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What sounds do greys make NATURALLY?


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Dear Folks,


I'm curious about this. I can find tons and tons of information about what good mimics they are. What I can't find is any info on what their vocalizations are when they're NOT mimicking.


We adopted an 8-year-old male CAG about two months ago. Elmo has an indeterminately large vocabulary; he's still trotting out an average one new vocalization every day or two.


Most are clearly human-related and identifiable, though sometimes it takes us quite a while. There was one creepy wail we labeled "haunted parrot." Finally figured out it was a small child squealing in play. Doesn't help that Elmo knows an insane assortment of sound effects.


The outraged squawks when we trim his nails and the wheezy chuff-chuff when he goes into mating dance mode are clearly "bird-speak."


Then there's stuff in between we can't tell. Some specific ones we've heard that we're curious about:


1) An unvoiced hiss or exhalation sound he makes when he's happy and excited.


2) A loud "crack" sound like hands clapping. Sometimes single, sometimes repeated. This is a vocalization, not a beak click.


3) A "pock-pock" (or "poi-poit") sound he makes when he's pleased.


4) A hoot (sounds a little in tone like an oboe) he makes when he wants attention. Sometimes single, sometimes repeated.


Anyway, I'd appreciate some enlightenment. Thanks!


pax / Ctein

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All this sounds familiar and I guess it is common vocalizations of the greys. And yours being a rehomed adult bird it is hard to tell what his vocabulary really is. I am not sure of what you are asking so I am going to leave this for someone else who knows more about this than I do.


Why don't you start a thread in the welcome room and introduce yourself so we will know a little more about you.:)

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Guest Monique

The only natural vocalization with which I am familiar is a peeping or squawking sound they make when being fed as babies. It is a demanding squawk and moves into a contented peep peep. From there they go into attempted mimicry of everything.


From the perspective of the wild I do not know. I looked in my book "The Alex Studies: Cognitive and Communicative Abilities of Grey Parrots" by Irene Maxine Pepperburg and this is what I found:

"Although very limited information existed on natural parrot vocalization in the 1970's, limited data suggested that communication within psittacine flocks might be mediated by complex vocalizations that were probably learned through social interaction with parents, flock members, or other organisms. [...] some parrot species used vocalizations to represent specific individuals in a flock [...] Later work provided evidence that some species had specific calls to alert flock members to the presence of predators [...]

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Guest briansmum

personally i think the only natural sound they make, except whe they are babies, is when they are scared or in danger, this would be the loud panick squak. other than that it would seem everything else is a mimic of/ based on a noise or sound they have heard.

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Since Dayo and the Clutch were around 10 weeks old, they have all made following sounds.


1) Little Peeps, varying in length and tone, when they want your attention.

2) Panting like a nursing baby that can't find it's nipple.

3) Squawks with different volumes

4) A clucking sound, that kind of reminds me of a chicken, but they do it when you pick them up and start giving them neck scratches for example ..like they are very happy and feel safe.

5. The famous Growl, very loud and alarming...even my dogs back off :-)

6. Somekind of clicks with their beaks when they seem to be very content.

7. Faint noises as the play or just stare at you..can't explain all the different variations.


I'm sure I have forgotten 1 or 2, but these are the main ones all 6 in the 2 clutches we were around made.


It seems as they age and start picking up sounds and vocabulary, these baby sounds tend to go away. At least from what I have seen on videos and descriptions posted on this Forum of sounds their Greys make when their older between 1 and 2 years old.<br><br>Post edited by: danmcq, at: 2007/09/04 15:43

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I think #2 in your list of sounds seems to be similar to the irritating sound that I referred to in my question last week. I firmly believe it is an attention-getting mechanism, but very, very annoying. Not sure I would call if a clap since when I clap, my bird says, "Go, Cubs!" I will be watching your replies to further investigate this.

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