The parrot is famous for its talking powers. Some kinds are better at this than others, but most can be taught to talk a little. The best talker is the grey African parrot. It is a large bird, grey in colour, with black markings on the wings, and a red tail. When caught young and tamed, and carefully trained, these African parrots can talk a lot, for they are very quick at copying people’s voices and saying over again the words they hear. English sailors are very fond of parrots and often bring them home from their voyages. But a sailor’s parrot generally uses a lot of bad languages, for it listens to its master’s bad language. The common Indian green parrot can also be taught to talk, but it is not so clever as its African cousin.
There are many funny stories about parrots. One belonged a rich old lady who had one daughter, who, I am afraid, did 1st love her mother much, for she hoped she would soon die and leave her all her money. Sometimes when she was cross, this girl would say, “I wish the old lady would die!” The parrot heard this so often that it learnt the sentence off, and would say it when the old lady was there. She was very annoyed; and when the priest came to see her, she told him about it. The priest said, “Well, I have a very pious parrot that says only good words, and can even repeat prayers. I will send it over to your house, and then you can keep the two parrots together. Perhaps yours will copy mine, and learn to say nice things.” This was done, and the two parrots were put in one room in their cages. The old lady watched to see what would happen: but she was more annoyed than ever. For when her parrot said, “I wish the old lady would die!”, the priest’s parrot solemnly answered, “Lord, answer prayer!”
Though a tame parrot can talk, wild parrots can only make a harsh, screaming noise. Some kinds, like the macaw, have feathers of very bright colours-green and red and blue. Another kind, the cockatoo, is all pure white, with a yellow crest on its head.