Do African Grey Parrots Like Music? What Kind of Music Do They Like?

Music has the power to move us—to make us dance, sing, or even shed a tear. 

But have you ever wondered if our feathered friends, particularly the intelligent African Grey parrots, share this musical sentiment? 

Let’s find out if African Greys have a favorite tune to hum along to!

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    Do African Grey Parrots Like Music

    Do African Grey Parrots Like Music?

    African Grey parrots (Psittacus Erithacus) are among the most intelligent bird species. Their cognitive abilities often draw comparisons to those of young children. 

    Given their intelligence, researchers have been intrigued by their potential musical preferences.

    A study published in the journal “Applied Animal Behavior Sciences” in 2012 sought to understand these preferences. 

    Researchers exposed African Grey parrots to various musical genres. 

    The goal was to observe their reactions and determine if they exhibited any specific musical inclinations. 

    Based on the observations, it was evident that African Grey parrots do have a preference for music, albeit with specific tastes. 

    Let’s talk about the specifics of these preferences in the next section.

    Musical Preferences: What Do They Enjoy?

    The study on African Grey parrots’ musical preferences revealed distinct inclinations. When exposed to a variety of genres, their reactions were telling.

    Rock and folk music emerged as favorites. The parrots often displayed positive behaviors when these genres played. 

    They would bob their heads, move their legs, and even vocalize in a manner akin to “singing along.” 

    Rock and folk music emerged as favorites for African Greys in studies

    Such behaviors indicate not just passive listening but active engagement and enjoyment.

    Classical music had a calming effect. The parrots seemed more relaxed, with some even appearing soothed by the melodies. 

    This genre, with its intricate compositions and soothing harmonies, resonated well with the birds.

    Interestingly, when given a choice, the parrots exhibited individual preferences

    In a second experiment involving a touch-screen monitor, two parrots, Léo and Shango, were allowed to select between two songs. 

    Léo consistently chose “I Don’t Feel like Dancing” by the Scissor Sisters, while Shango favored “La Petite Fille de la Mer” by Vangelis. 

    Over a month, these selections were made over 1,400 times, underscoring their distinct musical tastes.

    So to summarize, while African Grey parrots undoubtedly enjoy music, their preferences are varied. 

    Just like humans, they have their favorites and genres they’d rather avoid.

    The Impact of Music on African Grey Behavior and Well-being

    Apart from the scientific studies conducted, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence that points to how African Grey’s love their music.

    Bird aficionados do not really need scientific journals to affirm what they have known all along – that the influence of music on their parrot extends beyond mere entertainment.

    Music is an important bonding tool between African Greys and their humans


    Using music as a bonding tool has proven effective among many African Grey owners. 

    When owners play or sing tunes that the parrot enjoys, it often leads to shared moments of joy. 

    The parrot might dance, sing along, or simply listen intently. These shared musical experiences foster trust and companionship.


    Training is another area where music can be beneficial. Positive reinforcement using a parrot’s favorite tune can motivate it to learn commands or tricks faster. 

    For instance, playing a preferred song as a reward for a performed task can encourage repetition of that task. 

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      Over time, the parrot associates the positive stimulus (music) with the desired behavior, making training more effective.

      Reducing Stress

      Therapeutically, music has a calming effect on African Greys. In unfamiliar or stressful situations, playing familiar tunes can help soothe and comfort the bird. 

      It acts as a distraction, reducing anxiety and stress. Classical music, with its harmonious melodies, is particularly effective in creating a serene environment.

      Music They Might Not Enjoy

      While African Grey parrots have shown a clear affinity for certain musical genres, there are specific types they might not favor. 

      One notable genre that consistently caused distress was electronic dance music (EDM). 

      When exposed to tracks from this genre, the parrots displayed evident signs of discomfort.

      Recognizing these signs is crucial for any parrot owner. A distressed parrot might scream or vocalize loudly in an agitated manner. 

      Physically, they might ruffle their feathers, exhibit rapid breathing, or even attempt to flee or hide. 

      Repetitive behaviors, such as pacing or biting cage bars, can also indicate distress.

      Another sign is a lack of engagement. 

      If a pet parrot that usually dances or sings along to music suddenly becomes still or disinterested, it might be an indication of their dislike for the particular track or genre.

      It’s essential for owners to be observant and responsive to these signs

      Continual exposure to music that causes distress can lead to long-term stress or behavioral issues. 

      Adjusting the musical environment based on the parrot’s preferences ensures their comfort and well-being.

      Make sure that your bird is engaged with the music you are playing

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Do parrots like human music?

      Yes, many parrots do like human music. Their reactions to music can be quite diverse, ranging from dancing and singing along to simply listening with apparent interest. 
      Different parrots have different preferences, much like humans. Some might enjoy classical tunes, while others prefer rock or pop. 
      However, it’s also worth noting that not all music is well-received by every parrot. Some genres or specific songs might cause distress or discomfort. 

      What kind of music do parrots like to listen to?

      Parrots have varied musical preferences, much like humans. Studies have shown that parrots can enjoy genres such as rock, folk, and classical music. 
      They often display positive behaviors, like dancing or “singing” along, when exposed to these genres. 
      However, not all music is universally loved by parrots. 
      For instance, electronic dance music (EDM) has been observed to cause distress in some parrots. 

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        How do you entertain African Grey?

        Entertaining an African Grey parrot involves a combination of mental and physical activities. 
        Offer a rotation of puzzle and foraging toys, play various music genres, and engage in conversations with your pet bird
        African Greys excel in vocal mimicry. They love to imitate human speech, so talk to them regularly. 
        Regular training sessions, interactive games, and daily social interaction are vital. 
        Ensure they have flight time outside their cage, diverse perches for climbing, and materials for safe chewing. 
        These measures keep them mentally stimulated and content.

        Do parrots have a sense of music?

        Yes, parrots do have a sense of music. Research, including the studies referenced above, has shown that parrots can differentiate between musical genres and even exhibit preferences. 
        They often respond to music by dancing, bobbing their heads, or vocalizing, indicating not just passive listening but active engagement. 
        Their reactions to different types of music, from enjoyment to distress, suggest that they have a distinct musical perception, much like humans.


        African Grey parrots, with their remarkable intelligence, have shown a discernible sense of music. 

        From bobbing to rock and folk tunes to finding solace in classical melodies, their musical preferences are as varied as ours. 

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          While they embrace certain genres with enthusiasm, others, like EDM, can cause visible distress. 

          Beyond mere entertainment, sound plays a pivotal role in their behavior, training, and well-being. 

          Recognizing their musical inclinations not only enriches their environment but also deepens the bond shared with their human companions. 

          To conclude, music is a universal language, even in the avian world!

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