Endangered bird ‘forgetting its song’ as numbers dwindle

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An endangered species of Australian songbird is gradually losing the ability to sing its distinctive call as dwindling numbers have left juveniles without older peers to learn from, researchers have discovered.

The regent honeyeater, found in wooded areas of southeast Australia, are extremely rare with as few as 300 believed to be living in the wild.

Scientists studying the critically endangered honeyeater found the birds were at risk of losing their vocabulary as adults members of the species became increasingly rare.

Ecologist Ross Crates, lead author of the study, said males were observed in the wild mimicking the songs of different species.

This was affecting their ability to mate, since females were found to avoid nesting with males singing unusual songs.

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