Most of us regard crows as rather crude and uninteresting birds. It therefore comes as a shock to hear that crows may be capable of speaking like humans! This leads to questions like whether crows can indeed talk, and if yes, how they manage to do it. This article explores that subject.
Can crows talk? The answer is ‘yes’. Crows are capable of uttering some human words, and even forming simple phrases. They talk through the vocal organs known as syrinx. Their considerable intelligence enables them to mimic, master and remember some words.
Many of us have heard stories about ravens that talk. And this often causes some to wonder, how can ravens speak but crows can’t – yet they are alike in so many ways?
The true position, however, is that crows too can talk. By the way, ravens are also ‘crows’ – they are members of the Corvids family.
As for the common crows, it is just that they hardly have lots of contact with humans. Therefore they don’t have a chance to mimic human words.
However, when they have some contact with humans, crows often start mimicking human speech. Soon you find them ‘talking’.
For people who have never encountered birds that talk, the whole thing can understandably be hard to believe.
In fact, there are people who still wonder whether birds can talk at all. So that is where we should start our discussion.
Can Birds Talk?
Birds can talk.
You of course won’t find them engaging in intellectual debates. But they can learn some words, and even some simple phrases. So they can ‘talk’ in that sense.
The birds have vocal organs known as syrinxes, through which they are able to vocalize words.
It is on the basis of this that you sometimes find people asking, is it true that you can train birds like magpies and crows to talk?
So examples of birds that can ‘speak’ in this sense include parrots and ravens. In our discussion, we are trying to see whether crows belong in that list too.
Can Crows Talk?
Yes, crows can talk. It is possible to hear crows vocalizing simple words such as ‘hello’, ‘good morning’, ‘good night’, ‘bye bye’ and so on.
They are also capable of learning to form simple phrases.
At this juncture, someone may want more clarity on what language the crows talk in. So that leads to questions like, can crows speak human language? More specifically, can crows speak English?
The answer is that crows can indeed speak in human language. So when we are discussing about crows ‘talking’, we are indeed referring to them actually speaking human language.
Granted, the speech that crows vocalize in is not always very clear. But you can quite clearly make out what they are ‘saying’.
There are those who say that splitting a crow’s tongue will make it speak even better. Is it true if you split a crows tongue it can talk better? The answer is ‘no’. That is just a myth.
A crow can talk just as well with an intact tongue. Splitting a crow’s tongue is unthinkably cruel.
Can Crows Talk Like Parrots?
Most of the stories that most of us have heard about talking birds were with regard to parrots.
Thus when we learn that crows may be able to talk, we seek to know whether they talk in the same manner as parrots.
This leads to questions like, can crows be able to talk like parrots? Or, to take it further, can crows talk better than parrots, as some information sources claim?
The true position is that crows talk in the same manner as parrots. But parrots, being domestic birds, have more time to interact with humans. They therefore have a better chance to mimic human speech.
But with proper training, crows can talk at almost the same level as parrots.
Nonetheless, the shy nature of crows may make them somewhat less expressive than parrots.
Can Crows Talk Like Ravens?
Another bird that is said to have some ability to talk is the raven.
Naturally, upon learning about the crow’s talking prowess, some people want to know whether the latter can talk as well as the raven.
In terms of speech clarity, the common crow is almost at par with the raven.
But in terms of things like vocabulary, you often find the raven being somewhat better. A raven is able to master as many a hundred plus words…
Incidentally, we need to mention that in technical terms, ravens are also ‘crows’. This is because they belong to the Corvids family.
How Do Crows Manage To Talk?
There are three things that make crows capable of talking.
First is the fact that they have vocal organs known as syrinxes, through which they are able to utter words. These function like voice boxes, making the vocalization of fairly complex sounds possible.
Second is the fact that they have a high level of intelligence. This enables them to master some words (even phrases), and be able to remember them later.
Third is the fact that they are quite curious. This is what leads them to attempt mimicking human speech: in the process learning how to speak.
Incidentally, these three are also the things that make ravens capable of talking. Therefore if you were wondering, how can ravens or crows talk in human language, there is your answer.
Can Crows Talk To Each Other?
Crows can communicate with each other: but not using the human mode of speech.
They make rattles, clicks and other cues (including visual ones) to communicate with each other. But you normally won’t find them perched on a tree having a discussion in human language!
So, yes, crows can communicate with each other. In fact, they are quite effective at communicating and forming strong social bonds.
It is just that unlike human communication, crow communication is not based largely on words.
However well you train your crows to speak, don’t expect to find them holding a discussion in the human language you have taught them.
When it comes to communicating with each other, clicks, rattles and certain other nonverbal cues seem to be the main modes.
Can Crows Be Taught To Talk?
Upon learning that crows are capable of talking, the next question that most people ask is on whether they can actually teach the crows they interact with to speak.
So you find someone asking, can I teach wild crows to speak English? Or can you teach a crow to talk your vernacular language?
The true position is that you can teach crows to talk. It is a slow and painstaking process. But it can also be gratifying when you see your crows uttering words you (and others) can make sense of.
One has better chances of teaching a crow to talk if they first build trust with it. It also helps if you start teaching the crow when it is still quite young. And you need to be consistent and patient in your training.
Can all crows talk if taught? The answer is theoretically ‘yes’. But some may prove to be better learners than others.
The age at which speech training for any given crow starts is also relevant. Those whose training starts early will tend to talk better.
But yes, crows can be taught to talk.
Which Types Of Crows Can Talk?
Once people learn that crows may be able to talk, they often express interest in learning more on the subject.
That naturally tends to lead to a question on which types of crows can talk.
So, we need to start by asking ourselves, can some crows talk while others can’t? The answer may be ‘yes’, but it is not on account of the inherent inability of some crows to talk.
Rather, the crows that are unable to talk are simply those that haven’t had the chance to learn how to do so.
Crows that have greater contact with humans learn to talk better. That includes those in zoos, wildlife conservation centers and so on.
Yet what people are usually seeking to know is whether some types of crows they know can talk. For instance, can wild crows talk? And can pet crows talk? Can pied crows talk? What about black crows: can black crows talk and so on.
We thus need to look at some of those different types of crows, with regard to their ability to talk.
Can Pied Crows Talk?
The simple answer is ‘yes’. With proper training, pied crows can talk.
Pied crows usually have sufficient intelligence to learn how to talk. They are also curious enough to attempt mimicking human words, thus learning how to talk.
And they have syrinxes with which to talk.
So with proper training, pied crows may be able to talk.
Can American Crows Talk?
It is possible for American crows to talk.
Some talk better than others, depending on their anatomical features and depending on the training they receive.
But theoretically speaking, the American crows should be capable of talking.
Can Black Crows Talk?
Black crows are usually extremely shy and skeptical of human company.
However, if you manage to get one to trust you well enough, it may get to a point of mimicking what you say. It may thus eventually start speaking.
So in simple terms, it is possible for black crows to talk. The only challenge may be in getting one to trust you well enough to start taking speaking lessons from you.
Can Carrion Crows Talk?
Carrion crows have the three things that are essential for learning how to speak.
Firstly, they have syrinxes, through which they can utter words.
Secondly, they have adequate intelligence to learn words and commit them to memory.
Thirdly, they have a curious nature: strong enough to endeavor to learn mimicking human words.
On account of these, it may be possible for carrion crows to learn how to talk.
Can Australian Crows Talk?
There are people who seem to have managed to train Australian crows to talk. This means that with proper training, Australian crows can learn to talk.
It is just that, as with any other types of crows, training them to talk takes effort and patience.
But the bottom-line is that Australian crows can talk.
How Do You Teach A Crow To Talk?
The first step is to create a reasonably strong bond of trust with the crow. Most crows are distrustful of humans. You need to get it to trust that you are not harmful to it.
The next step is to start teaching it simple words. You just repeat a word until the crow masters it and repeats it after you. Then you reward the crow for learning.
You can then advance towards somewhat more complex phrases.
Just make sure you repeat a word or phrase so often (and enthusiastically) that the bird eventually masters it and commits it to memory.
Final Verdict – Can Crows Talk
It is possible for crows to talk.
Crows have organs known as syrinxes, through which they are able to vocalize words. Their high intelligence also makes it possible for them to master and remember some human words.
Crows learn to speak by mimicking human words. They may not understand the meaning of the words they speak. But they are nonetheless able to master the pronunciations.
With proper training, crows can get to a point of speaking almost as well as parrots.
Before starting to train a crow to talk, you first need to form a bond of trust with it. Then start with simple words, before moving onto harder ones and simple phrases…
You need to reward the crow for the progress it makes while learning how to speak. This should motivate the crow to learn to talk even more and better.