Sway, whirl, twirl: How Snowball the Cockatoo is a superstar

Pop and rock music induces this parrot species to dance

By Author  |  Fatima Hasan  |  Published: 15th May 2018  7:10 pm

“Using the scientific measurement of synchronisation, we’ve shown that when music speeds up or slows down across a wide range, he adjusts the tempo of his dancing to stay synchronised to the beat,” says Anirudh Patel, a senior researcher fellow at the neurosciences institute. Snowball is one cockatoo, who dances rhythm to rhythm exactly like a human being.

He keeps his moves matching to the rhythm and thereby distinguishes himself from other dancing animals — chimpanzee, dolphin, peacocks, cats and dogs. Some of the songs he shakes the floor for are — Backstreet Boys, The Queen, and Gangnam Style. The 13-year-old cockatoo loves dancing to Lady Gaga’s and Ringo Starr’s pop music. His dancing antics include — bobbing head, tapping and shaking the floor, stepping to the side, lifting his leg and shaking the body.

Snowball is mostly found in the bird shelter in Indiana – in the lab, United States. He is popularly known as ‘the dancing superstar’. This unique beat-to-beat dance of Snowball makes the bird first non-human being dancer. The scientists, after a long observation, have concluded that “Parrots’ sense of rhythm is closely linked to their ability to mimic songs and it must be possible that mimicry and dancing to the beats may rely on same mechanism(s)”.