Study suggests that mobile apps can be used to enrich the lives of parrots

A recent study conducted by researchers at Northeastern University, including Rébecca Kleinberger and undergraduate Megan McMahon, has shown that parrots can indeed benefit from playing tablet games. The study involved a group of 20 pet birds, ranging from small species like green-cheeked parakeets to the world’s largest, the hyacinth macaw. All the birds had previous experience with touchscreens and participated in the study from their homes.

The parrots were taught to play a simple Balloon Pop-style game on Samsung Galaxy tablets, which required them to tap multi-colored target circles with their beaks and tongues. The game sessions lasted no more than 30 minutes each day over three months. Seventeen of the birds completed the study, while three showed disinterest or slight aggression during the training period and did not continue.

Parrot playing a game on an iPad
Parrot playing a game on an iPad

The game collected data on the birds’ touchscreen interactions, such as accuracy, tap locations and frequency, touch pressure, and drag rate. This helped the researchers evaluate how well existing touchscreen design principles for humans translate to parrots. The findings suggest that designing apps specifically for birds can make cognitive enrichment more accessible, which is crucial for their health and well-being.

After the study, caregivers reported that the experience was positive for their birds and that participating in the study was a great bonding experience. The research supports the idea that touchscreens can indeed enrich the lives of parrots.

Source:, Pet Syllabus, News Northeastern.

What are some other ways to enrich the lives of parrots?

Enriching the lives of parrots is essential for their mental and physical well-being. Here are some effective ways to provide enrichment for your feathered friends:

  1. Toys: Offer a variety of toys to keep them entertained, including foraging tools, chew toys, and puzzles.
  2. Diet Variety: Treat your parrot with fruits, vegetables, or nuts in addition to their regular diet.
  3. Space: Ensure they have enough space to accommodate their wingspan.
  4. Visual Stimulation: Create a visually stimulating environment with vibrant colors and objects.
  5. Auditory Enrichment: Play sounds or music that is safe and enjoyable for parrots.
  6. Social Interaction: Spend quality time interacting with your parrot; they thrive on social engagement.
  7. Environmental Enrichment: Change their surroundings occasionally to provide new experiences.

These activities not only prevent boredom but also encourage natural behaviors, helping to maintain a happy and healthy parrot. Remember, each parrot is unique, so it’s important to tailor enrichment activities to their individual preferences and needs.

RELATED: How dogs see things compared to parrots

How do I train my parrot to talk?

Training a parrot to talk involves patience, repetition, and positive reinforcement. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you teach your parrot to speak:

  1. Create a Comfortable Environment: Make sure your parrot feels safe and comfortable in its surroundings. A stressed bird is less likely to learn.
  2. Interact Regularly: Talk to your parrot frequently. Parrots are social creatures and learn through interaction.
  3. Start with Simple Words: Choose simple words or phrases to begin with, such as “hello” or “bye-bye”. Use them consistently in the appropriate context.
  4. Repeat Often: Repetition is key. Say the chosen word or phrase many times throughout the day.
  5. Use Clear Enunciation: Speak clearly and with the same tone each time, so your parrot can mimic the sounds accurately.
  6. Reward Attempts: Whenever your parrot attempts to speak or successfully says a word, reward it with treats or affection to encourage further attempts.
  7. Be Patient: Some parrots may take longer to start talking than others. Keep the training sessions short and enjoyable to prevent frustration for both you and your parrot.

Remember, not all parrots will talk, and some may prefer to mimic sounds or not vocalize much at all. Focus on building a bond with your parrot and enjoy the process of training, regardless of the outcome.

Sources: many including: YouTube, Wiki how, Pet Press, Parrot Essentials, Daily Mail,

RELATED: Woman became hysterical when her parrot flew away and now faces trial over £792,000 drugs haul

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Speciesism - 'them and us' | Cruelty - always shameful
follow it link and logo

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

At heart this site is about ANTHROPOCENTRISM meaning a human-centric world.

Post Category: Birds > parrots