The Frontal Cortex

Bird Mimicry

As the proud owner of an African Grey Timneh who is preening herself on my shoulder right now, I thought my bird was adept at impersonations. Her name is Junebug (June to her friends), and she does a spot on imitation of the percolator, Windows startup jingle, blender (not so pleasant), and our cockatiel’s morning call. (She’s only six months old, and is still learning English. She’s very into babbling “Yeah” right now.) But June doesn’t compare to this native Australian bird…

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Comments

  1. #1 Rachel
    June 14, 2006

    Does anyone know if there are other animals besides birds that imitate human sounds? My dog is not a barker, but sometimes I wonder if her noises, which sound frighteningly like I did when I would whine as an eight year old girl, have become more human and talkative sounding. Keep in mind while reading this that I am not completely nuts. I am not talking about a labrador here. I have a fairly rare breed called Xoloitzcuintle (Mexican Hairless) and her deciding to sound like a whiny girl would only be one on a long list of her many bizarre qualities. Maybe she knows that I have a soft spot for whiny kids. Any ideas?

  2. #2 Crusty Dem
    June 15, 2006

    Great link, loved the video. The chainsaw was awesome – I would think that bird could mimic human speech with ease.

    Are you familiar with the stuttering research on song birds – it’s pretty fascinating – you can teach them to stutter by playing them repeated sounds of birds stuttering. I no longer repeat sounds multiple times to my children when they mispronounce something..