to use their names to identify themselves to others. In particular, parrot species tend to use their names to distinguish between members of their flock. They often can be heard calling out their own name while flying around the room, while other members of the flock pick up on it and start referring to the particular parrot by its name.

How Intelligent are Birds

Birds Looking at Each Other

While many people think of birds as unintelligent animals who just sit around and do nothing much, these little feathered friends really aren’t that simple. There are several studies showing that birds possess higher cognitive abilities than we previously thought.

For example, researchers from Ruhr-Universität Bochum in Germany found that pigeons are actually better at multitasking than humans. The study showed that pigeons  have high neuronal density which means that information can be processed more quickly in avian brains than in mammalian brains.

Certain species, such as the the African Grey Parrots have very strong memories and are known to recall up to hundred of words and phrases, making it look like they are able to hold a conversation with a human.

Do Birds Know What They Are Saying

It’s hard to believe that some birds such as parrots understand what they are saying, but it’s definitely possible. For most cases, they are probably just recreating sounds whenever they “speak”, and don’t really understand the meaning behind those sounds. But in certain instances, birds can be trained to associate what they are saying to a specific meaning or action.

For example, if you bird has been trained enough, it could say something like “scratch scratch” to indicate that it wants a neck scratch from you. It could also know how to respond in return specifically to a certain call. But by no means do birds have the ability to comprehend the english language like how we do.

Do Birds Recognize Voices

Little Girl Cuddling a Bird

This ability of recognizing a person’s voice has been observed in many types of animals including monkeys, elephants, dolphins, whales, parrots, and others.

However, it seems that this skill is most common among parrots, cockatoos and songbirds such as robins, finches, sparrows, blue jays, cardinals, chickadees, etc.

They are able to identify their mates, parents, offsprings and owners by their voices. And when they hear someone speaking to them, they will immediately react accordingly.

In fact, scientists have discovered that parrots are capable of distinguishing different tones within a single word. This allows them to differentiate between two similar sounding words such as “sit” and “set”.

How to Teach My Pet Bird to Recognize Its Name

Parakeet Training

It’s all about consistency and patience. The best way to train your pet bird to recognize its name is to keep calling it by its name from the very first day you brought it home. You can also give it treats whenever calling its name to make your pet bird understand that its name has a particular importance to it.

Also make sure that you don’t shout out the name too loudly because loud noises tend to confuse birds. Instead, speak normally to it and also make sure that you are in a quiet place away from noises and traffic.

Can I Change My Bird’s Name

It is advisable to stick to one name rather than always changing it. But if you want to change your bird’s name, you can do so. Make sure that you choose an appropriate name for it since changing the name already could cause some confusion itself. Also remember that once you’ve changed the name, you will need to teach and reinforce it to your bird again. In order not to confuse your bird, it would be better to wait until your bird gets used to the old name before switching over to the new one.


Birds are intelligent beings with lots of interesting abilities. Your pet bird is very likely able to recognize its own name. So why not take advantage of this? Call it by its name instead of just calling it “Bird”! Unless that’s the name you gave it.

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