Why do cockatoos dance
A little music, a parrot, and here is the recipe for a video that makes the buzz on the Internet.
But how to explain this rhythm in the feathers that only the Sulfur-crested cockatoos native to Australia share with humans?
A team from the San Diego Institute of Neurosciences (USA) conducted a comprehensive study to find out the answer.
Why do cockatoo like to dance to music
This cockatoo sure can dance
Sometimes better than a man on his legs, parrots always respond in rhythm, either with their legs or with their heads, to the sound of music. Snowball, a cockatoo of a species from Australia, had been known for its synchronous way of moving for the past decade or so.
Thanks to new research published in the journal Current Biology, we now know that he has an impressive diversity of figures that he performs spontaneously.
The study consisted of filming the cockatoo when playing two pop songs: one by Cindy Lauper, another by Queen.
A neurobiologist, also an accomplished dancer, was then responsible for analyzing the performance of the animal, image by image. The experiment was performed three times for each of the songs. Conclusion?
The bird improvises and does not repeat at any time the dance movements already performed on the same musical passages heard previously.
Does a Dancing Cockatoo Really Feel the Rhythm?
Cockatoo dancing to “Happy” by Pharrell Williams
Parrots already share a lot with our species: they are capable of both vocal and gestural imitations.
They are also able to forge very strong long-term social bonds and learn complex sequences of action. As for the “dance”, it is rather used to court females with certain head or body movements. But when there is no female, without the need to seduce, researchers wonder why the cockatoo dances?
Snowball has not finished moving his feathers: the next step will be to assess his talents when a human dance with him and whether this interaction influences his movements as well as the duration of them.
Known since 2009 thanks to its videos on the Internet, Snowball has been the subject of several types of research. After several analyzes, neuroscientists from Harvard had asserted that the fact of following the music in rhythm by matching its movements was undoubtedly related to the language.
Cockatoo Loves Elvis
Dance would be a by-product of language. So all animals that have a sense of rhythm could have language skills. However, not everyone with these abilities would be able to dance to the beat.
These are the basal ganglia that link hearing and motor skills. They allow movement to continue while new action consciously begins. When a parrot learns to speak, we can observe changes in these gray nuclei. The same as in humans when listening to music.
We haven’t finished hearing about it… and dancing!
Frostie Dancing To Shake Your Tail Feather