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African Grey Parrot Wins International Talking Contest…and a Movie Role!

Eli DukeContests in which parrots and other birds are judged based on their appearances are a long tradition…but what about their other qualities? Participants in human beauty pageants are judged on both appearance and talent…and now, it seems, that parrots are as well in some contests.  Recently, an African Grey Parrot named Mishka won the World Wide Parrot Talking Competition – without having to reveal any “skin”!

Tough Competition

The contest, sponsored by Besttalkingparrot.com, attracted 60 talented parrots from points as widespread as Chile, Canada, Australia and Africa.  The winner, three-year-old Mishka, resides with her owner and family members in a small apartment near Johannesburg, South Africa. 

In addition the coveted title of “Best Amateur Talking Parrot” (is there a “Best Professional Talker”?), the clever bird was also awarded a new cage, a pile of toys and a starring role in a soon-to-be-released parrot-training DVD. Hopefully, other parrots viewing the DVD will be inspired to emulate her fine vocabulary and, as it has been described, “delightful accent” (please see video below).

A Lovable but Mischievous Neighbor

At home in South Africa, Mishka is the unofficial “mayor” of her apartment complex.  Despite continually fooling neighbors with cries of “Call the police!” and impersonations of wailing police sirens, it seems that she is loved (or at least tolerated!) by everyone.

A propensity for swearing, and even for directly insulting her owner, is blamed on the owner’s sons…unfortunately, teaching Mishka not to swear seems harder than teaching her to swear!   In Mishka’s defense, another favorite expression is “Oh, oh, I’m in trouble!”…so she may be trying to mend her ways.

Her longest phrase in “I want to go to the Kruger Park with Sterretjie” (Sterettjie is her favorite companion, a Ring-Necked Parakeet).

Mishka was acquired by her owner at age 3 months, and showed a propensity for speaking early on.  She responded very well to parrot-training CD’s – and soon she’ll be starring in one of her own!

A Sadder Note on African Grey Parrots

Despite have been bred regularly in captivity for some time now, surprisingly large numbers of wild African Greys are still illegally trapped and sold as pets.

Recent months have seen a spate of confiscations in Uganda and elsewhere, which makes one wonder just how many smuggled birds are escaping detection.  Even when birds are seized, enforcement problems abound…in one recent case, officials of the Democratic Republic of Congo actually returned over 500 confiscated parrots to dealers who were clearly in violation of the law (please see article below).

Further Reading

Video of Mishka in action

Conservation Setback for African Grey Parrots

African Grey Parrots decline Throughout Central Africa

African Grey Parrot Natural History  


African Grey Parrot image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Eli Duke

About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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