Tweet You – Birds Trade Insults In Song
August 12 | Hmmm...No Comments Yet
That’s my attempt at putting out a gangsta image. You know, make me more Rotty than Yorkie.
Of course I can always up my street cred by showing disrespect (‘dissing’ as the pups bark these days) for cats. It also helps if I wear my fur suit around my ankles.
Instead of chasing cats at my advanced age, I throw verbal barbs at them. Things like, “Is that a Kong in your pocket or are you just happy to see me,” and “Yo mamma is so ugly, her face would stop the Purina Gravy Train.”
Lest you think it’s just canines that taunt in the animal kingdom, you’d be wrong. Turns out tweety birds do the same thing.
What sounds like harmonious song is really the noise of males trying to appear macho, say researchers.
And, just like humans, most of the boasting and trading of insults is done to impress the girls.
It mirrors the ‘battle rap’ contests made famous by stars such as Eminem in his film 8 Mile, scientists say.
‘Song sharing among sparrows is actually an aggressive behaviour akin to flinging insults back and forth,’ said lead researcher Janet Lapierre, from the University of Western Ontario in Canada.
Sparrows have a large repertoire of songs but, when advertising for a mate, males stick to a ‘greatest hits’ selection that they perform repeatedly.
They try to outdo others in the way they sing the selection and this then becomes a battle, the study by several Canadian universities found.
The birds sing as aggressively and loudly as possible, said Ms Lapierre.
‘This is also a behaviour most often displayed by belligerent older males,’ she added.
Sparrows living in more competitive environments are likely to perform a more aggressive but smaller selection of songs, the researchers say.
This is like trying to prove themselves in a tough neighbourhood.
Those living in less competitive areas are more likely to sing their own songs rather than compete with other males by chirping the same tunes as them, the study adds.
What could be better than birds taunting each other? Well, check out this video.