Shake your tail feather!

Shake your tail feather!

A clever bird has more moves than you do…

Over a decade ago Snowball became internet famous with a routine that put many a middle-aged dance-floor ‘sensation’ to shame. Now we’re discovering just how versatile this cavorting sulphur-crested cockatoo actually is.

A recent study of the boogie-down bird has discovered Snowball has a repertoire of 16 distinct moves. Yes, you read that right – 16!

Dancing along to Another One Bites The Dust and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Snowball bobbed his head, lifted his feet and much, much more. In doing so he has astounded scientists. As this Guardian article states, it’s not just Snowball’s moves that are interesting, but how he decides to move…

“The first study showed that Snowball indeed anticipated the beat, bobbing his head and stomping his feet in time to the music. He kept on the beat when the music was slowed down and speeded up, his only encouragement being verbal praise from the sidelines.

Writing in Current Biology, the scientists describe how they filmed Snowball dancing to the Queen and Cyndi Lauper tracks three times. Joanne Jao Keehn, a cognitive neuroscientist and trained dancer on the team, then used frame-by-frame analysis to note all the moves he made. While Snowball had danced to the tracks with his owner before, her style is apparently rather limited, suggesting the parrot may have drawn on his own interpretation of the music.”

The findings from this study imply that, like dolphins and elephants, the vocal learning skills of parrots help them learn complex moves.

Aniruddh Patel, a psychology professor at Tufts University in Massachusetts, states that, “dancing to music isn’t purely a product of human culture.” The study suggested that, “if you have a brain with certain cognitive and neural capacities, you are predisposed to dance.”

If you’re interested in training your bird to love dancing then perhaps one of our delicious Parrot Pics might help them find their rhythm?