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Budgies Have Rhythm, Researchers Find

Researchers believe that the ability of budgies to keep a beat may be due to a bird’s ability to mimic sounds.

By Jessica Pineda
Posted: January 18, 2012, 9:30 a.m. PST

Budgies have rhythm, according to researchers, which may help provide a key to why birds can dance.
In their article “Rhythmic synchronization tapping to an audio–visual metronome in budgerigars,” published in “Nature,” researchers taught eight budgies to perform isochronous tapping tasks. The budgies would peck a key to the rhythm of an audio-visual stimuli at various beats.

Researchers discovered that the budgies were more often inclined to tap along to fast tempos, which is closer to the speed at which they naturally vocalize. The researchers believe that the ability to keep a beat may be due to a bird’s ability to mimic sounds. This is the first study performed to study synchronization tapping in birds and other vocal-learning animals, and it may provide a key to why some birds can dance.

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