parrot on branch
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
September 30, 2020 ·  3 min read

Parrots in wildlife park moved after swearing at visitors

Humans have always found parrots’ ability to “talk” and make funny noises entertaining. Recently, however, some parrots brought in to a British wildlife park used their talents to make rather unsavory comments. Five new feathered and chatty residents were removed from public viewing areas after the swearing parrots hurled insults at each other and guests.

Swearing Mouth Parrots Removed From Public Viewing

Five African Grey Parrots recently were given to the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park, each from different owners. (1) Eric, Jade, Elsie, Tyson, and Billy were all quarantined together before being moved into the main outdoor aviaries. Here park visitors could come and see them. (1, 2)

The birds, however, seemed to have picked up some nasty phrases that they liked to throw around the quarantine room. The staff hoped the swearing parrots would kick the habit once they were in a larger, outdoor space, however, this was not the case. (2)

“It just went ballistic, they were all swearing,” said the park’s chief executive Steve Nichols. “I get called a fat t**t every time I walk past.” (1)

Parrots in wildlife park moved after swearing at visitors
Elsie, one of the birds with a ‘unique vocabulary’
Image Credit: Lincolnshire Wildlife Park

While the birds may not know exactly what they are saying, they know the reaction it brings about. The more people gasp in shock or laugh, the more they do it. (2)

“With the five, one would swear and another would laugh and that would carry on,” he said. (2)

Many of the park visitors loved it and had no qualms about dishing it right back to the birds. Out of concern for the children at the park, particularly with a busy weekend coming up, they opted to move the birds and separate them into different colonies. (1)

“I’m hoping they learn different words within colonies – but if they teach the others bad language and I end up with 250 swearing birds, I don’t know what we’ll do,” Nichols explained. (2)

Not the First Swearing Birds

According to Nichols, taking in swearing birds is not uncommon. It happens three to four times per year. (1) This is because parrots mimic human words and sounds by modifying the air that flows over their syrinx, where the trachea splits into the lungs. (3) The birds best at imitating human sounds are (3):

  • Yellow Naped Amazons
  • Timneh Greys
  • African Greys

Essentially, they just mimic what they hear. If these come from a home where they hear exploitatives often, they will pick them up. (3)

Pandemic Parrots

Normally the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park has only one or two parrots in a fourteen-day period. When the pandemic hit and people were at home more with their birds, many decided that the animals deserved a bigger living space. (1)

This caused the park to experience a surge in parrot donations, seeing eight in just one day. (1)

A Park Full of Famous Birds

The five swearing parrots aren’t the first birds to become famous at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park. Earlier this year, Chico the Parrot went viral after he began entertaining guests with his own cover of “If I Were a Boy” by Beyoncé. He now has his own Instagram page where you can see videos of him singing along with some of his other musically gifted parrot pals. (2)

So while you won’t be able to see the swearing parrots at the park any longer, you can still expect a pretty great show.

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