Wild birds copy pet 'language'

2011-09-14 12:38

Sydney - Australia's parrots are picking up the lingo of their caged cousins, an Australian naturalist said on Wednesday.

The cockatoos, galahs and corellas that roam Sydney are copying the "Hello Pollys!" and the "Who's a pretty boy, then?" that caged birds were taught before they flew the coup, the Australian Museum's Martyn Robinson said.

"Not whole flocks are doing it but when escaped birds rise up in the pecking order the lower-ranking ones start copying them," he said.

And not all escaped pet parrots were enriching the avian soundscape, he said, "because no one wants to copy a loser". Lower-ranked birds were not passing on their accomplishments.

Robinson also plotted the emergence of mixed flocks - little corellas, for example, teamed up with sulphur-crested cockatoos - as birds moving to the city to escape drought in the countryside formed new alliances.

"There's safety in numbers and, over time, they usually sort themselves out and get back in with birds that look like them."

Birds are not bird-brained after all, Robinson said.

"These birds are very smart birds and very social, and communication and contact between them is important."

  • daaivark - 2011-09-14 14:43

    One has an involuntary image: Flocks of parrots buzzing the outback: "Where's the beer, Sheila?"; "What're you doing out of the kitchen?".

  • Rightbydan - 2011-09-14 15:54

    Flew the COUP eh?

      daaivark - 2011-09-15 07:48

      HE HE HE.

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