As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

New Zealand parrots break out into contagious laughter when they play together

Kea parrots produce a 'play call' which leads other parrots to become playful.
By Léa Surugue Updated March 20, 2017 16:22 GMT

New Zealand parrots have 'contagious laughter' new study shows IBTimes UK

For the New Zealand kea parrot, joy is contagious. This unusual bird can produce a "play call" which puts its fellow parrots in a gleeful, playful mood.

The phenomenon of positive emotional contagions is often observed in humans. These are outwardly emotive actions that spread from one individual to another such as laughter.

Whether this also happens in animals is less obvious. Scientists know that play vocalisation in some species can act as a form of emotional contagion.

For instance, deaf rats are less likely to play than other rats, possibly because they cannot hear play calls. Similar findings have also been made with chimpanzees.

In a study now published in the journal Current Biology, scientists have shown for the first time "emotionally contagious" vocalisation are not unique to mammals. They have identified the phenomenon in kea parrots.

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