Yesterday a boy asked me do parrots have ears, if yes then why can’t we see them. People often think that birds don’t have ears because they can’t see them. But this is not true, if you can’t see something that does not mean it doesn’t exist.
You must have noticed the slightest noise makes your parrot alert. They have a keen sense of hearing, but have you ever wondered where their ears are?
Parrots have ear holes instead of ears. Their ear holes are not easily visible because of the feathers called auriculars. Like humans, they don’t have big-big ears. They have small holes located on both sides of their heads, just behind and slightly below the eyes. Our feathery friends are very observant and they can understand everything. Due to their vision and hearing senses, they mimic so well. You can make them say any word, song, tunes, phrases, etc.
Now you must be wondering that how come parrots have better senses than humans. Well if you compare the hearing range of a bird and human then obviously humans have far better hearing range.
Humans hearing senses are much more evolved than birds. Because birds don’t have external ears and their ear holes are entirely covered by feathers. Although these feathers are effective in keeping the wind out when they are flying in the air, it also reduces the sound that can reach the bird’s ear. Parrots have a hearing range from 7 kHz to 10 kHz which is less than the average human audible range. And that is why human hearing senses are better than that of birds.
This does not mean that your feathery friend is any less from other animals. Parrots have a better hearing range than other bird breeds. They can easily tell the position of the source sound whether it is up or down, in front or behind. For this, they use their oval-shaped head which transforms sound waves just like external ears. The anatomy of birds is designed to help them adapt to nature. Parrot’s avian head helps it to interpret the position of the sound source. Near the position of ears, there are folds of skin with feathers that act as locators which help them in adjusting the volumes of sound by moving these folds.
Some fun facts about bird’s hearing abilities:
- Parrots react quickly to the changing intensity and pitch of the sounds. Although humans have a wider hearing range as compare to a bird but our reaction time to the changing sound is higher than our feathery friends.
- If you lower the speed of the bird’s voice by ten times, only then will the human ear to be able hear all types that are available to parrot’s ear.
- Feathered birds are less sensitive to the upper and lower limits of the frequesncy range.
The anatomy of a parrot’s ear: They have ligaments, muscles, the eardrum, the round window, and a rod-shaped ossicle. Parrot’s ear structure is not simple and they do not have any additional bone in the auditory organs. Their ears consist of the meatus, which is a short external passage. Parrot’s surrounding skin has a muscle that enables them to open and close the opening. The inner ear structure is bathed with flued, while the outer and middle part is filled with air. The inner ear bone called columella connects to the eardrum.
Why parrot’s ears are important?
Parrot’s hearing ability is really important for its survival. Although your pet parrot is safe in its cage, wild parrots have to protect themselves from predators in order to survive. Wild parrots are always in caution from predators like big birds, snakes, monkeys, cats, humans, bats, etc. They use their hearing ability to detect any kind of danger lurking in the woods so that they can fly or hide to save their life. Also, parrots can point to the source of sounds, they can find where the predator is hiding.
Parrots use their hearing ability to communicate with their flocks. In case of danger they alert their group and protect themselves from unseen danger., Flocks also have the strange kind of calling sign which they use in order to communicate with each other. If the new member joins, he learns to imitate that call sign to reside in the group.
These flock call signs are not only used for the alert but also to guide parrots to water sources. Rivers, streams, ponds make louder gushing sounds which help parrots in finding their water sources. With the hearing ability, parrots locate water to drink and also incite their groups using call signs. These call signs are not easily heard by humans but parrots can hear them as they are of low frequency.
Maybe parrot’s ears are not as much developed as humans but their hearing ability is far better than humans. Parrot’s ears play a vital role in its survival. Ears not only protect them from rivals but also helps parrots in finding food, water, and mates. Although your pet parrot doesn’t struggle to find food or water, their hearing ability is used in learning different tunes and phrases. Pet owner train their pet parrots into learning words and phrases so that they can play with their pet. Indeed, parrots are good mimicry because f their extra-ordinary hearing and vision abilities. They can dance and sing different music and tunes. All parrots have different tastes in music, some like classical and some like pop. Just like humans we prefer music according to our moods. Parrots are also choosy in music. But you can find out which music does your parrot-like. You can use few tricks which help in finding your pet parrot’s favourite number. You just have to observe your parrot’s reaction when you lay tunes. They react with their body and sometimes when they are very content then they start singing along.
Do parrots enjoy music?
YES! Parrot likes listening to music. Have you ever seen your pet parrot enjoying any kind of music? Well, they are very choosy. Some parrots like classical music, some like pop tunes but most of them don’t react to dance music. Although their musical taste can differ from breed to breed, scientists confirmed that they have a strong dislike of dance tunes.
But how can I confirm what my pet parrot wants to listen to?
For that, you have to observe your pet parrot after playing the music. Notice your parrot’s behavior on playing different tunes. If it enjoys and starts dancing by flipping feathers, or moving head and feet, then that means your pet parrot is enjoying the music.
Also, your parrot can react differently to different music. Not all tunes will make your parrot dance and sing along. Watch the body language of your parrot and understand the signs. If feathers are loosely folded or fluffed then that means she is happy and positive. Music has a calm and soothing effect on the parrot’s ears. You can play music while your parrot is relaxing or doing some exercise.
Can Parrots Go Deaf?
No, this is not possible. Parrots can’t go deaf. If your parrot is unable to listen or he is facing some problems in hearing that does not mean he is deaf. Hearing issues in parrots last only for some time. The reason is that the hair cells inside the canal regenerate from time to time. These hair cells are responsible for parrot’s hearing abilities and parrots grow these cells timely.
According to a study, most of the hearing issues in your pet parrot are due to damage to these cells. That is why parrots don’t go deaf from their loud screamin. Humans can’t bear the sound of parrot’s screaming but they are not affected by it. You should use some techniques of training so that you can stop your parrot from making harsh and intolerable sounds.
Do Parrots See Colors?
Most people have this misconception that parrots cannot see colors, they can’t differentiate between the colors. This is not true. On contrary in many ways’ parrots have better eyesight as compare to humans. Human has receptors called rods and cones that allow seeing shapes and colors. We have a sufficient number of cones in our eyes which made us see each color in the spectrum. Some animal lacks the number of cones but parrots do not. Parrots have more cones than humans which allows them to see each color in the spectrum. As a fact, they have an additional fourth cone which humans don’t have. With this cone, they can see ultraviolet light. Hence, parrots have a better vision than humans.
Do parrots understand human language? The parrots can repeat human language if they are trained in it.
Do parrots have teeth? No, parrots do not have teeth. They only have a beak from which they eat their food. They have a muscular stomach-like pouch called a gizzard that breaks their food in the stomach.
Can parrots see different colors? Yes, parrots can see different colors in a spectrum. In fact, they have more cones in their eyes than humans that enable them to see all the colors.