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How Smart Are Parakeets? [Experience, Anecdote & Science]

If you have ever wondered how smart a parakeet is then you are not alone. Knowing that they can talk, this is a question that has always fascinated me. I decided to conduct some research into the IQ of the parakeet species and would like present that information with you here today.

So, how smart are parakeets? Parakeets are considered to be intelligent birds. Parakeets are a type of parrot which are considered the most intelligent bird within the scientific community. This is due to the correlation between brain size and intelligence among birds. Parakeets have a larger brain relative to the size of their bodies.

Let us now take a closer look at some of the signs that indicate your parakeet is smart and intelligent and some ways that you can ensure they remain mentally sharp for the duration of their lives.

Why Are Parakeets Smart?

The testing and analysis of intelligence is a common pursuit of scientists within the scientific community. So much so, that they are regularly looking at new ways to test it, and routinely look at other animals, mammals and birds for their research.

So much so that IQ tests actually exist for birds. Who knew?

From such research, one of the main and consistent themes in the findings is the correlation between brain size and intelligence.

Parakeets are considered to be smart birds due to their larger brains and smaller bodies. This is the case with all species of parrot.

Neuro-scientists from the Charles University in Prague are actively researching this. Studies on over 28 species of birds concluded that birds including parrots and songbirds not only have larger brains but have a significantly higher neuron density. These neurons are also located in the forebrain, an area which exclusivity controls cognitive function.

Beyond this, there is a neural circuit that has been identified in birds. This is called the Pontine Nuclei. This enables high order mental processing and more sophisticated behaviors in birds where this circuit is more active; like in parrots and parakeets.

This intelligence can be observed in the behaviors that such birds express and show.

Signs That Parakeets Are Smart

It is widely observed, and confirmed by scientists, that parakeets have remarkable skills that include using tools, recognizing themselves in a mirror and learning to speak words. These are clear expressions of intelligence.

The two main behaviors in which you will notice as a parakeet owner are Talking and Train-ability.


Parakeets can quickly learn to speak words and phrases. They even begin to mimick their owners (as you may have started to notice and observe already).

Parakeets can actually go on to acquire a more extensive vocabulary than some of the much larger parrots, like African Greys and Amazon Parrots. They can memorize hundreds to thousands of words, but even more importantly are able to connect those words and use them appropriately. In fact, they can even understand body movement and simple commands.

However, it is important to note here that it is only male parakeets that ‘talk’. If you own a make parakeet, then it is good practice to speak to them regularly as this will help their general mood.

When listening out for parakeet speech, you may notice that it is quick and and high-pitched. This makes it more difficult to listen to and hear what they are saying so you will need to listen carefully.

With parakeets, both the males and females will routinely chatter throughout the day. In fact, sometimes that can appear to be quite loud.

You will find that your pet parakeet will often communicate with you seeking your attention. For example, parakeet owners regularly experience a call for food when their food bowls are empty.


Parakeets are renown for being able to be ‘trained’. They can learn new tricks with ease and also relatively quickly.

You can actually teach them a number of games and behaviors. One of which is the infamous ring placement (which you will often see as games).

You can also train your parakeet to fly directly toward you and some owners report that they have trained their parakeet to somersault in their hands! Impressive.

How To Ensure Your Parakeet Remains Smart

Parakeets routinely use their brains which is of course the reason behind why they are smart.

As such, they require regular and frequent mental stimulation. Without this they can become bored, depressed and navigate towards forms of self harm (like pecking at their feathers).

In order to keep your parakeet mentally stimulated, there is no better way than to purchase a range of perches, toys and games.

Perches that are appropriately placed at different levels of the cage ensure that your parakeet not only gets regular exercise, but enables them to experience new perspectives and different outlooks. It keeps things interesting and not mundane and static for them.

If you decide to get some perches, make sure that they are made out of all natural wood and have not been sprayed with any toxic chemicals as this can cause issues to your parakeet. The GNB Pet perches from Amazon are cost-effective (you get 2), are easy to install, stable and are a popular favorite with parakeet owners.

Toys and Games are another way that you can keep your parakeet entertained for hours on end. This will ensure that they have something to do and will also ensure that they can put their brains to good use.

This 5 piece toy collection is an Amazon Best Seller and comes with a range of items that will keep your parakeets occupied for hours on end.

Socializing is also another important thing that you must regularly do with your parakeet. Parakeets are naturally very social birds and require a lot of attention and time spent with them. They also love companionship and humans (so long as you are gentle and kind to them).

Therefore, you need to regularly visit them, talk to them, and spend some time with them. This will improve their spirits and ensure that their mental health remains sharp.

Get a big enough cage is one of the most important and imperative things you can do for a parakeet. It enables them to spread their wings, fly around and to not feel suffocated and claustrophobic.

This is the kind of cage that you want, because it is open, wide and has a square top which gives your parakeets maximum space to live and breathe.

Let them out to fly from time to time is also another thing that you can do to ensure that your birds have a stimulating environment. If you decide you want to do this you will need to ensure you are capable of doing so and plan in advance. Close the room off, shut all the windows and remain present in the room at all times. If you get a big enough cage to begin with, this is not actually required, but can be a fun activity from time to time.

In Summary

Parakeets are smart birds. You may have already suspected this already, but even scientists are starting to prove it too!

If you own a parakeet, or are looking to get one, then the best thing you can do for them for their general well-being is to ensure that you provide ample, frequent and varied mental stimulation. This will ensure that they remain sharp and happy and will give you and your parakeet the best life possible.