Can Crows Talk Like Parrots? (How Do They Communicate?)

An American crow talking on the tree

The question of whether crows can talk like parrots has intrigued many. While it’s well-known that parrots can mimic human speech, the idea that crows might have the same ability raises some fascinating questions.

Crows can actually mimic words and talk, much like parrots. The reason why it’s rare is that crows are wild birds and aren’t kept as pets, so they’re less likely to interact with and mimic humans.

This article delves into everything there is to know about crows talking, exploring their mimicking capabilities, and how they communicate with each other. So keep reading if you want to learn more.

Can Crows Really Talk?

Two crows talk like parrots

Crows, known for their distinctive caws and sharp intellect, indeed have the ability to talk. However, this ability doesn’t come from them speaking like humans.

Instead, they have a unique organ called a syrinx that allows them to imitate various sounds. This syrinx functions in a way similar to our larynx, letting air pass through and producing sound.

While they don’t truly grasp human language, they’re adept at reproducing the sounds they encounter. Crows can talk and mimic words just like parrots.

Hence, when you hear a crow mimicking, it is not an attempt at communicating. They’re likely either mimicking for fun or trying to blend in with their surroundings.

Watch this video if you want to hear a crow talk:

This crow seems convinced he's a tiny human

How Do Crows Talk?

People often hear stories about crows talking like humans or producing other familiar sounds. But how do these clever birds create such amazing sounds?


Unlike humans, who use a combination of the larynx, lips, and tongue to produce speech, crows rely on their syrinx to generate various sounds.

The syrinx, a unique vocal organ only seen in birds, consists of two parts, each capable of producing sound independently. This means crows can produce two different sounds simultaneously.

By adjusting the tension, length, and position of the muscles and membranes of the syrinx, crows can create different pitches, tones, and volumes.

Brain Function

The brain of a crow is fascinating. Despite its small size, it’s packed with neurons, especially in areas related to memory and sound production.

This allows crows to learn and remember a wide variety of sounds. However, it’s important to remember that even though crows can mimic how people speak, they don’t understand it the way humans do.

Cognitive Abilities

Crows are some of the smartest birds in the world. These birds have shown the ability to solve problems, use tools, and even recognize human faces.

This intelligence extends to their vocal behavior. Although they can’t communicate verbally, the ability of crows to mimic sounds is a sign of their superior cognitive abilities.

They observe, learn, and replicate sounds from their environment, showcasing their keen sense of hearing and memory.

How Do Crows Communicate With Each Other?

Two smart crows talking to each other

I once witnessed a change in a crow’s behavior as it reacted to a potential threat with its distinctive caw. The crow’s alertness and the way nearby crows reacted suggested a shared understanding of danger.

According to research, each individual crow has a distinct voice, much like people. This means that they can tell each other apart based on their sounds alone.

Moreover, their communication is wider than the familiar caw people often hear. They utilize a range of vocalizations, including caws, rattles, clicks, and coos.

Each sound has its own specific meaning, and other crows understand these nuances.

For instance, a series of gentle caws might be a greeting among family members, while a shrill caw could signal danger, urging others to come together to face a threat.

Additionally, young crows make clicking noises to catch their parents’ attention, and mated pairs can be heard making low-pitched rattles to call each other.

Overall, their complex ways of communicating show how advanced their social structures are, proving that crows aren’t just noisy birds but are intelligent communicators.

Do the Number of Caws Mean Something?

Crow producing sounds while standing on dirt

Many experts have looked into this question, but it’s still unclear if the number of caws means anything at all. So, while it may seem like an important detail, its actual significance has yet to be determined.

However, the context in which crows caw is important. For instance, a crow may start to caw more frequently and louder when it spots a predator, warning other crows in the area that there is danger.

Moreover, the tone, pitch, and duration of each caw can also vary, adding layers to their communication.

Even though people might not understand every detail of the crow language, it’s clear that these intelligent birds have developed a sophisticated system of vocal communication.

So, the next time you hear a crow cawing, listen closely. They might be saying more than you think!

What Kinds of Crows Talk?

The American crow and the Fish crow are two of the most common crow species that are known to be able to talk. These types of crows mimic words fairly well.

That said, most crows and other corvids have the potential to learn and mimic human speech. Some are just naturally more skilled at it than others.

Crows are intelligent and stand out among talking birds due to their impressive memory. However, it’s essential to note that while they can mimic words, their pronunciation might not always be perfect.

Do Crows Know What They’re Saying?

American crow making sounds while resting at seaside

Crows have a remarkable ability to mimic sounds, which often makes people wonder if they actually understand the words they imitate.

While these clever birds can reproduce complex words and even sentences, it’s believed that they do not truly understand human language. Their mimicry is more about sound replication than comprehending the meaning behind the words.

However, recent studies have shown that crows are self-aware, much like humans. This suggests that even if they might not understand human speech, they definitely know what they’re saying to each other.

Can Crows Talk If You Split Their Tongue?

There’s a popular myth suggesting that if you split a crow’s tongue, it will learn to talk. Not only is this belief not true, but it is also cruel and pointless.

Crows, like other birds in the corvid family, can mimic sounds naturally, and causing them harm doesn’t improve this ability. In fact, crows cannot use their tongues in their vocalizations the way parrots and humans do.

Splitting their tongue will only make it hard for them to eat and jeopardize their overall well-being.

Can You Teach a Crow to Talk?

Woman trying to talk to a crow

It is possible to teach a crow to talk, but doing so would be extremely difficult unless the crow was kept as a pet. For this to work, the bird needs to be constantly exposed to the words you want to teach it.

Here are some tips on how you can train a crow to speak like a human:

  • Start early: Young crows learn better. Just as parrots talk more fluently when trained young, crows can speak better when exposed to human voices early on. The earlier you start teaching a crow how to talk, the better it learns.
  • Consistency is key: If you want the crow to say specific phrases or words like hello, repetition is crucial. The more they hear, the better they mimic.
  • Positive reinforcement: When the crow mimics or tries to talk, reward it with treats or praise. Positive reinforcement encourages the bird to talk more.
  • Environment matters: Crows also need a conducive environment. Those frequently in contact with humans are more likely to mimic human speech without trouble.
  • Diverse sounds: While crows can mimic what people say, they can also reproduce other sounds. Challenge them with different noises to see what they can replicate.
  • Practice makes perfect: Training any talking bird, like crows and parrots, requires patience. Regular sessions ensure the crow retains and practices the sounds and learns to talk better.

Training a crow to talk can be a challenging task. But with patience and consistent training, these intelligent birds can surprise you with their mimicry skills.

Can All Crows Be Taught to Talk?

Crows are excellent communicators and can definitely learn how to talk and mimic human voices. But not all crows seem to be equally proficient at this skill.

These birds are naturally shy and often prefer to avoid contact with humans. So, they may express a stronger instinct to flee than to learn new words from people.

Moreover, it’s important to note that while these birds can be taught to say the words, crows don’t engage in conversation and truly talk like humans do.

Nonetheless, human exposure and training will play a crucial role if you have a crow and want to teach it to talk. With proper training and positive reinforcement, crows can be taught to mimic human speech.

Younger crows might be more receptive to learning, but with patience, even adult crows can learn and mimic words and phrases.

Why Have You Never Seen a Talking Crow?

Two crows on white background

Now that you know that crows can talk like parrots, you may wonder why you’ve never seen one before. One of the main reasons for that is their natural behavior.

Since crows are not always close to humans, they have fewer opportunities to learn to mimic human speech.

Furthermore, unlike parrots, crows are more wild and elusive. Even if crows can mimic human speech, they might be more interested in escaping than showcasing their vocal talents around humans.

Are There Other Birds That Can Talk Like Parrots?

There are several other birds that also share the same talents as talking parrots. Corvids, such as crows and ravens, can produce sounds strikingly similar to human words.

Other birds that can also talk include blue jays, mynas, starlings, magpies, lyrebirds, mockingbirds, and jackdaws.

Even though these birds can’t talk in the way that people do, they are very good at mimicking the speech of humans, showcasing the variety of vocal talents found in the bird kingdom.

Frequently Asked Questions

Two crows communicating with each other

Can Crows Imitate Human Speech?

Crows are very intelligent and have the ability to mimic sounds, including some human words.

However, their ability to mimic human speech is relatively limited. This is because crows use their syrinx to produce sounds, unlike humans, who utilize their lips, tongue, and teeth.

Do Crows Understand Human Language?

While crows mimic human speech, they don’t understand the meaning of the words or when to use them. However, a recent study suggests that crows can tell the difference between different human languages.

They may not understand the meaning of words, but their changing behavior when exposed to foreign speech shows that they are aware of it, perhaps as a defense mechanism.

Can Crows Mimic Voices?

Crows have an impressive ability to mimic various sounds, including distinct voices. This mimicry includes tones, rhythms, and even certain vowel-like sounds.

While they may not achieve the same level of clarity and precision as parrots or some other birds, they can produce sounds resembling human speech.

So, if you’ve ever wondered if a crow can imitate your voice or the voice of someone you know, the answer is yes.

So, what do you think of crows that talk? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below. Feel free to ask questions, too!

Leave a Comment

You may also like