The 7 Smartest Parrot Breeds {With Pictures}

When you think about having a pet parrot to entertain you and cuddle with you when you are at home, consider the intelligence of the parrot you are about to buy/adopt. And as you know, the parrots family is enormous, and there must be differences in the intelligence levels across the whole family members. It’s a life norm, right?.

There are multiple breeds of parrots that are well known to have a high level of intelligence. Of course, it depends somewhat on the training the parrot got, and when he actually started the training, meaning the earlier the training better the results. So, if you are looking for the smartest parrot breed that can make a good pet, this list is for you.

And without further ado, here are the smartest parrot breeds.

7 Smartest Parrot Breeds

African Greys

smart african grey parrot

African Grey and without a doubt are the smartest parrot breed out there. Despite the lack of research parrots got, the African greys are the most researched among other breeds. The intelligence level of an African grey could reach the level of 5 years old human kid, the level is possible only by focused training.

Unfortunately, and despite African Greys being good pets, they actually require high levels of care, social interaction, stimulation, and they are prone to serious health problems. If you are a beginner seeking a pet parrot, this breed might not be a good choice for you. Here is my list of the best parrots for beginners and kids.


smart blue and gold macaw

If you excluded the ability to mimic human sounds and voices that African greys possess, you can find almost no difference regarding the intelligence between African grey and macaws. Macaws are highly intelligent parrots. They can learn tricks, play, and respond to commands.

Of course, they need proper training to reach this level, and they need a bond between them and the owner or the trainer, these parrots, and when they hate someone, they may bite, attack, and behave aggressively towards them. They can recognize people, they can ignore you or run from you if you have a terrible history with them, like beating them or mistreating them.

Are they good beginners? the answer is no, they need high care levels.


smart cockatoo

The Cockatoos are also from tier 1 regarding intelligence; they can be extremely smart, stubborn, and headstrong. Especially with strange people or who they hate. But for their chosen one, cockatoo can offer a lot of entertaining and cuddles. They are not the best choice for first-timers.

Compared to dogs and cats, cockatoos are more like cats than dogs. If they are not interested in playing or cuddling, they may attack and bite you. Basically, you can not force them to do something they don’t want. Little Cockatiels also fall under the cockatoo category, and they are one of the most playful parrots. They are also an excellent choice for beginners.


smart budgie

Believe it or not, Budgies possess a remarkable ability to speak and imitate human sounds. Besides that, Budgies are a highly intelligent parrot breed. They can be very playful, they can learn to do some tricks and provide you with long times of entertainment.

However, budgies are a highly sensitive breed. Any sudden movement or sudden noise like thunder can kill them easily out of shock.

Although they don’t like touching or cuddling, they can make a very rewarding pet for beginners.

Apart from that, the male individual’s ability to talk can thrive to huge extents only with proper training g from younger stages of their lives. Unlike bigger parrots, I would put budgies under the tier 2 category regarding the intelligence level.

Amazon Parrots

smart amazon parrot

Amazon parrot is a big family that has 30 different subspecies, not all of them can make a good pet, at least if you can find all 30 types of this family. A lot of members within this family are hard to find, and in captivity, you can find 6 subtypes of this breed.

Double yellow-headed (Amazona oratrix), Blue-fronted (Amazona aestiva), yellow-naped (Amazona auropalliata), white-fronted (Amazona albifrons), Red-lored (Amazona autumnalis), and orange-winged amazon (Amazona amazonica).

These breeds have a dominant greeny color on their bodies, and they are all smart and possess the same level of intelligence. Amazon parrots are famous for having an exceptional ability to talk, and when compared to other breeds, they are the second after the greys.

These parrots are highly trainable, and they will get the idea so quickly, especially if you begin the training from a younger age.

This breed is highly adaptive, and they can live almost in every place, bug houses, small apartments are all good for them. Because of the need for mental stimulants, these parrots are very curious and it’s normal for them to be outgoing and explore their surroundings to look for new toys or something funny that will keep them busy.

They can adapt and do very well in captivity if you can provide them with entertainment. When feeling bored, they can be very noisy and destructive. And without a doubt, I will put them within the tier 1 category regarding intelligence.

Quaker Parrots

smart quaker parrot

The little quaker breed is one of the highly intelligent parrots, and they bond with one family member. They can talk and mimic human sounds, and unlike most talking parrots, Quakers use longer sentences. They are social parrots, and they require an extensive amount of interaction from the owner.

They are prone to mental health problems like stress, depression, and feather plucking, especially if left alone for long time without a mate. These noisy parrots are from tier 2 regarding intelligence, and with proper training, they can learn many tricks, and provide long times of entertainment.

Senegal Parrots

smart senegal parrot

The confidence and the quiet Senegal parrots are one of the smarter parrot breeds out there, they are a very playful and calm breed, they can make a good family pet, as they don’t require a lot of attention compared to other parrots.

This breed has a good level of talking ability and can memorize dozens of words, but it will thrive more likely after proper training, and unlike other breeds, they don’t screen and talk more often.

Recommended Further Reading:
Best Talking Parrot Breeds
The Most Expensive Parrots
Most Popular Parrots

Which Bird Has The Highest IQ?

African greys are the birds with the highest IQ. This claim is not a personal conclusion, but it’s actually a result of 30 years of research by Dr. Irene Pepperberg. She concluded that African grey parrots possess the intelligence of a 5-year-old human kid; she stated that Alex, the African grey has asked about what is his color was; the question was after he recognized himself in front of a mirror.

Alex could express his feeling, and desires using words, and this was questionable by the scientists until Alex and Dr. Irene Pepperberg proved it to be right.

Are Parrots Smarter Than Dogs?

Mammals such as Apes, dogs, and many more are more intelligent than most parrots. But if you are talking about African grey, this could be wrong. Among all birds, parrots have the most efficient and developed brain, and among parrots breeds, African Greys are holding first place regarding the efficiency of their brains.

They actually can sense the state of mind of their owner, not to mention that African grey could train to be service animals to assist those with physical disabilities, or to provide emotional support.

How Intelligent Are AFRICAN GREY Parrots?

African greys are very intelligent and with proper training, they can understand commands, corporate with owners, do tricks, express their feelings and desires with simple words, can memorize up to 1000 words, and new researches find that African grey parrots can make a very efficient service animal just like dogs.


This list is based on my opinion, and I’m sure that some people will disagree with it, but in general, you should know all parrots are smart and they can be very funny and rewarding pets. Some of them are harder to train to do tricks. Sometimes it’s because they are not interested in the trick, so they will ignore it.

Other times it might be because of their old age, so they can not understand as young parrots do. And in this list, I tried to include the learning abilities across their lifespan, how easy to train them, and how cooperative they are.

I didn’t consider the talking abilities, and if I did, I would probably add the Indian ringneck and Eclectus parrots, as they both have a good level of talking ability.