Sat Sep 22, 2012, 09:01 AM
xchrom (108,903 posts)
Wild parrots name their babies | video
People who live with parrots know that they can mimic their human care-givers as well as many of the common sounds in their environment. Although such mimicry is delightful, it does raise the question of what purpose does vocal mimicry serve for wild parrots?
One proposed hypothesis for parrots' remarkable ability to mimic sounds in their environment is to develop and maintain social cohesion. For example, several species of wild parrots studied to date demonstrate the ability to readily imitate their flock mates' calls. This ability is important for psittacines: when an individual parrot moves from one locale to another, it learns the calls of the local parrot flock as part of forming a social bond with those birds.
But research in spectacled parrotlets, Forpus conspicillatus, went further: this research showed that each parrot has its own signature call -- a unique sound that is used only for recognising that particular individual (doi:10.1007/s002650050481). Basically, each parrot has its own name. Interestingly, similar to human culture, members of each parrot family have names that sound more like each other than like those for other parrot families. But how do young parrots acquire their special signature calls (their names)? Do they learn their names from their parents, or are they born knowing their names?
To answer to this question, Karl Berg, a graduate student in Neurobiology and Behavior at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, assembled a team of researchers and studied a wild population of green-rumped parrotlets, Forpus passerinus, in Guarico, Venezuela. Because this particular population has been carefully documented for decades, it provided an excellent opportunity to study the social dynamics of wild parrots.
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Response to xchrom (Original post)
Sat Sep 22, 2012, 09:27 AM
Ilsa (35,771 posts)
1. I've also thought about how people
frequently tend to give their children similar sounding names, like Gerard and Garrett (Rs and hard consonants, but both sounds for G) or Melissa and Lisa and Elizabeth (lots of S and short A sounds). To me, it makes it difficult for young children to differentiate their names when called, and makes al tired mom more likely to call the wrong name! LOL.