How are talking birds able to so precisely enunciated words without lips and a larynx?


How are talking birds able to so precisely enunciated words without lips and a larynx?

In: Biology


[Birds are basically speakers with wings. Sounds are wobbles in the air, and a mimic bird has the ability to make its larynx wobble with incredible control and precision based on patterns it hears and remembers – just like a computer controlling a speaker to play sounds. They can do this because they have a lot of syringeal muscles, which are the muscles that let birds wobble their larynges.](

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Birds use an organ known as the [syrinx]( to produce sounds. While it is roughly analogous to the larynx in function, it is quite different in form. The main relevant differences are that it is lower down (found where the trachea splits as opposed to just below the head) and it’s outer membranes vibrate rather than having membranous cords running through it that vibrate. This allows birds to produce more than one distinct sound at the same time.

Bird perceive sounds much faster than we. What is one tone for us is a lot of tones played in sequence for them. They can fool our hearing.



Is this how ventriloquists learned this skill? By attempting to reproduce what birds were able to do?


I have ways wondered the same about a speaker! It’s just a cone of paper but can reproduce most any audible sound. Must be a similar concept.

I don’t know what the rule is around here about posting to YouTube videos but Vox happens to have a fantastic video on this topic

I have a couple of talking birds, and it never stops being fascinating to listen and watch. They’re constantly remixing their words and phrases in their songs, too, so random words can pop up in new places and sentences can evolve over time.

I’ve also found that when imitating phrases learned from male voices, they tend to use their lowest chatter and sound slightly robotic. When the phrase is learned from a female, it’s more like a whistle or song.

The explanation has been given, but I wanted to mention a recent episode of the [podcast Twenty-Thousand Hertz]( that takes a deep dive into birdsongs.

It’s like how you can make a fart noise with your armpit *and* your butt. They’re smart so they use what they have to approximate the sounds.

[There’s a nice BBC podcast on the subject]( where beatboxer Beardyman talks about how birds make sound, with some crazy examples of birds imitating things like cameras and chainsaws!

Speaking is just uttering specific sounds/tones in a certain order. A bird can vary their sounds/tones way more that humans. They could probably mimic the sounds a dolphin makes and possibly communicate. Ok I’m blowing my own mind…..

There’s actually a great Vox video on this exact question. It was a really fascinating watch.

Because they’re not real and are government drones that are spying on you. Those who can talk just have an output device as well.