“You bloody fool”: Australian duck imitates human speech

·2-min read
"You bloody fool": Australian duck imitates human speech
"You bloody fool": Australian duck imitates human speech

It’s Quakers! An Australian duck imitates human speech. Scientists reveal audio of a bird saying ‘you bloody fool’. Read to know everything that the study reveals.

All about the talking Australian duck

All about the talking Australian duck
All about the talking Australian duck

An unusual audio clip reveals Ripper, a musk duck raised in the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve in the couth of Canberra repeating the phrase ‘you bloody fool’. Scientists from Australia and Leiden University in the Netherlands believe the phrase mimicked by the waterfowl is one that is used by caretakers. The study, conducted by Peter Fullagar from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. The biologist was accompanied by Carel ten cate from the Leiden University.

Additionally, another recording reveals Ripper mimicking sounds of the aviary opening and closing. Surprisingly both these imitations were a part of its mating display. ‘Acquiring vocalizations by learning them from other individuals is only known from a limited number of animal groups. For birds, oscine and some suboscine songbirds, parrots, and hummingbirds demonstrate this ability,’ reported the biologists.

According to the researchers, the duck is issuing sounds in repetitive series, similar to ‘whistle tick’ a characteristic mating display. ‘The whistle-kick consists of a non-vocal splash component produced by the feet hitting the water, followed by two distinct vocal components: a soft low-frequency sound followed by a much louder whistle,’ they explained.

What can research tell us?

Research such as this improves the human understanding of animals living in urban spaces. These findings also indicate that musk ducks have voice learning abilities comparable to other mimics like parrots, mynah, budgerigars, and European starlings. Moreover, another recent study shows cockatoos in Australia copying each other’s tricks. Additionally, the study supports the hypothesis that vocal learning did not evolve once with several losses but, in several groups independently.

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