Do Birds Have Ears: Everything You Need To Know

Do Birds Have Ears? Birds are interesting animals that live in many different nations across the world and have evolved to live in a variety of settings, including marshes, woodlands, and deserts. The majority of bird species are not thought to be dangerous to people, yet certain big raptors can be a concern. Many kinds of birds are well-known for their seasonal travels.

The Rüppell’s griffon vulture stands out among these feathered wonders as the highest-flying bird with ears, reaching heights of up to 37,000 feet (11,278 meters). With almost 10,000 different bird species, boasting a magnificent rainbow of colors, bird fans are in for a treat. They are a fascinating and varied aspect of our natural world because of their wide range of lifespans and ability to adapt to many environmental factors.

Do Birds Have Ears??


Do Birds Have Ears??

Yes, birds have ears.

Birds with EarsYes
CountryFound in various countries worldwide
HabitatDiverse, including forests, deserts, wetlands, etc.
Migration (yes or no)Yes, for many bird species
Dangerous for HumansGenerally not dangerous, but some large raptors can pose a threat
Bird with Highest FlightThe highest-flying bird with ears is the Rüppell’s griffon vulture, known to reach altitudes of up to 37,000 feet (11,278 meters).
LifespanVaries by species
WeatherBirds adapt to a range of weather conditions
Birds (yes or no)Yes
Total TypesApproximately 10,000 species
Total ColorsBirds come in a wide range of colors

10 Fun Facts

  • Birds lack external ears, unlike humans.
  • Their ears are situated internally within their skulls.
  • Some birds exhibit feather markings resembling ears.
  • Owls have asymmetrically placed ears for precise sound localization.
  • Birds can hear a broader range of frequencies than humans.
  • They can hear ultrasonic sounds beyond our hearing range.
  • Birds can hear even before hatching from their eggs.
  • Head movement is essential for birds in sound localization.
  • Birds have specific terms for their auditory anatomy.
  • Some birds respond to human music, showing musical appreciation.

The Structure of Bird Ears

Bird Ear anatomy and the role of external ears

Birds don’t have external ear structures as humans have. Rather, they depend on a specific feathered covering to shield their sensitive inner ears.

The Presence of internal ear structures

Birds have a sophisticated internal auditory system that includes the auditory nerve, which sends auditory information to the brain, and the cochlea, which analyzes sound.

The para tympanic organ’s function

 We will explore the paratympanic organ, an unusual feature that helps birds stay balanced while they are in flight.

Bird ear location in the head

Understanding the location of birds’ ears within their skulls is essential to appreciating their remarkable sense of hearing.

Do Birds Have Ears??

How Well Can Birds Hear?

Sensitivity of hearing in birds

 Birds exhibit incredible sensitivity to sound, allowing them to detect faint noises, even from considerable distances.

How birds perceive different frequencies

We will delve into the amazing realm of bird hearing and see how they can hear a broad variety of frequencies, frequently infrared than human hearing.

The unique adaptations in their hearing range

Because of unique adaptations, birds have extraordinary hearing, including the capacity to perceive ultrasonic and infrasound.

A look at bird hearing compared to humans

We’ll examine the striking distinctions that distinguish birds as masters of sound by contrasting their hearing with our own.

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Do Birds Have Ears

Top 20 Maximum Recorded Altitude (feet)

Bird SpeciesMaximum Recorded Altitude (feet)Scientific NameMale/Female
Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture37,000Gyps rueppelliBoth (Unisex)
Common Crane33,000Grus grusBoth (Unisex)
Bar-headed Goose30,000Anser indicusBoth (Unisex)
Mallard29,000Anas platyrhynchosMale (Drake), Female (Hen)
Alpine Swift26,000Tachymarptis melbaBoth (Unisex)
Bearded Vulture24,000Gypaetus barbatusBoth (Unisex)
Whooper Swan23,000Cygnus cygnusBoth (Unisex)
White Stork22,000Ciconia ciconiaBoth (Unisex)
Eurasian Wigeon21,000Mareca penelopeMale, Female
Bald Eagle20,000Haliaeetus leucocephalusMale, Female
Common Swift20,000Apus apusBoth (Unisex)
Snow Goose19,000Anser caerulescensBoth (Unisex)
Northern Pintail19,000Anas acutaMale, Female
Pintail Snipe18,000Gallinago stenuraBoth (Unisex)
Osprey17,000Pandion haliaetusBoth (Unisex)
Great Black-headed Gull16,000Ichthyaetus ichthyaetusBoth (Unisex)
Egyptian Goose16,000Alopochen aegyptiacaBoth (Unisex)
Cattle Egret16,000Bubulcus ibisBoth (Unisex)
American Avocet15,000Recurvirostra americanaBoth (Unisex)
European Honey Buzzard14,000Pernis apivorusBoth (Unisex)
Peregrine Falcon14,000Falco peregrinusBoth (Unisex)

Why Do Some Birds Look Like They Have Ears?

Birds with ear-like feathersMany bird species sport distinctive markings that resemble ears, which can pique one’s curiosity.
The evolutionary reasons behind these featuresWe’ll uncover the evolutionary rationale behind these “ear” markings and their potential functions.
Examples of birds with this featureWe’ll showcase various birds that exhibit these intriguing auditory-like markings.

The Importance of Moving Their Heads

The role of head movement in sound localizationBirds have perfected the art of head movement to pinpoint sounds with unparalleled precision.
How birds use head orientation to pinpoint soundsWe’ll illustrate how this head-turning ability assists birds in locating prey, escaping predators, and navigating their environment.
The advantage of this adaptation in predator-prey interactionsThe ability to pinpoint sounds is a game-changer in the world of avian survival, and we’ll explore how it influences their behavior.
Interesting bird species with exceptional head-turning abilitiesFrom owls to parrots, we’ll introduce you to some avian head-turning champions.
Do Birds Have Ears??

Birds Can Hear Before They Are Hatched

The development of hearing in bird embryos

 The startling discovery is that birds’ sense of hearing develops even before they hatch.

The development of hearing in bird embryos

Learn how girls talk to their parents before they can see the outside world.

Implications for parental communication with developing chicks

Knowing this early hearing development helps to clarify the relationship between a parent and their child.

Birds and Ultrasonic Sounds

Can birds hear ultrasonic frequencies?

 We’ll delve into the intriguing realm of birds’ ultrasonic hearing and its possible uses.

Examples of birds that might utilize ultrasonic hearing

Can birds hear ultrasonic frequencies?We’ll delve into the intriguing realm of birds’ ultrasonic hearing and its possible uses.
Examples of birds that might utilize ultrasonic hearingBirds whose survival tactics may involve the use of ultrasonic hearing.
The potential advantages of ultrasonic hearing in birdsExamining the potential advantages of hearing ultrasonic noises in birds.
Research and studies on avian ultrasonic perceptionThe most recent discoveries on birds’ hearing beyond the human hearing range.

What Do You Call a Bird’s Ear?

The terminology and nomenclature related to bird ears

 We’ll provide a comprehensive guide to the language used by ornithologists to describe avian auditory systems.

How ornithologists refer to different parts of the avian auditory system

  •  Breaking down the terminology and explaining its significance.

A glossary of key terms for reference

  • An essential resource for anyone interested in understanding avian hearing anatomy.

Can Birds Hear Music?

Exploring birds’ response to music

  • Can birds appreciate music? We’ll take a closer look at this intriguing topic.

Instances of birds displaying musical appreciation

  • Sharing anecdotes of birds’ surprising reactions to musical melodies.

The role of auditory stimulation in captive and wild birds

  • Examining the potential impact of sound on birds’ well-being in captivity and the wild.

The ongoing research into birds’ affinity for music

  • A glimpse into ongoing scientific investigations on this fascinating subject.

Birds – An Introduction

A brief overview of avian biology and the importance of sensory organs

  • Setting the stage for the discussion on bird ears and hearing.

Birds – Senses and Survival

The role of sensory adaptations in birds’ survival

  • The ways in which auditory organs of birds fit into their ecological niche.

Birds – Hearing for Survival

Discussing the pivotal role of hearing in bird survivalHighlighting real-world instances of sound-based hunting and gathering techniques.
The relationship between hearing and bird behaviorBirds’ everyday interactions and lifestyles are shaped by their ability to hear.

Pros and Cons of Bird Ears

1. Sensitivity to Sound1. Limited Hearing Range
2. Directional Hearing2. Vulnerable to Noise Pollution
3. High-Frequency Hearing3. Not All Birds Have Equal Hearing Abilities
4. Adaptation to Environment4. Non-External Ears
5. Communication5. Dependence on Other Senses


In summary, the realm of avian auditory perception is an intriguing and intricate one. The ability of birds to receive and interpret sounds is essential to their behavior and survival, owing to both their unique adaptations and the shape of their ears. We are able to appreciate the sensory world of these amazing birds even more as we solve the secrets of their ears. As we come to the end of our voyage, let us not forget that every sound made by birds—including chirps, songs, and calls—is evidence of their remarkable hearing systems.


Do all birds have external ears?

  • No, not all birds have external ears that we can see. Many birds have ear openings covered by feathers or skin, making them less visible.

 Can birds hear ultrasonic sounds?

  • Some birds can hear ultrasonic sounds, but it varies among species. Certain birds, like owls and swiftlets, are known to hear and produce ultrasonic sounds.

 Why do some birds look like they have ears?

  • Birds that appear to have “ear” markings often use them as a form of camouflage or communication. These markings can serve various functions, from intimidating predators to attracting mates.

 Can birds hear before they hatch from their eggs?

  • Yes, birds can hear sounds even before they hatch. Bird embryos have developed hearing organs and can perceive sounds from inside the egg.

Do birds have a sense of music?

  • Some birds have shown an appreciation for music, and they can respond to it by singing or dancing. However, the extent of their musical sensitivity varies among species and individuals.