The bird, a captive
African grey called N'kisi, has a vocabulary of 950
words, and shows signs of a sense of humor. He
invents his own words and phrases if he is
confronted with novel ideas with which his existing
repertoire cannot cope - just as a human child would
do. N'kisi's remarkable abilities feature in the
latest BBC Wildlife Magazine.
believed to be one of the most advanced users of
human language in the animal world. About 100 words
are needed for half of all reading in English, so if
N'kisi could read he would be able to cope with a
wide range of material.
He uses words in
context, with past, present and future tenses, and
is often inventive. One N'kisi-ism was "flied"
for "flew", and another "pretty smell medicine" to
describe the aromatherapy oils used by his owner, an
artist based in New York.
When he first met
Dr Jane Goodall, the renowned chimpanzee expert,
after seeing her in a picture with apes, N'kisi
said: "Got a chimp?"
School's in: He is a willing learner
He appears to
fancy himself as a humorist. When another parrot
hung upside down from its perch, he commented: "You
got to put this bird on the camera." Dr
Goodall says N'kisi's verbal fireworks are an
"outstanding example of interspecies communication".
In an experiment,
the bird and his owner were put in separate rooms
and filmed as the artist opened random envelopes
containing picture cards. Analysis showed the
parrot had used appropriate keywords three times
more often than would be likely by chance.
This was despite
the researchers discounting responses like "What ya
doing on the phone?" when N'kisi saw a card of a man
with a telephone, and "Can I give you a hug?" with
one of a couple embracing.
Broom, of the University of Cambridge's School of
Veterinary Medicine, said: "The more we look at the
cognitive abilities of animals, the more advanced
they appear, and the biggest leap of all has been
with parrots." Alison Hales, of the World
Parrot Trust, told BBC News Online: "N'kisi's
amazing vocabulary and sense of humor should make
everyone who has a pet parrot consider whether they
are meeting its needs.
"They may not be
able to ask directly, but parrots are long-lived,
and a bit of research now could mean an improved
quality of life for years."
courtesy and copyright of Grace Roselli.
I have discovered and have been awed by many amazing
attributes of birds and parrots over the years. I
have been shocked by their intelligence so much, as
to condone the breeding and "owning" of any bird,
for any reason. Birds are not meant to be captives
in cages or aviaries, but to be free in the
environment they have adapted to over the millions
of years of evolution. If you are considering
buying a bird, please donít. You are only
reaffirming to the breeder that they can make more
money by breeding and selling more birds.
Anyone who has a pet parrot should
consider whether they are meeting all of its needs.
Think about it.