There are various species of birds of all shapes and sizes, each with very different bird calls and songs, that fall under the classification of ‘songbirds’. More specifically, approximately four thousand species of birds – slightly less than a third of the total number of species of birds currently documented on Earth – are classified as songbirds! But have you ever wondered what exactly makes a songbird a songbird? Songbirds, which include any species under the suborder Passeri, all share one thing in common: they possess high levels of control over a vocal organ called a syrinx, which is largely responsible for the vocalisations these species of birds are able to produce.

Each species usually has a distinct tune that other birds of the same species are able to recognise. Bird songs and tunes have two main functions. Firstly, it can be used to attract mates. Most of the time when you hear a bird song, it is usually the male that is singing, using the beautiful tune to attract females for mating, similar to how male peacocks use their beautiful tail feathers to attract females. Secondly, a bird song can also be used to defend territories and ward off predators.

Songbirds’ diets can vary greatly between species, but during warmer months, most birds in general feed on insects such as grasshoppers and crickets, as well as plants and fruit. Nonetheless, bird owners that keep such birds as pets ought to research more in detail on the dietary requirements of the specific species they own.

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