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Zebra finches wondering at unveiling the bird beyond the song

Study finds that zebra finches possess amazing auditory memory.

The zebra finch is the most common estrildid finch of Central Australia and ranges over most of the continent, avoiding only the cool moist south and some areas of the tropical far north. It can also be found natively on Timor island. The bird has been introduced to Portugal.

If songbirds could participate on “The Masked Singer” reality TV competition, zebra finches would likely get all the attention. That’s because they can quickly memorize all the important sounds of at least 50 different members of their flock.

Frederic Theunissen, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology, integrative biology and neuroscience said, “The amazing auditory memory of zebra finches shows that the birds’ brains are highly adapted for sophisticated social communication.” “For animals, the ability to recognize the source and meaning of a cohort member’s call requires complex mapping skills, and this is something zebra finches have clearly mastered,” he said.

“They have what we call a ‘fusion fission’ society, where they split up and then come back together.” “They don’t want to separate from the flock, and so, if one of them gets lost, they might call out ‘Hey, Ted, we’re right here.’ Or, if one of them is sitting in a nest while the other is foraging, one might call out to ask if it’s safe to return to the nest,” he added.

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