Einstein can bark like a dog, oink like a pig and beep like a spaceship. The African gray parrot also sings.
Now, just in time for an appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," Einstein has learned how to say "Yee-haw!"
Einstein, a star at the Knoxville Zoo's Bird Show, is known to viewers of the Animal Planet cable network and is a favorite with children when her trainers take her to local schools. She has even traveled with Knoxville tourism officials to help sell out-of-town organizations on the idea of scheduling a conference in the city.
"Usually if there's a camera and microphone, she's a ham," said trainer Stephanie White, who will accompany Einstein for the scheduled appearance tonight with Leno.
White taught Einstein to say "Yee-haw!" after using Tennessee as the cue word. The zoo's group of bird trainers reinforced the word by repeating it all day so Einstein would hear it. She also gets a sunflower seed when she says it.
Einstein's vocabulary ranges between 70 and 80 words, phrases and sounds.
Einstein was donated to the zoo in 1992. She is a Congo African gray, a subspecies noted by a row of red feathers in her tail.
African gray parrots are among the best talkers and most intelligent of birds, but not every gray is like the 18-year-old Einstein. Some people have been so floored by the bird's abilities, they've said the trainers are really just ventriloquists.
"Some see in person and don't believe," said bird trainer Erin Gray.
Einstein has mimicked all kinds of sounds after hearing them, like dripping water from a faucet.
One day she started singing "Happy Birthday" while riding in a car on the way to a show-and-tell.
"We don't know where that came from," White said.
"The Tonight Show" staff found out about Einstein by watching a tape from "Pet Star," a pet tricks contest show on Animal Planet. A clip of her performance can be downloaded from the Animal Planet Web site, where the parrot is among the top vote-getters in a poll for favorite performance.
Einstein stood on a perch and placed her beak on top of a black microphone about the size of her head so everyone could hear her speak.
She chirped, hooted, cockle-doodle-dooed and whispered.
"How about evil?" White said.
"Whah-ah-ah," Einstein bellowed.
And for the finale, White asked the bird, "Are you famous?"
In a wispy voice perfect for Hollywood, Einstein crooned, "Superstar."