What’s my name? How wild parrots identify their young

African Grey Parrot Psittacus erithacus

Sunanda Creagh, The Conversation

Wild parrots name their chicks by teaching them an individual sound to identify them, researchers have found.

It’s not just humans and #dolphins that use unique sounds to connect with their young. #Parrots also teach their chicks unique sounds so that they can identify their mothers. #Boycott4Wildlife to protect them!

Humans and dolphins create unique sounds by which individuals are identified and there was some evidence to suggest captive parrots created ‘contact calls’ – special calls used to identify family and friends. But until now, it was not clear how or if this naming process worked in nature.

To test whether contact calls were innate or learned from parents, researchers from Cornell University and the University of California in the U.S. took eggs from the nests of wild green-rumped parrotlets (Forpus passerinus) and swapped them with eggs from other wild wild green-rumped parrotlet nests. Twelve nests were used in the swapping experiment.

Eight additional nests served as controls, where the eggs were removed but then put back without swapping.

By observing the chicks’ development through video and audio rigs, the scientists saw that the young parrots used the contact calls of their adoptive parents.

A study of green-rumped parrotlets found that adopted chicks use the names given to them by their foster parents, suggested naming is learned rather than hard-wired. Flickr/barloventomagico

This suggests that the names used to identify them were learned, rather than hard-wired by DNA from their biological parents, the authors said.

“Our results provide the first experimental evidence for learned vocal production by naive parrots in nature. Nestling contact calls were more similar to the contact calls of their primary care-givers than to adults at other nests, despite half of the nestlings being raised by foster parents,” the authors wrote in their paper, which was published by the journal Proceedings of The Royal Society B.

Sunanda Creagh, Editor, The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published by Palm Oil Detectives

Hi, I’m Palm Oil Detective’s Editor in Chief. Palm Oil Detectives is partly a consumer website about palm oil in products and partly an online community for writers, scientists, conservationists, artists and musicians to showcase their work and express their love for endangered species. I have a strong voice for creatures great and small threatened by deforestation. With our collective power we can shift the greed of the retail and industrial agriculture sectors and through strong campaigning we can stop them cutting down forests. Be bold! Be courageous! Join the #Boycott4Wildlife and stand up for the animals with your supermarket choices

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: