Scary Singing: Precise birds signal, 'Don't mess with us'

12:40pm, June 5, 2007

Pairs of magpie-larks that duet with split-second timing are warning that they'll really kick feathers if another bird attacks, according to new tests.

Recordings of precise duets alarmed other magpie-larks more than sloppy duets did, report Michelle Hall of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Radolfzell, Germany and Robert Magrath of the Australian National University in Canberra. The researchers also found that longtime partners among magpie-larks tend to coordinate their singing better than new pairs do.

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