Like all birds, crows can communicate vocally with each other through different sounds. The caw, click, and rattle sounds are perhaps the calls you will hear the most.
But can crows talk? Can they be taught to mimic human speech? The answer is yes. Crows can definitely talk and mimic human voices if you teach them how to. This is because these blackbirds have vocal cords like parrots called the syrinx, enabling them to vocalize words. On top of that, crows are exceedingly intelligent birds with an excellent memory.
So, how do you train an American or pied crow to talk? You will find the answer in this guide and everything you want to know about crows talking.
Can Crows Talk? Can They Be Taught To Mimic Human Speech?
The answer is yes. Crows are brilliant birds that can talk and be taught to mimic different speeches, especially when kept as pets. Even better, these blackbirds can learn to impersonate the alarm calls of other birds and say words like hello. This is common with all types of crows, such as:
- American crow
- Fish crow
- Northwestern crow
- Pied crows
- Australian crows
- Carrion crow
But how is this possible? Like parrots, crows have a vocal organ called the syrinx, located at the bottom of their trachea. This organ, together with the throat muscles, enables different crow species to mimic human speech with the same tone. But unlike humans, these songbirds have two voice boxes, syrinxes, allowing them to make at least two sounds simultaneously.
Now, you might wonder, how exactly do crows talk or communicate in the wild with each other? Well, all types of blackbirds can talk by making different alarm and contact calls, including:
- Rattling or clicking
Crows use these common sounds to communicate in the wild, which humans find complex to interpret. But if you hear a crow cawing, it is to alert other birds of impending danger. As for rattling or clicking sounds, these birds will make such contact calls when interested in someone, something, or another bird.
Since it is possible to teach an American or common crow to mimic a human voice, how do you do it? Here is how to go about it.
Step 1: Build Trust
Before you teach your American crow to mimic your speech, you must get the bird to trust you first. In other words, you should make the bird associate you with a positive thing like a treat.
Step 2: Choose The Right Words
Songbirds will quickly learn to say common words that are short and spoken regularly. So, you must avoid complex phrases. You could start with words like hello, bye-bye, your name, and I love you, among others. Just make sure to say these words to your adult crow loudly and with a positive or happy tone.
Step 3: Repeat The Word Many Times
Once your feathered friend has mastered some words, make sure to repeat these words regularly. This is because crows learn to mimic human language through repetition. So, repeating the phrases is the most certain way to encourage your blackbird to talk. Here is a video of how to do it:
Step 4: Reward The Crow
Like training other animals, you must reward your crow every time it pronounces words correctly. This will encourage the bird to want to learn more. Depending on the crow’s favorite food, you could give it treats like chocolate, avocados, and other fruits.
Also read: Are Crows Nocturnal?
Can Crows Chat The Same As Parrots?
Yes, these songbirds can learn to talk and mimic words just like parrots if they have close access to humans. This is because, like parrots, crows also have a syrinx, a vocal organ for birds that enables them to mimic different human sounds. Not to mention, crows are brilliant birds.
However, you should not expect an American crow to mimic with the same fluency as a fish crow. This is despite offering them the same training.
But can these species of birds communicate better than parrots? No. This is because crows lack daily exposure to humans like parrots, which are captive birds. Therefore, these social birds have fewer chances to learn how to speak from humans than parrots.
Another reason why pet crows cannot talk better than Blue-fronted amazon parrots is because of their tongue. A parrot’s tongue is relatively large, muscled, but very flexible compared to that of a crow. Therefore, parrots can use their tongue to create vowel-like human sounds, unlike crows.
How Do Crows Talk To Each Other?
Crows don’t talk to each other. What they do is communicate with a wide variety of sounds or movements. Generally, the most common sounds you hear include caws, rattles, coos, and clicks. And each of these medium calls has its unique meaning.
However, one sound can mean different things based on the energy a crow puts in it and the number of repetitions. For instance, crows can make three caws to warn other corvids of a potential predator. In some cases, they can make the caw sounds four times or more to keep other birds away from their territory.
On the other hand, when crows are in a friendly conversation with each other, you will hear them make rattling or cooing sounds. They will also make rattle calls to other corvids when happy. Crows will also coo to attract mates during courtship.
Can Crows Speak The Same As Ravens Or Better?
The answer is yes. These birds can speak in a corresponding manner as ravens by repeating words they pick up. This is perhaps because both bird species belong to the same family called Corvidae. Besides, just like crows, ravens have a voice box that allows them to mimic nearly anything in their surroundings.
So then, do all blackbirds speak better than the ravens? No. While these two birds are exceedingly intelligent, ravens are more brilliant than pet crows. Therefore, ravens can learn the speech of humans faster and fluently when in captivity than crows and some parrot species. Ravens can also master more words.
Do Crows Know What They Are Saying?
Unfortunately, no. Crows are very good at talking and mimicking different human sounds and words. They will repeat phrases they hear through their human interactions without understanding their meaning.
That said, you can teach your blackbird to comprehend some words like how to ask for food and morning greetings. Your crow may also understand phrases like bye-bye, hello, and night-night, including when to use them. Unfortunately, this could take a long time.
Can Crows Speak If You Split Their Tongue?
No. This is merely a myth. You can teach a crow how to mimic human speech without splitting its tongue. This is because crows and larger birds use syrinx to create different sounds. Besides, cutting the tongue of a crow or any other animal is brutal and may result in death due to excessive bleeding.
Why You Have Never Seen A Talking Crow
First, it’s against federal law to keep crows as pets in the United States without a valid permit. That said, the law temporarily allows you to keep an injured, sick or orphaned crow after acquiring a federal permit. Generally, you will see crows in open environments where they hardly ever interact with humans because they are shy birds.
Because these wild birds have little contact with humans, they usually have difficulty picking up many words to imitate. This is compared to the likes of parrots which are commonly kept as pets. For this reason, it is uncommon to see a crow that can talk unless it’s in captivity, like in a wildlife park.
Can crows speak English?
Crows cannot speak English or any human language. While they are intelligent and communicate with a wide range of calls and sounds, they do not have the physical ability to produce human-like speech. While there have been isolated cases of captive birds learning to mimic certain sounds or words, this is not the same as speaking a language with the same complexity and nuance as human speech.
The idea that crows can speak English or any other human language is a common myth that has been perpetuated in popular culture. While there have been isolated cases of captive birds learning to mimic certain sounds or words, this is not the same as speaking a language with the same complexity and nuance as human speech.
While it is true that some videos on YouTube depict crows mimicking human speech, it is important to note that this is a rare and isolated occurrence. These videos often feature captive birds who have been trained or conditioned to mimic certain sounds or words, rather than speaking with the same complexity and nuance as human speech.
Despite this, these videos can be fascinating to watch and offer a glimpse into the remarkable intelligence and adaptability of these birds. Check out the following videos to see some examples of crows mimicking human speech:
While these videos are certainly entertaining, it is important to remember that they do not represent the norm for crow behavior. Most crows communicate with a wide range of calls and sounds that do not resemble human language.
In this section, we will respond to commonly asked questions about teaching crows how to talk and mimic human language.
No, because crows are only good at mimicking human speech and everything else they hear. However, if you teach these birds how to talk while in captivity, they will speak to humans. For example, they might greet you, tell you night-night, or bye.
Yes. Hello is one of the most straightforward words to teach any crow, including the American and fish species. However, some crows will say this word without understanding what it means. Also, some bird species may say the phrase with better fluency than others.
All crow species can talk, whether it’s a fish crow, carrion crow, pied crow, fish crow, Australian crow, or Northwestern crow. Of course, with proper training. This is because they all have the syrinx vocal box. However, some can speak better than others.
Related: Crow Vs Blackbird
Thanks to their high intelligence level and ability to vocalize words, anyone can teach crows to talk and mimic human voices. The important thing is getting these wild birds to trust you before training them to talk. You also must reward them every time they repeat a word correctly.
And with the proper training, you can get these blackbirds talking like parrots or ravens. After all, crows talk to each other, although it is difficult for humans to comprehend their language. However, you don’t need to cut their tongue in half to make them talk better than parrots.