Do Birds Have Ears? How Do They Hear Without External Ears?

Do Birds Have Ears

Listening to the songs of the songbirds is the most beautiful time of the year. Songbirds have different inspiring and vocal sounds which are interesting to listen to.

But do bird hears their song? Yes, birds can hear sounds and their songs as well. But how do they hear? Do birds have ears? Such questions are often asked. Here is the answer to all such questions. 

Yes, birds do have ears but they are built differently than humans, or animals. They have tunnel-like openings just behind their eyes which are protected by feathery flaps.

However, many other facts are related to this. And In this article, I’ve explained all such facts in detail. 

Can Birds Hear Well?

Birds have well-developed complex outer ear structures like mammals. They have an audible frequency range of around 100Hz to 14000 Hz which is slightly narrow than humans.

Humans can hear as low as 20Hz and as high as 20000 Hz. But despite the narrower range of hearing, some experiments found that birds can detect infrasound that was even below 20 Hz.

Therefore, it is unclear whether the birds hear the infrasound with ears or they detect the same in any other manner.

Generally, avian hearing is less sensitive than mammalian hearing. However, it is sensitive in the range of 1kHz to 4kHz. Some intriguing adaptations provide an edge over other animals.

But birds have one ear feature that they can adept at pinpointing the exact location of the sound. Many researchers believe that the structure of their heads helps them to hear pinpoint sounds. 

Which Birds have the Best Hearing?

The birds who have the best hearing abilities include owls who rely on both sight and hearing which are necessary for hunting their prey at the night.

Some owl species have asymmetrical or misaligned ears that allow them to pinpoint the location of a sound. They have better accuracy than humans.

The misalignment creates a sort of time delay between one ear and the other. This helps the owls to decode where even the quietest noises are coming from. 

Owls like the Boreal Owl and Barn Owl have faces that look a bit like radar dishes. Their faces catch and filter the sound through to their ears.

Even they can tweak the position of this ‘radar dish’ using their facial muscles. With their excellent sight, they have the finest and most well-adapted senses in the animal kingdom. 

Can Birds hear Ultrasonic Sounds?

There has been no demonstration where birds are exposed to hear ultrasonic sounds. Even birds do not have especially sensitive ears at high frequencies.

They have a narrower audible frequency range than humans. However, few animals can accurately hear the ultrasound including bats and dolphins but this ability is not common. 

What Are Bird’s ear Called?

There is no specialized name for referring to the bird’s ear. The structure of the bird’s ears differs from the mammalian ears as there is no outer ear structure called pinna in the bird’s ear.

They still have an outer ear, a middle, and an inner ear. The outer ear is a tube that leads to the eardrum. The ears of the birds are shielded by an auricular.

Auricular is a complex set of feathers that helps to protect the ear from air turbulence and particles. It helps the funnel sound into the ear.

However, it should not be confused with the ear tuffs which are most notably observed from the head of the Great Horned Owl. 

Do Birds like Hearing Music?

The birdsongs are not usually similar to that of human music and inspired countless pieces of music as well as poems, art, and books.

There are some bird species that even have tremendous musical abilities and love to sing. A songbird may even sing some 1000 to 2500 times every day.

The parrots are a regular sight on social media, dancing, and bopping. Seeing parrots like this seems like they are enjoying themselves. 

Some studies have even demonstrated that the birds are good listeners and they seem to understand music.

They have musical properties of pitch, timbre, rhythm, and tone which is similar to that of human music.

Some evidence support that birds do understand music. One study in 1984 found that pigeons can be differentiated between Bach and Stravinsky. 

In 2012, researchers found out that birds had analogous auditory brain structures to humans. It means that they may be able to understand the same characteristics of music as humans do. 

Researchers found that birds similarly enjoy their birdsongs as that humans.

This shows that birds don’t sing for just courtship, territory, or communication, they sing to enjoy. Therefore, some birds appear to ‘like’ music the same as humans. 

Reason Behind Birds Singing?

Most species of birds sing. Even birds like the Sedge Warbler and Brown Thrasher have thousands of songs in their repertoire.

The musical properties of the birdsong are documented in the Voyage of the Beagle (1839) and On the Origin of Species (1859).

In these songs, the author theorized the birdsong that evolved to help the birds to communicate and survive. 

How Do Birds Find Worms Without Hearing?

Some birds like Robins and blackbirds are known for detecting moving invertebrates under the earth. However, they even prove the ground with their beak.

With the help of the beak, they help them to detect vibrations under the soil. Generally, bird hearings are most sensitive at close ranges due to which they need to go pretty close to the ground. 

Are Birds Able To Understand Human Voices?

There is some evidence that the birds can recognize and identify the voices of humans and even appearances.

When they become familiar with their voices, some birds can distinguish them from others. Many birds, especially parrot groups are excellent at mimicking human speech and can learn & repeat phrases spoken to them.

Birds like Mynah birds can even create their new sentences from the learned words and phrases.

Birds can be taught to speak similarly to humans. They lack any conceptual understanding of the meaning of words. 

However, the birds that can’t mimic other sounds have complex calls which they use as a method of communication.

Bird communication is the most complex communication among all animals and it is the result of sustained evolution over many thousands of years.

However, researchers still have to learn about birdsong, mimicry, and bird communication. 

Is Bird’s Ear Visible?

Birds have hidden ears that are protected under their protection. They are often referred to as auriculars.

These feathers protect the ear not only from dust and other particles but also from air turbulence when the bird flies.

If you pulled back the auricular, you will find a bird’s ear that looks like a hole or tunnel. They don’t have an outer ear like humans and they have just hole-like ears. 


Birds do have ears and they can hear sounds and their songs. However, the structure of their eyes is similar to that of lizards.

They have a tunnel behind their eyes which is covered with feathers. Even some research suggests that their face and head help them to hear more accurately. 

At last, I hope this article may have helped you in some way. Thank You For Reading!

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