Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sense of rhythm

According to a Japanese study, budgerigars have the ability to peck in time with a rhythm. The discovery was made by a team including members of the Japan Science and Technology Agency and the University of Tokyo.

The ability to tap in time with a rhythm has been found in only a few species besides humans, including elephants and parrots.

Photo © dudeofthedead
The team trained eight budgerigars to peck in time with beeps and flashing LED lights, by giving them food if they managed to successfully peck at various speeds six times in a row. Later, when the intervals between each beat were set at six lengths ranging between 0.45 and 1.8 seconds, the budgies were able to peck in time with the rhythms after several attempts.

In the experiments, the birds often tapped slightly before the beep and flashing light, indicating that they could predict the intervals between the flashes.

Imitating sound made by others is deeply connected with language acquisition. The fact that budgerigars, which can imitate human speech, have a sense of rhythm is viewed by researchers as strong evidence that there is a connection between language acquisition and a sense of rhythm.

"We want to see if budgies can start dancing to music like humans do," said Yoshimasa Seki, a researcher at the Japan Science and Technology Agency.

Imagine that! ^_^

Artice © The Mainichi Daily News
Click here to view the original Japanese story.


  1. My parakeet, Birdy Bird, used to make up songs and tap out the rhythm on his food dish. He was spot-on, too.