Parrots mimic the calls of others in order to "start a conversation", according to scientists.
Researchers observed the behaviour of orange-fronted conures: parakeets found from western Mexico to Costa Rica.
The scientists found that the birds responded faster and more frequently when other birds imitated their calls.
The authors suggest that the parrots may have developed their impressive mimicry to be able to address individuals within a flock.
The findings, by Dr Thorsten Balsby from the University of Aarhus, Denmark, and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, are published in the journal PLOS One.
According to Mr Balsby, the research was inspired by a previous study that suggested that spectacled parrotlets (Forpus conspicillatus) use different calls to effectively "name" individuals in a flock.
But in the wild the orange-fronted conures (Aratinga canicularis) live in what researchers describe as "network environments" - dynamic flocks with multiple birds calling simultaneously.
"Such a naming system would probably not work, as each individual potentially encounters hundreds of birds on a weekly basis," explained Dr Balsby.