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Birds bust a move to musical beats

Parrots display a flair for moving in time to music, a skill usually attributed only to people

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12:01pm, April 30, 2009

View videos of the parrots dancing.

Don’t begrudge Snowball his hankering for boy bands. The sulfur-crested cockatoo with a spiky haircut bobs his head, sways his body and stomps his feet in time to the beat of pop songs such as the Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody.”

Two new studies, published online April 30 and slated to appear in Current Biology, indicate that he and members of many other parrot species can synchronize head bobs and other rhythmic movements to musical beats. Until now, most researchers thought that only people align physical movements to timed sounds, a phenomenon known as entrainment.

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