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Species Psittacus erithacus
Known for Intelligent use of language

N'kisi is a grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) thought to exhibit advanced English talking skills and other abilities.


According to news reports and websites,[1][2][3][4] as of January 2004 N'kisi had a vocabulary of about 950 words and used them in context, frequently in complete sentences, had approximated verb forms to maintain the correct tense (such as saying flied when not knowing the past tense of fly), and did not depend on learned phrases to communicate his thoughts. N'kisi was shown as being supposedly capable of understanding photographic images, naming objects (within his vocabulary) appearing in a photo and inventing new terms for things he does not know words for by combining other words, like "pretty smell medicine" for aromatherapy oils. One anecdote recounted by the primatologist Jane Goodall says that, upon meeting her in person after seeing a photo of her, N'Kisi asked, "Got a chimp?"[5][6] It was claimed he demonstrated a possible sense of humor.


There is controversy about whether parrots are capable of using language, or merely mimic what they hear. However, some scientific studies—for example those conducted over a 30-year period by Irene Pepperberg with a grey parrot named Alex and other parrots, covered in stories on network television on numerous occasions[7]—have suggested that these parrots are capable of using words meaningfully in linguistic tasks.[8]

N'kisi also took part in a published scientific study of telepathic abilities conducted by Rupert Sheldrake and the parrot's owner Aimee Morgana. The researchers who conducted the study claim the results present a statistically significant indication of ability, while the study[9] has been criticized by skeptics.[10]

See also


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-09-16. Retrieved 2011-06-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-112560245.html[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-05-19. Retrieved 2006-05-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "BBC NEWS - Science/Nature - Parrot's oratory stuns scientists". 19 May 2006. Archived from the original on 19 May 2006.
  5. ^ "- USA WEEKEND - usaweekend.com". 5 February 2013. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2011-06-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Alex & Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence and Formed a Deep Bond in the Process: Amazon.de: Irene Pepperberg: Englische Bücher
  8. ^ "NSERC - Web Features - This Bird Is No Airhead: Scientist". 15 December 2007. Archived from the original on 15 December 2007.
  9. ^ "Society for Scientific Exploration - Journal of Scientific Exploration - Testing a Language-Using Parrot for Telepathy". 13 January 2008. Archived from the original on 13 January 2008.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-12-23. Retrieved 2012-10-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links

  • The N'kisi Project Page
  • Hear N'kisi Speak
  • Skeptic's Dictionary entry on N'kisi
  • A rebuttal to Skeptic
  • A rebuttal to the rebuttal to Skeptic
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