Parrots are known to replicate human sounds, but a specie of duck has emerged in Australia that can not only mimic the various sounds found in the environment, but also mimic human sounds.
This black male duck belongs to the Australian breed Musk Duck and he learned the English words ‘you bloody fool’ from his owner which can be clearly heard in a recording.
In addition, the duck of Australia can mimic the sound of closing of the door and other sounds too.
Scientists are investigating where the duck, named Ripper, learned the words, but speculate that he may have heard his former owner say this.
The Ripper was born in 1983 in the Australian state of Victoria. Unfortunately, Ripper’s entire record burned down, so it is not known who owned it.
Scientists say that only males of this breed can mimic sounds, females do not have this ability. Apparently, this ability is to seduce the female, just as the tail of a male peacock is magnificent, but not that of a female.
Prof Carel Ten Cate of Netherlands’ Leiden University said, “Males of a certain area, they come together and then they perform their displays, including the vocalization. The females go there and select males to mate with.”
Ripper is no longer alive, but his recordings are now in the hands of scientists and his research has been published in a journal of the Royal Society. He was first recorded by retired Australian researcher Dr Peter Fullagar about three decades ago.
In a research paper, the scientists wrote that “these voices have been mentioned before but they have never been examined in detail and these voices have remained hidden from the eyes of the researchers who teach them.”
There are very few animals that can mimic sounds. The parrot is the most famous of these, but songbirds can do the same, while some mammals can also repeat sounds.