Saturday, 3 May 2014

Lorikeet Schadenfreude?

When young lorikeets "rise above their station" in some way — e.g. eating prior to "their betters" — they typically "get their comeuppance" from more senior lorikeets, who bark angrily at them and often back up the bark with a threat of physical attack — a fairly obvious instance of the regulatory microfunction.

A nearby lorikeet, observing such an encounter, will sometimes vocalise a "hah-hah" call that is almost identical with that used by the character Nelson from the US cartoon show The Simpsons to express schadenfreude.

I have never heard this call used in any other situation.

So this, too, might be interpreted as regulatory in function, perhaps enacted at peer level, since it reinforces the more direct regulatory behaviour of the higher ranked bird.

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