Q:

How do birds hear?

A:

Quick Answer

On About.com, Melissa Mayntz describes that birds have funnel-shaped ears that help them hear and focus sound. Their ears are found slightly behind and below the eyes and are hidden behind soft feathers, called the auriculars, for protection.

Know More
How do birds hear?
Credit: Jacob Spinks Flickr CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

Hearing is the second most important sense for birds, Mayntz explains. The shape of a bird's head is one of the factors that affect its ability to hear. For example, owls have facial discs that direct sound toward their ears. Birds have better sound recognition skills than humans, although their frequency range is smaller. They are particularly sensitive to changes in tone, pitch and rhythm. They use such variations to identify other individual birds, even amid a noisy flock. They also rely on varying sounds, calls and songs. They recognize different noises to determine if the noise is a predator's warning, a territorial claim or an offer to share food. Some birds, such as oilbirds, use echolocation like bats do. They use fast chirps and clicks to find their way through dark caves where they live.

Birds have a good sense of hearing, but they tend to hear things differently than people, Earthlife.net explains. While humans perceive sounds through relative pitch, birds recognize sounds through absolute pitch. Furthermore, they recognize "timbre," which means a fundamental note mixed with harmonies.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    Why do birds migrate?

    A:

    Birds migrate to mate, search for food, escape harsh weather, evade predators and to flee from diseases. Birds also migrate to raise their young in a safe environment.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do all birds have in common?

    A:

    According to PawNation, all birds have feathers, lightweight skeletons, beaks, a four-chambered heart and also lay eggs. Birds are warm-blooded vertebrate that have two legs used for walking, hopping, running or perching. Birds have a unique communication system for courtship behavior, community cooperation, chick-parent recognition and territorial defense.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Why can birds fly?

    A:

    According to Birds in Backyards, birds can fly because every part of their anatomy has evolved to enhance flight. In order for a bird to fly, it must be lightweight. Therefore, birds have evolved lightweight hollow bones which resemble a honeycomb, making them strong yet light. In addition, birds have fewer organs and no teeth, and they use a gizzard to grind up their food.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do birds live?

    A:

    Birds live by feeding off of both plants and animals from air, water or land. There are about 8,600 species of birds worldwide and approximately 100 billion birds overall.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore