Parrot owners know very well how intelligent and active they are. Some have an intelligence equal to that of a five-year-old child. These birds see better than people, their color perception is richer than ours, it turns out, and they hear perfectly well. Where a parrot has ears and how to find them in your pet, read this article.
Do parrots have ears?
Probably every bird lover who enjoys watching his or her pet one day has a question: do parrots have ears, and how do they hear sounds?
Hearing devices in feathered birds are invisible to our eyes, they are hidden by feathers, but parrots have them. Thanks to them birds not only hear well but also perfectly orient themselves in space.
The vestibular apparatus of birds is located in their hearing organs, if there are problems with them, they will not be able to fly or even just sit on the porch.
How do parrots hear?
The anatomy of birds is designed to help them adapt to their environment, find food, and react quickly to danger. This is why parrots are able to hear very soft and distant sounds, which allows them to survive in the often hostile wilderness of such small creatures.
Due to their ability to perceive sounds between 120 Hz and 15 kHz, many parrots can accurately reproduce a variety of sounds, words and phrases, songs, and even the intonation and timbre of their owners’ voices.
Parrots’ ears are also a means of communication. The birds make sounds in case of danger or in the process of courting a mating partner. Having found somewhere feeding grounds, they notify their flock mates by special sounds.
Near the ears, there are folds of skin with feathers that act as “locators. Parrots adjust the volume of sounds by moving these folds. When a pet is frightened or alarmed, it begins to ruffle, the parotid feathers lift up, opening the auditory tubes.
If a bird is about to take a nap, she is able to muffle extraneous sounds by moving these skin folds a little and pressing feathers to her head.
Newborn chicks are usually born blind, but they can hear from the first days.
Some surprising facts about birds’ hearing abilities:
- feathered birds are less sensitive to the upper and lower limits of the frequency range;
- Although parrots hear a smaller range of sounds than we do, they are much better at discerning rapid changes in the intensity and pitch of sounds than we are;
- if you reduce the speed of a bird’s voice tenfold, only then will the human ear be able to hear all the variety that is available to parrots’ ears.
Where a parrot has ears
In this photo you can see that it is easiest to find where parrots have ears in young chicks, because their plumage is not as dense and luxurious as in adults, so the ears can be seen even with the naked eye:
Older birds have ears on the sides of the head below the eyes and slightly backward. To locate them in your pet, gently scratch his neck and head against the growth of his feathers. He will really enjoy your petting. Slightly move his feathers apart in this area and you will find small, oval-shaped holes, which are the ears. Feathers protect them from injury, water, and foreign bodies. Well, as already written, they help regulate the volume of perceived sounds.
Attention! If you notice that your fluffy parrot keeps scratching its parotid area, there is a discharge from the ear canals, you notice sticky or loose feathers in this area, you should contact a veterinary clinic.
Structural features for parrots ears
In contrast to the ears of mammals, which have the upper ear, the parrot’s hearing organs have only the middle and inner ear. The role of the upper ear is performed by feathers, and the front ones, fluffy like a plowshare, form an air cavity, and the rear ones, denser and thicker, together with skin folds form sound-receiving walls.
The middle ear is a cavity filled with air. It consists of:
- the muscles;
- the eardrum;
- The round window (an additional tympanic membrane);
- A rod-shaped ossicle.
There are no other bones in the auditory organs of parrots. Due to its mobility, this single ossicle leads out the vibrations of the eardrum. Due to these vibrations in the inner ear begins to vibrate. The special fluid that is in it also begins to vibrate, impulses are transmitted to the brain, which leads to the interpretation of sounds.
The inner ear is very complex, with labyrinths responsible for spatial orientation and balance. Receptors in these labyrinths transmit information to the brain about the distance to objects, the height of the flight, the position of the bird in space, and much more.
In their structure, parrots’ ears are similar to the hearing organs of reptiles. They are completely unlike human devices. It is true that in the UK, a man named Ted Richards, who removed his own ears to become similar to his pets, for which he received the nickname “parrot man” in the media.
But they hear much better than we do. And this ability saves their lives in the wild, and in domestic conditions helps them to reproduce sounds and human speech perfectly.