Duck learned to say "You bloody fool," providing scientists new insight into the evolution of vocal language

It looks like a duck and talks like a duck talking like a human. A duck named Ripper who lives in Australia's Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve learned to say "You bloody fool," providing further evidence to scientists that ducks can imitate human speech. Listen above! Ripper also imitates the sound of its aviary door slamming while other ducks have been recorded mimicking a bird keeper's cough or even a pony that lived nearby. From The Guardian:

Retired Australian researcher Dr Peter Fullagar first recorded Ripper more than three decades ago. But his recordings were only recently resurfaced by Prof Carel ten Cate of Leiden University in the Netherlands, who came across an obscure reference to a talking duck in a book on bird vocalisations.

Ten Cate said he was only convinced after hearing Fullagar's recordings. "When I read it at first I thought, 'it's a hoax, it can't be true.' But it turned out to be true."…

The discovery changes what was previously known about the evolution of vocal language learning in birds. Ten Cate said the musk duck's talent as a mimic suggested the skill had evolved independently in multiple groups of birds.

image: JJ Harrison ( (CC BY-SA 3.0)