As you may know, birds are incredible singers. Other animals, such as whales, frogs, and even mice can also sing, but why do birds sing, and why they sing so well? We are going to talk about this topic in this article.
Birds sing mostly because they want to attract mates and communicate with other birds or animals. A strong and skilled singer is usually a healthy mate. Depending on the species, the more complex the tune, the more appealing the male might look.
Reasons for birds to sing
Singing is often related to a courtship display. Female songbirds tend to engage with birds that are capable of singing loud and melodic songs. Though male birds tend to be the ones that sing the most, it is important to notice that females can also sing.
Songs are passed down from generation to generation. Singing is so important for birds that some of them (songbirds, hummingbirds, and parrots) devote a specific part of their brain to learning new songs.
Learning how to sing is essential because it will define the birds’ capability to relate with the “bird community” around it. Without vocalizing, it wouldn’t be able to find a mate or communicate with other bird friends. That is quite important because birds are extremely social animals.
Why do birds sing so early in the morning?
Singing is the reason why songbirds wake up early in the morning. They do it because they like to reaffirm their territory before anyone else does. So if you can sing loud and strong in the early morning before you have time to warm up and have a good hearty breakfast, the better mate and stronger defender of your territory you will be.
Best singing birds
In nature, we can find the most beautiful songs sung by birds. If you are not lucky enough to witness songbirds sing around you, listen to this lovely compilation of singing birds.
Top singing birds
Below is a informal list of names of beautiful birds for you to search on YouTube when hoping to listen for more bird singing.
- Asian Koel
- Common wood pigeon
- Barred warbler
- Golden oriol
- Common cuckoo
- Common crane
- Eurasian skylark
- Common snipe
- Reed bunting
- Eurasian Wren
- Eurasian wryneck
- European turtle dove
- Song thrush
- European robin
- Corn crake
- Common chiffchaff
- Savi’s warbler
- Common whitethroat
- Common rosefinch
- Citrine wagtail
- Sedge warbler
- Thrush nightingale
- Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo
- Black-billed Magpie
Why do birds sing so well?
Birds have a special “singing apparatus”. While humans count with one voice box (the larynx), birds are capable of using two voice boxes. That is also one of the reasons why birds can talk while other animals can’t.
The syrinx also lets birds replicate sounds with accuracy. The syrinx is an extremely efficient organ because it used almost all the air that passes through it, while humans create sound using only 2% of the air that passes through the larynx.
How do birds make two sounds at once?
Songbirds are able to use the left and right sides of the syrinx separately. It’s like singing with two different voices. While switching “voice” sides, they can create different pitches. The left side creates a high-pitch tone, whereas the right side produces a low-pitched tone.
What’s the difference between singing and chirping?
When songbirds sing, the melodies are usually long and have a rhythm. The main purpose is to impress females. Chirping is connected to other reasons:
- Flock bond, keeping everyone together (males & females)
- Communicating with chicks (males & females)
- Communicating with an established mate (males & females)
- Distress/alarm, during predatory risk (males & females)
- Warning, to repel specific intruders—other males (males)
Listening to birds singing is an amazing experience! Even though the singing is probably not intended to your ears specifically, enjoy the chance to listen to this beautiful serenade!