Happy birthday! A parrot named Einstein just turned 30

The bird is a genius with a vocabulary of more than 200 words and sounds.

Albert Einstein is synonymous with being smart, so it comes as little surprise that people would name animals with a high IQ after the beloved genius. Indeed, Einstein has an enduring connection to the animal kingdom.

This week, one of those animals hit a milestone: Einstein, an African grey parrot who lives at a Tennessee zoo, turned 30 years old. The bird obtained her moniker because she knows more than 200 words and sounds.

In addition to her vast vocabulary, Einstein also does impressions – mimicking a red wolf, an owl, a rooster, a pig, a horse and even a crying baby. She also does comedy bits. For example, when the trainer asks her to fall down, she makes a long cartoon splat noise. Oh, and did we tell you that she sings opera, too?

Many years ago, when Einstein the parrot was still a teenager, she gave a TED Talk along with her trainer Stephanie White. It has been viewed more than a million times.


White uses a special sunflower seed every time Einstein correctly says a word or sound – which includes a "ho-ho-ho" Santa Claus laugh. Those who'd like to meet Einstein and see her in person can visit Zoo Knoxville and attend the twice-daily bird show, which also features Einstein's zoomates – African cranes and other birds of prey. For those who are celebrating a special day, Einstein can also sing "Happy Birthday" to you when you arrive.

Naming a smart parrot Einstein doesn't just happen at a Tennessee zoo. There's a Congo African grey parrot in Texas also named Einstein. He has a huge following on YouTube, where viewers can watch him pontificate for nearly a half hour at a time. His spot-on impersonation of Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey went viral.


A recent People magazine article had a battle of the birds to determine which of these two parrots – Tennessee Einstein vs. Texas Einstein – was smarter. "The interest in Einstein does not fade into history," Hanoch Gutfreund, the director of the Albert Einstein Archives at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, told From The Grapevine. "If one can say anything about this, the interest in Einstein increases with time. It's greater now."


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Related Topics: Albert Einstein, Animals

Happy birthday! A parrot named Einstein just turned 30
The bird at Zoo Knoxville is a genius with a vocabulary of more than 200 words and sounds.