Birds

5 weird ways birds communicate

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The Kea, a parrot endemic to New Zealand, loves to play. Keas love to play so much they have a special call that causes other keas to drop what they’re doing and start playing.

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The Palm cockatoo, native to northern Australia, beats out a tune with a stick to attract a mate. The big, black birds fashion small branches into suitable drumsticks and drum on tree trunks near females.

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Many songbird species, like happy wrens of western Mexico, duet with their mates. The two love birds sing song phrases back and forth with such precise coordination that, to the human ear, it sounds like one bird singing.

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Songbirds like robins or chickadees use alarm calls to warn about predators. These calls are often so specialized that they tell other birds what kind of predator is around and the best action to take (like flight or fight).

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Some birds, like the broadbill in East Africa, can “sing” with their feathers. The microscopic structures of their feathers allow the birds to beat their wings in a specific way to create a trilling noise.

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