Laughs, cries and deception: birds’ emotional lives are just as complicated as ours

Gisela Kaplan, University of New England July on the Northern Tableland, near Armidale in New South Wales, is usually the beginning of the breeding season and field observations start early. I sat and watched in freezing temperatures. The sun was just rising above the horizon of this 1000m-high plateau when through binoculars I saw aContinue reading “Laughs, cries and deception: birds’ emotional lives are just as complicated as ours”

For primates, having a mother helps them learn social skills

Carla Litchfield, University of South Australia Wild bonobos, like all Great Apes, spend long childhoods with their mothers, learning the skills they need to function as socially and emotionally stable members of their community. But orphaned bonobos at sanctuaries don’t have that kind of upbringing. Can they still learn the skills they need to getContinue reading “For primates, having a mother helps them learn social skills”

The why, what and where of the world’s black leopards

Sam Williams, Durham University A black leopard was recently spotted in Kenya’s Laikipia area by San Diego Zoo scientist, Nicholas Pilfold. Sam Williams, a conservation ecologist focused on African carnivores, asked Nicholas about the elusive cats. Where are black leopards found in Africa? There have been a number of reports of black leopard in Africa,Continue reading “The why, what and where of the world’s black leopards”

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

Sunanda Creagh, The Conversation Wild parrots name their chicks by teaching them an individual sound to identify them, researchers have found. 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 untilContinue reading “What’s my name? How wild parrots identify their young”

Rainbow Cliffs: Why Parrots in the Amazon Eat Clay

Our world holds a whole host of glorious natural spectacles, from great starling murmurations to the ethereal display of coral reef spawning. But to me, none is more thrilling than catching a glimpse of a majestic macaw. Screeching their way through the Amazon rainforest, leaving scattered fruit, broken branches, and a considerable quantity of parrotContinue reading “Rainbow Cliffs: Why Parrots in the Amazon Eat Clay”

Inside the colourful world of animal vision

As humans, we live in a colourful world, but differences in visual systems means that not all animals see the world in the same way. Unlike other aspects of an object such as size or mass, colour is not an inherent property of an object but a result of the sensory system of the viewer.Continue reading “Inside the colourful world of animal vision”

Every Living Organism Has a Way of Communicating

Every living organism has a way of communicating. We may not be able to understand each other’s language. But its there and communication get passed from one organism to another. How do forests speak to us? If you have ever been into the woods and feel different ways nature talks to us. From the windContinue reading “Every Living Organism Has a Way of Communicating”

Gibbon song may be music to the ears of human language students

Nicholas Bannan, University of Western Australia Gibbons and humans have more in common than might immediately seem apparent. Among many behavioural traits shared by our two species is singing. Not just that – the songs of gibbons have the potential to teach us about the origin of our own human capacities. A recent study inContinue reading “Gibbon song may be music to the ears of human language students”