Do Macaws Talk? ( Revealed!)

Last Updated on December 30, 2023 by Ali Shahid

Most people desire a parrot talking parrot. Chatting with your pet and learning new phrases together is a lot of fun. But, it is often mistakenly believed that all parrots can speak. How about the macaws? Can macaws talk? Yes, macaws can talk and learn to mimic words and even sentences thanks to the syrinx, a vocal organ in birds present beneath the trachea. When air flows through a macaw’s syrinx, passing through its throat and mouth, the bird can produce sounds and words using its tongue. However, not every macaw possesses this talking ability. Still, most of them enjoy making noises by copying whistles, household sounds, or even words.

Among the various macaw types, the blue and gold macaw stands out as the most proficient talker. Additionally, species like the Green-Winged Macaw, Hahn’s Macaw, and Harlequin Macaw also have commendable speaking skills. Many owners have observed that these birds typically learn a new word approximately every six months, showcasing their impressive learning capacity.

If you aim to teach your macaw some words, there are simple techniques you can employ. Begin by placing different fruits like bananas, apples, and oranges or various foods like seeds and nuts in their cages. This will help the bird recognize and differentiate between them. Whenever you approach your macaw, greet it with a cheerful “Hello,” and bid it farewell with a gentle “Goodbye.” Associating words with daily actions or objects familiar to the bird can expedite its learning process.

In the sections that follow, we will examine macaws’ ability to speak. We’ll explore how these birds communicate through words and sounds, shedding light on their intriguing capabilities. By the end of this read, you’ll gain comprehensive insights into the fascinating world of macaw vocalization. Let’s embark on this enlightening journey together!

How Do Macaws Talk?

No matter where we live, we all hear different birds chirping. Therefore, birds chirp, and parrots speak using the same organ in their bodies. This organ is called a syrinx. Located at the base of the trachea, it is responsible for changing airflow.

With syrinx, macaws can imitate a wide variety of sounds, including human voices. Thus, macaws can interact with their owners in a variety of ways. Additionally, they can sing songs they have heard many times, or repeat cartoon sounds.

This is how macaws communicate with their surroundings. But every bird is unique, and macaws are no exception. Adult macaws may not talk immediately to people when they get to know them.

In contrast, from birth, parrots raised close to their owners can speak many words and long phrases. Since you have a close bond with these parrots, they can learn faster and are always learning new things.

Can All Macaws Talk?

Some macaw species like blue and gold macaws, Green-winged Macaws, Severe Macaws, and Harlequin Macaws can learn to talk some words and phrases. Although others may not be proficient talkers, they still attempt to communicate by mimicking sounds and sometimes even words.

Hence, all Macaws can communicate to some extent, but it depends on their specific environment. It is generally assumed that all Macaws can talk. However, certain factors may prevent them from retaining the ability.

Macaws might lose their ability to talk if they suffer significant injuries. They’re small creatures, so even minor injuries can hurt them a great deal, even if they don’t have a vocal injury.

Apart from injuries, macaws probably cannot speak since they have never encountered humans. Imagine if a human was raised by deer. The way they speak would differ from the way people speak.

In the first place, it’s all about your upbringing and communication abilities. For macaws to mimic our voice and speak like us, they need to be around humans. Therefore, we may find it difficult to understand why they cannot talk right away.

There is also a variation in how fast Macaws can learn to speak. A Macaw who is shy may have a difficult time learning compared to other Macaws. Regardless, respect your Macaw’s learning abilities and do not overstep boundaries.

Best Talking MacawsAverage Talking MacawsPoor Talking Macaws
Blue-and-gold MacawScarlet MacawHyacinth Macaw
Green-winged MacawMilitary MacawRed-fronted Macaw
Hahn’s MacawIlliger’s MacawYellow-collared Macaw
Severe MacawCatalina Macaw
Harlequin MacawMilitary Macaw

How to teach a Macaw to talk?

Like many parrots, macaws can learn to speak. You can teach your bird to repeat any word. Once it’s mastered, you can also try asking them a question or saying something. There’s nothing more fascinating and fun than teaching a macaw to talk.

  • Try to start with simple and single words like “Hi” or “Good”. It won’t take them long to begin imitating you.
  • When you’re around your bird, say the word you want it to learn. Slow down your voice to make it easier for your bird to hear you.
  • If possible, repeat the word several times with pauses in between each one.
  • When your friend makes any kind of sound, give it a treat.
  • At first, they may have difficulty pronouncing the word correctly.
  • Treat them right away if they make any sound. This motivates them to keep trying.
  • Repeat the process and reward your macaw. Provide treats and praise every time the bird imitates your words.
  • After your friend can consistently imitate the word, you can move on to the next one.
  • Associate words with actions or objects to put them into context. They will learn better if they see how the word they are imitating relates to something else.
  • For example, you can offer your friend an apple when you mention the word “apple. When you teach it “hello,” make sure you wave every time.
  • For longer sentences, first speak the whole sentence, like “How are you” I’m fine.
  • Whenever you encounter your bird, repeat this phrase several times.
  • Now, repeat the first part of the sentence “How are you? and wait for it to repeat the next part.
  • It is recommended that you repeat the process many times. When your macaw replies to your first part, reward it with a treat.
  • Apply the same process to other sentences.

How Long Does It Take A Macaw To Talk?

Macaws can begin talking anywhere between a few months and a few years. There is no way to predict exactly how long it will take for your Macaw to catch on. This is because the behavior varies greatly from bird to bird.

However, after you decide what to teach your Macaw, you’ll need to put some effort into it. Here are some factors to consider that may affect this timeline:


Some owners report that their macaws don’t talk for long periods. Some macaws don’t speak for two or three years.

With a macaw’s expected lifespan of around 80 years, they have plenty of time to learn. However, some macaws acquire this skill more quickly than others.

The difficulty of Word or Phrase

Some words and phrases are more difficult to learn than others. It can be challenging to teach them things that are incredibly long or not very clear. Often, people force their macaws to listen to music directly to learn songs.

However, macaws can only hum once they learn the notes. To make your parrot more comfortable, start with a simple word.


Although Macaws are intrinsically motivated to communicate, they may decide not to talk if it requires too much effort. Personality plays a big role in this. While some birds repeat everything you say, others just utter nonsense.

The majority of macaws simply learn for the pleasure of it, while others expect a reward for their efforts.


If you want your macaw to dedicate time and energy to speak, make sure it’s healthy. Clean cages and plentiful food are not the only things that contribute to the well-being of pets.

Ensure that their environment is fun and enriching. Macaw’s minds need a lot of stimulation to remain sharp.


In terms of training, ten sessions in an afternoon differ greatly from ten in a year. Learning a word requires repetition and consistency. There is no guarantee that your parrot will understand a word that you rarely use.


Having little contact with your macaw will likely make them dislike you. Make sure you cultivate a healthy relationship with your Macaw if you want him or her to train with you. Get to know them and treat them with kindness.

Screaming or hurting your bird is not okay. They may not wish to speak with you if they become afraid of you.

Is a Macaw able to understand what it is saying?

The macaw is an extremely intelligent bird, but it cannot speak naturally like humans. With a little practice, macaws can be trained to associate certain objects with specific words. But it will be like training an animal to obey.

They possess a higher level of intelligence than the average fish or frog. Nevertheless, they will not be able to speak fluently with you.

Can a Macaw learn a lot of words?

There is no comparison between macaws and humans. Humans are capable of learning millions of words and phrases, so their vocabulary is unlimited. The vocabulary of macaws, however, is limited.

The maximum number of words they can learn is 300. However, macaws also communicate through body gestures, so limited vocabulary is not an issue for them.

Which species of macaws are best for talking?

 A blue-and-gold macaw can learn words easily and is a very good talker.


At the end of this topic, we can conclude that macaws can talk. They belong to one of the species of parrots that are an excellent speaker.

They can learn a lot of words and will entertain you and your family. But don’t expect them to speak like humans. They can talk but with certain limitations.


  • Ali Shahid

    Ali Shahid is a veterinarian by profession and an animal lover. He loves to give expert opinions about different animals. He has worked in top organization of birds like Bigbird Feed and Poultry Research institute. He loves birds, especially parrots and has great experience in different parrot farms.

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