19 Totally Incredible Facts
1 of 19

Parrots can dance perfectly to the beat of music and scientists believe it is because they can also learn to mimic sound

Humans are not the only species that can learn to dance to music. Scientists have discovered a link between the ability to mimic sound and the ability to dance.

This is not a large group, but it includes whales and dolphins, seals and sea lions, elephants, some bats, parrots, hummingbirds and songbirds.

The ability of these animals to move to a beat depend on strong ties between the sense of hearing and motor control.

Parrots are particularly skilled in keeping in perfect beat with music, usually bobbing their heads in time to the rhythm. Looking at the two celebrity internet sensations, Alex the African Grey parrot and Snowball, the white cockatoo, their moves are best when they are listening to their favorite song.

This might leave you thinking they have been trained to make certain moves at certain times during the song, but scientists who studied the two birds considered that and conducted tests to see if that is the case.

They played music the parrots never heard before at different speeds, and the birds consistently caught onto the beat and soon they were shaking their tail feathers and dancing to the music.

The scientists found fifteen examples of vocal learning species of animals that can dance on YouTube—14 parrots and one Asian Elephant. The conclusion is that you have to be able to learn to mimic sounds before you can learn to move to a beat.


1 of 19