His name is N’kisi, and he’s been getting a whole lot of press lately in scientific circles because of his huge vocabulary and his unique sense of humor. Instead of mimicking things he’s heard already, N’kisi goes right ahead and invents his own phrases to describe new ideas that he’s introduced to, and he even rocks the past and future tenses when he’s feeling fancy.
According to the BBC, N’kisi described perfume as “pretty smell medicine,” and commented on pictures of Jane Goodall with the very reasonable question, “Got a chimp?” The BBC article also reports on N’kisi’s sense of humor:
He appears to fancy himself as a humourist. When another parrot hung upside down from its perch, he commented: “You got to put this bird on the camera.”
Kind of amazing.
On a slightly sadder (and perhaps inevitable) note, the story immediately made me think of the countless African Gray parrots like N’kisi who are sold in stores like PetSmart and destined to spend their incredibly long lives in captivity, without much stimulation beyond the occasional “Pretty Polly” comment through the cage bars. Which, well, is just really depressing. … Soooo, instead of ending this entry on such a depressing note, here’s a completely unrelated video of a trapped deer being blown to safety by a helicopter. Hooray!