Wild parrots learn human language from escapees

From the Daily Telegraph in England:

Parrots teach wild birds how to talk

Wild flocks of birds have learnt how to talk by picking up phrases from pet parrots who have escaped or been released from their cages.

By Victoria Ward

7:08AM BST 15 Sep 2011

Naturalists revealed that birds such as wild galahs, sulphur-crested cockatoos and corellas have been heard chattering in the trees after picking up the technique from their domesticated counterparts.

Martyn Robinson, from the Australian Museum in Sydney, said: “We have had people call us thinking they are going mad or had something put into their drink because they’ve gone out to look at the flock of birds in their backyard and all the birds have been saying something like ‘Who’s a pretty boy then?’”

He said the household pets had picked up phrases from their owners before passing them on in the wild.

The words are being learnt by chicks and younger birds in the flock who tend to repeat what they hear.

Mr Robinson said Sydney was now home to many wild flocks which had fled the western regions of New South Wales during a decade-long drought and sought out areas which offered more food.

“They’ve decided to stay and even begun to breed in the city, and if a pet bird of their species escapes their cage or is released because their owner’s moving or whatever, they naturally join the wild flocks,” he said.

“These birds are very smart birds and very social and communication and contact is important between them.”

The retail-pet industry removes 38 million animals from rainforests each year: here.

Australia: Sydney-siders have been asked to assist in tracking sulphur-crested cockatoos using an iPhone app: here.

A sulphur-crested cockatoo named Snowball garnered YouTube fame and headlines a decade ago for his uncanny ability to dance to the beat of the Backstreet Boys. Now, researchers are back with new evidence that Snowball isn’t limited in his dance moves. Despite a lack of dance training, new videos show that Snowball responds to music with diverse and spontaneous movements using various parts of his body: here.

Galahs: here.

4 thoughts on “Wild parrots learn human language from escapees

  1. Pingback: Australia’s favourite birds | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Dinosaur brains and bird brains, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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