Eli5: How do birds like parrots and ravens etc make human sounds without lips?

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Watching birds speak, I don’t understand how they can make plosive sounds or ‘m’ sounds as when we make those sounds our lips touch and in the case of an ‘m’ sound you can’t make it without your lips touching. Are lips not that important in speech or something?

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Well the whole voice box of a parrot is entirely different from a human. Humans have a larynx which acts like the strings of a guitar we use our mouth and throat to shape the sound. Birds that can mimic humans have a different organ called a “syrinx”. While the function is complicated, essentially it allows them control over the shape, and volume of the organ producing sound, much like a human mouth does after the sound is produced in the larynx. Using that organ, their throat muscles, and their tongue they can mimic many sounds.