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Peacocks ruffle feathers, make a rumble

Male birds emit low-pitched sounds inaudible to human ears

ALBUQUERQUE — Unbeknownst to humans, peacocks may be having infrasonic conversations. New recordings reveal that males showing off their feathers make deep rumbling sounds that are too low pitched for humans to hear.

Other peacocks hear it though, Angela Freeman reported June 13 at the annual meeting of the Animal Behavior Society. When she played recordings of the newly discovered sound to peafowl, females looked alert and males were likely to shriek out a (human-audible) call. Peacocks are thus the first birds known to make and perceive noises below human hearing, Freeman said.

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