White-Necked Raven Can Accurately Mimic Human Voices

 

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A post shared by Paige Davis (@pythonpaige)

Ravens are extremely intelligent birds. Members of the Corvus genus, their behavior has long fascinated birders, scientists, and even authors such as Edgar Allen Poe. Studies have demonstrated that at four months old the sleek black birds have intelligence equivalent to that of adult apes. They can be trained to perform a number of clever tricks—including matching colors, retrieving objects, and even mimicking human voices with shocking realism. Mischief, a charming crow trained by Paige Davis, had a particular talent for human speech.

Though Mischief the white-necked raven passed in April 2020, he had 20 years of a marvelous avian life. The bird lived at the World Bird Sanctuary in Valley Park, Missouri. The sanctuary is devoted to conservation, rehabilitation, and education. Mischief's adventures were documented by one of his handlers, bird expert Paige Davis who goes by “Python Paige” on Instagram. A licensed falconer, Davis trained the bird to retrieve and stack the colorful rings made for human children. Ravens have more cones in their eyes than humans do; as a result, they can see many more colors. This color vision may have made painting fun for Mischief, who created his own original paintings to help support the sanctuary.

On top of his artistic talents and an insatiable appetite for petting, Mischief could accurately mimic Davis in both her tone and words. Repeating after his caretaker, he could pronounce “hi,” “hello,” “back to your perch,” and other phrases. Ravens can make over 100 specific vocalizations. They are among the many species of birds which can mimic human words. The African grey parrot is the most verbose, but starlings, magpies, and parakeets can all copy humans. Mischief—like many of his fellow chatty birds—displayed other fascinating behaviors. Ravens can use tools, cockatoos make sticks into musical instruments, and crows can remember a face for years.

Mischief may have passed on, but his legacy lives on through the adventures of Linus (a young white-necked raven) and Davis. Stay tuned on Instagram to continue learning about these brilliant birds.

Ravens are extremely intelligent creatures capable of mimicking humans and sorting colors.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Paige Davis (@pythonpaige)

Mischief the white-necked raven could say “hi,” “hello,” and “go to your perch,” among other things.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Paige Davis (@pythonpaige)

Mischief lived at the World Bird Sanctuary in Missouri where he worked with bird expert Paige Davis.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Paige Davis (@pythonpaige)

Although Mischief passed at the old age of 20, a young white-necked raven named Linus is carrying on his legacy of clever tricks.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Paige Davis (@pythonpaige)

Related Articles:

Researchers Discover Rare Gynandromorph Bird That Is Both Male and Female

Crows Appear To Have a Form of Intelligence Thought To Be Reserved for Humans

This African Gray Parrot Is the First Animal To Ever Ask an Existential Question

Photographer Sets Up Camera to Reveal the Big Little World Beneath Her Bird Feeder

Madeleine Muzdakis

Madeleine Muzdakis is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and a historian of early modern Britain & the Atlantic world. She holds a BA in History and Mathematics from Brown University and an MA in European & Russian Studies from Yale University. Madeleine has worked in archives and museums for years with a particular focus on photography and arts education. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys hiking, film photography, and studying law while cuddling with her cat Georgia.
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