It’s more than just carrying a tune. | 
National Audubon Society
Veery.
A bird by any other name would sound as sweet
The casual observer may apply the term “songbird” to any bird that sings a cheery melody, but for scientists, “songbird” is about more than just carrying a tune.

So, what gives these sirens their special something? A combination of three important traits: precise control over a highly specialized vocal organ called a syrinx, a unique arrangement of toes that makes perching on branches a breeze, and a natural talent for mimicry.

But like with most taxonomical matters, birds don’t always fit into tidy categories. Read on for more about what it takes for a bird to become a balladeer.
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Veery. Photo: William Leaman/Alamy
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