BBC News presenter Victoria Derbyshire has found herself “shocked” when she listened to audio purportedly capturing the moment a duck spoke. The Australian talking duck, known as Ripper, can allegedly mimic sounds, most notably the phrase “you b***dy fool.”
Speaking on the BBC, Victoria Derbyshire said: “An audio of an Australian duck called Ripper saying what sounds like, ‘you b***dy fool’ has been released by researchers.
“The 34-year-old recording appears to be the first documented evidence of the species being able to mimic sounds.
“Researcher Dr Peter Fullagar recorded Ripper back in 1987 at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve near Canberra.”
She played the audio of the duck supposedly saying “you b***dy fool”.
Ms Derbyshire then asked Dr. Carol ten Cate, professor of Animal Behavior from the Institute Biology Leiden: “I mean I did not hear that at all.
“Can you hear it?”
The professor said: “Yeah. It sounded a bit distorted, but you can make ‘your bloody fool out of it’.”
The host said: “I couldn’t. I’ve got to be honest.”
The professor continued: “Okay. That certainly didn’t sound duck-like at all and you must agree on that, I guess.”
Ms Derbyshire asked again: “Is it real? Is it legitimate?
“I’m thinking this is a terrible hoax that we’re falling for.”
The professor continued: “Yeah, well, that was my thought at first too when I heard about a story about a duck capable of imitating human sounds and also a few other sounds.
“Because it’s not known from any duck of the species that they are capable of imitation.
“But when I got to the original recordings, a copy of those recordings made that it was really something special going on here.”
The host then asked: “So when you first heard it, what was your reaction?”
Prof ten Cate answered: “I was flabbergasted.”
Researcher Dr Peter Fullagar first recorded Ripper in 1987 at the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve near Canberra.
But his recordings were only recently rediscovered by Prof Carel ten Cate, who had been researching vocal learning in birds when he came across a mysterious reference to a talking musk duck.