How does a starling’s voice box work?

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I’ve seen lots of videos about starlings being excellent mimics ([most recent for your enjoyment is a starling outside a UK police station]( but how do they actually do it? What is it about their voice boxes that means they can make sounds you’d expect could only come from a machine or multiple voices together?

In: Biology

2 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

Birds have 2 independent voice boxes so they can literally make 2 sounds at once! The organ is called the syrinx and unlike our voice box at the top of our throat they have 2 just after the airway splits to the left and right lungs.

[Here’s a cool BBC radio show by beatboxer Beardyman talking about it](

Anonymous 0 Comments

Birds don’t have vocal cords in a voice box (Larynx) like humans. They have a syrinx which is a groups of muscles and membranes around the windpipe (trachea) down close to where it branches into the lungs. And unlike humans there are several sets of muscles and membranes giving birds more control over the vibrations they make and the ability to make several different vibrations at once.