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Natural World

'You bloody fool' says Australian talking duck

September 10, 2021 | Comment icon 13 comments



Just when you think you've heard everything... Image Credit: CC BY-2.0 Lip Kee
A bizarre recording represents the first ever documented case of a duck being able to mimic human speech.
According to a new study, an Australian musk duck at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve near Canberra has been recorded accurately mimicking human speech - representing the first time in history that a species of duck has been comprehensively documented doing so.

The duck - nicknamed 'Ripper' - was recorded saying the words "you bloody fool!"

The recording itself was actually made 30 years ago and only recently resurfaced. It is believed that the duck was mimicking something that the reserve's caretaker said on a regular basis.
Musk ducks have been heard mimicking other sounds as well, such as doors slamming and even the calls of other duck species.

While there are other species of bird known to perfectly mimic sounds that they hear, this latest find suggests that this ability has evolved independently multiple times.

"When I read it at first I thought, 'it's a hoax, it can't be true,' said Prof Carel ten Cate of Leiden University in the Netherlands. "But it turned out to be true."



Source: The Guardian | Comments (13)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by jethrofloyd 5 months ago
Yeah, the Ripper says it quite clearly..... ‘you bloody fool' . Although, at first I thought he was saying .....'you stupid tool'.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Likely Guy 5 months ago
The only reason I could hear it was because I was expecting to.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Golden Duck 5 months ago
Comment icon #7 Posted by Susanc241 5 months ago
Acoustic pareidolia.
Comment icon #8 Posted by Robotic Jew 5 months ago
Everyone laughs at me when I tell them about my duck phobia....well.....who's laughing now??
Comment icon #9 Posted by Berwen 5 months ago
I suppose if a person were inebriated and also had a very vivid imagination this could be construe as meaningful but it does not sound like any word that we know. 
Comment icon #10 Posted by pallidin 4 months ago
Wow! Too cute. I've heard of other vocal mimics in Nature, but never before a duck. BTW, I'm a dolphin and even I talk.... 
Comment icon #11 Posted by mesuma 4 months ago
Wonder what it says when it sees a shotgun.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Kyle98632 4 months ago
Whether it is the duck mimicking the phrase or not, just listening to that record is kinda creepy.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Berwen 3 months ago
This is an effort to create news that is really not news. It is a big stretch to say the bird is understandable.


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