These Cockatoos Have Got the Internet Grooving Along to Their Sensational Dance Moves
Some of us can dance pretty well while some of us are not that great at it but most of us have some moves to show off for sure. We doubt if our moves are as good as a cockatoo's though. Cockatoo parrots seem to be turning into pop sensations with their Michael Jackson-like dance moves.
In an adorable clip, a pair of white cockatoos can be seen jamming to Elvis Presley's song Don't Be Cruel. As the guitarist in the video strums his rendition of the classic, one of the birds begins to bob his head in time with the rhythm while the other appears unconcerned and possibly unimpressed.
The bird quickly becomes animated, flaunting their elaborate plumage and moving over to the other parrot to entice them to join in. Unfortunately, the friend is having none of it and defiantly sticks a foot up in an attempt to stop the Elvis-crazed cockatoo's dancing.
After a short break, the dancing cockatoo resumes their side-to-side bobbing. The parrot then spreads their wings and extends their plumage, hopping energetically up and down on the chair seat, much to the annoyance of their friend. Despite their best efforts, the bird cannot persuade their companion of the same feather to join the dance, as seen on a YouTube video posted by Mark Muldoon. The poor bird learns that not everyone is as responsive to music!
Cockatoos are notoriously active pets and require frequent mental stimulation to keep them from getting bored. Snowball is another cockatoo that had us stunned. A medium Sulphur Crested Eleanora cockatoo, Snowball—who came to Bird Lovers Only Rescue Service, Inc. USA (a not-for-profit bird rescue and sanctuary) in August 2007—is famous for his fancy footwork. He dances to songs like Backstreet Boys' Everybody and in the following video, he even seems to be squawking to the beats.
The bird's iconic moves even landed him on The Late Show with David Letterman. The most famous dancing sensation with a beak and feathers became popular for learning 14 new dance moves all by himself. Snowball's caretaker, Irena Schulz, director of the Bird Lovers Only rescue center in Dyer, Indiana, put together a video that demonstrates not only the bird's ability to perform a variety of dance moves but also his creativity and spontaneity. The cockatoo has invented a variety of steps that include side-to-side, foot shake, head-bang, down-shake, body roll, and vogue without being trained or motivated with treats. The bird can also instinctively change his moves every few seconds, which is an extremely rare occurrence in the animal kingdom.
Quite a few birds on the internet presented this rare occurrence of learning rhythmic dance movements which inspired Aniruddh D Patel, a cognitive scientist at Tufts University to conduct an academic study on the connection between musical rhythm and evolution. Talking to The Washington Post, Patel explained five factors that could have led to Snowball's moves: "There's complex vocal learning. There's the ability to imitate nonvocal movements. There's the tendency to form long-term social bonds because Snowball seems to do this as a social bonding behavior. [And] there's the ability to learn complicated sequences of actions and being attentive to communicative movements."
"Snowball developed this behavior spontaneously," Patel said. "He was never given a food reward for any of this. He was never taught to make dance moves."
Snowball's movements were later broken down frame by frame and categorized into distinct moves by R. Joanne Jao Keehn, a cognitive neuroscientist at San Diego State University and a classical and contemporary trained dancer. A "body roll" was defined as a wavelike movement that passed through the bird's head and then the body. When Snowball lifted one leg and then bobbed his head from left to right, the scientists labeled it a "vogue." From "headbangs" to "head-foot syncs," the scientists discovered that while the bird had many moves he liked to try, he usually only did each for three to four seconds at a time.
It seems like Snowball and others of his tribe who love dancing would not have developed these fabulous moves in the wild. After all, there would have been no Elvis Presley or Backstreet Boys to groove to.