• picture
  • picture
  • picture
  • picture
Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Regional Quacks

Air Date: Week of

Living on Earth’s Jennifer Chu reports on the regional differences in duck dialects.


CURWOOD: Just ahead: tracking the trail of the eastern cougar. First, this note on emerging science from Jennifer Chu.


CHU: New research from England suggests that ducks, like their human counterparts, have regional accents. According to Dr. Victoria de Rijke of Middlesex University, a duck’s environment is a big factor when it comes to fine-tuning its dialect. De Rijke recorded the various sounds of Cockney ducks in the heart of London and their Cornish cousins at a farm in Cornwall. The mallards were all born and bred in their respective locales. And after some careful listening, de Rijke noticed some audible differences.


CHU: These Cornish ducks communicate in long, relaxed quacks. De Rijke attributes this to the slow pace of country living.


CHU: These city ducks prefer louder, brassier quacks. De Rijke believes that the fast pace of London breeds louder, more stressed ducks. These quackcents are much like the accents of human inhabitants of the same regions. Cornish speakers are known for their more open and drawn out sounds, whereas the Cockney brogue uses shorter and more guttural vowels. In the future, Dr. De Rijke hopes to take this duck research abroad, and explore the quacks of Scottish, Welsh and Irish fowl throughout the British Isles.

That’s this week’s note on emerging science, I’m Jennifer Chu.

CURWOOD: And you’re listening to Living on Earth.

ANNOUNCER: Support for NPR comes from NPR stations, and: The Noyce Foundation, dedicated to improving Math and Science instruction from kindergarten through grade 12; The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, making grants to improve the health and health care of all Americans. On the web at rwjf.org; The Annenberg Foundation; and, The Kellogg Foundation, helping people help themselves by investing in individuals, their families, and their communities. On the web at wkkf.org. This is NPR, National Public Radio.




The Quack Project


Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

Living on Earth
62 Calef Highway, Suite 212
Lee, NH 03861
Telephone: 617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Newsletter [Click here]

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.

Creating positive outcomes for future generations.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.

Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth