Parrots obviously have a keen ear, as their incredible skills in mimicry attest. This caused researchers in the U.K. to wonder if they have certain preferences when it comes to music. As their resulting study shows, parrots' taste in music varies from individual to individual. But one thing was made perfectly clear: they hate electronic dance music, across the board.
Biologists studying African grey parrots found that they all enjoyed rock and folk music and "danced" along by bobbing their heads. One preferred soothing "middle of the road" music, while another enjoyed pop. But when exposed to electronic dance music, they were left "distressed."
The Telegraph elaborates:
The research initially involved three parrots, Léo, Zoé and Shango, being played a series of "rhythmic" songs, including tunes by U2, UB40 and Joan Baez.
They all appeared to enjoy this and were observed dancing and singing along, with excited calls and human words.
They also listened to several cantatas by Bach which appeared to relax them, encouraging them to rest and preen themselves.
The two male parrots - Léo and Shango - then took part in a second trial in which a touch-screen monitor was left in their cage, with two large buttons, which could be pressed by the birds' beaks and which activated a 15-second segment of two different songs: either I Don't Feel like Dancing, by the pop group Scissor Sisters, or the more soothing La Petite Fille de la Mer by Vangelis.
The touch screen was left in their cages for a month, and they could select the music any time they wished. And in fact, between them, they each settled on one song, Léo consistently choosing the Scissor Sisters and Shango opting for Vangelis. And between them, they played the two songs more than 1,400 times over the course of the month.
But at the other side of the scale, they detested bands like the Prodigy and Chemical Brothers — which caused them to scream in a distressed, scared way. "The electronic dance music was not appropriate for them," said the researchers.
The study is slated for publication in Applied Animal Behavior Science.