Facebook Twitter Google Plus Vimeo Youtube Feed Feedburner

Leisure Home LBoard

New Zealand parrot has ‘infectious laugh’

 | March 21, 2017

Kea parrot live in alpine areas and are renowned in New Zealand for being intelligent and mischievous, often called "the clown of the mountain".

VIDEO INSIDE

New-Zealand's-kea-parrotWELLINGTON: Researchers have found that New Zealand’s kea parrot has the avian equivalent of an infectious laugh — a call that when heard prompts others to drop everything and have some fun.

Kea live in alpine areas and are renowned in New Zealand for being intelligent and mischievous, often called “the clown of the mountain”.

But a paper published in the journal Current Biology on Tuesday argues the bird’s playful reputation is not entirely anthropomorphic.

Austrian researcher Raoul Schwing found the kea has a “play call” distinct from its other vocalisations, which caused other parrots to start playing spontaneously.

 

Schwing, a doctoral student in animal behaviour at Auckland University when the research was conducted, said even birds that were by themselves began playing when they heard the call.

“The fact that at least some of these birds started playing spontaneously when no other birds had been playing suggests that, similar to human laughter, it had an emotional effect on the birds that heard it, putting them in a playful state,” he said.

Raoul said similar “emotionally contagious” vocalisations had previously been recorded in chimpanzees and rats, but the kea was the first non-mammal.

He said the call was akin to a form of infectious laughter and warranted further study, as well as serving as a reminder that humans may not be as unique as we like to think.

“If animals can laugh, we are not so different from them,” he said.


Comments

Readers are required to have a valid Facebook account to comment on this story. We welcome your opinions to allow a healthy debate. We want our readers to be responsible while commenting and to consider how their views could be received by others. Please be polite and do not use swear words or crude or sexual language or defamatory words. FMT also holds the right to remove comments that violate the letter or spirit of the general commenting rules.

The views expressed in the contents are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of FMT.

Comments