A parrot talks by controlling the muscles in its throat and redirecting the airflow from its lungs in order to create tones, whistles and human sounds. Parrots are natural-born imitators, which allows them to mimic specific words and sounds they pick up in their environment. Parrots do not have vocal cords.

In the wild, many parrot species imitate the calls of their fellow birds. When parrots are kept as pets, they instinctively imitate the sounds of their owners. An interesting fact surrounding pet parrots is that they also pick up the dialects of their owners and can speak in specific accents. Parrots tend to imitate sounds and words that catch their attention. Shouting at a misbehaving parrot is not recommended, due to the fact that louder tones and sounds are easy for parrots to interpret and imitate.

The male budgie is known as the most talkative parakeet. Female budgies do not speak, but male budgies talk extremely fast and pick up on their owners' voices as well as voices and sounds that emit from televisions and radios. In addition to parrots, mynah birds and mockingbirds also imitate calls of their fellow birds and sounds they pick up in the wild.