This could be intimidating sounds involving the Australian Muscovy duck, says Carol Dengate, a professor of animal behavior at Leiden University. He accidentally saw the animals. “When I heard it, I wondered if it was serious,” says Dengate.
Not only does the beast say ‘bloody stupid’, it also follows the sound of knocking on the door. This is special because the ability to mimic sounds is not very common in the animal kingdom. Humans, such as whales, dolphins, elephants and bats, have this so-called ‘voice learning’ (thus learning to speak).
Many bird species such as parrots, songbirds and hummingbirds are known to learn the voice.
Raised by humans
The animal is said to have been bred by humans and the ten-cat ‘talking’ Muscovy goose tracked sound pieces. It turned out to be 1987 pictures taken by an Australian bird watcher. After analysis, the Ten Cats concluded that the level at which the Muscovy duck reflects sounds is comparable to that of other inclined bird species.
When voice learning is found in a new group, it sheds new light on the circumstances and conditions under which the ability evolves, the professor explains.
The duck brain deviates
“Ducks were initially separated from other bird species, so they are considered‘ primitive ’,” says Dengate. “Voice learning is an advanced skill. It’s surprising because it’s slightly different from the brain structure of ducks, for example, songbirds and parrots. It raises all new questions.”