At home in their native habitat of south-east Asia, Myna birds are best known for their striking plumage and generally gregarious and chatty nature. But in captivity, they may soon be gaining a reputation for their colorful use of words.
According to ChinaDaily, up until recently one such bird on display at a zoo in China's Hubei province had been a regular crowd pleaser among visitors for its remarkable linguistic ability -- imitating human speech to say "Ni hao" (hello) to delighted passing guests. But in the last few weeks, that tone of civility (albiet mimicry) took a turn for the unseemly.
Evidently, the myna bird had become familiarized with several expletives and was directing them, without provocation, at unsuspecting zoo-goers.
“The Myna has a good memory,” says Zookeeper Li Yun. “Maybe some tourist taught the bird this bad language.”
Fearing that the dirty language would catch on among the other birds on display, the foul-beaked bird has been moved into isolation. The Telegraph reports that zoo officials have since begun a "special training" regiment for the bird -- which involves listening to tapes of more polite words.
While there's no indication that the seemingly disgruntled zoo animal really had any clue what it was saying, it's easy to imagine that life in captivity would inspire such sentiments.