The Studying Parrot
The studying parrot, Parrotus studens, is a rather strange animal indeed. At first glance, it closely resembles the Ara, and only experts are able to distinguish between the two birds by visual observation alone. However, if you ever have the luck of encountering a flock of these strange birds during mating season, it will soon become clear where they got their name from, and that they are truly a different species.
Unlike other species, the studying parrot does not woo partners through a display of bright colors, physical prowess, or elaborately constructed nests. Instead, it spends the rest of the year learning complicated formulas or philosophical insights from humans, which it then parrots back to impress potential mates.
This behavior has given rise to a number of questions, perhaps the most interesting of which is how the parrots distinguish between intellectually relevant phrases and pure gibberish. There are a number of teams from around the world that are studying this behavior, but their efforts have yet to bear fruit. In addition, due to the protected status of the studying parrot, specimens for study are not easy to come by.
For the ancient tribes who share their habitat with the studying parrot, the bird has always been a symbol of wisdom, and whole villages would come to the bird's mating grounds, feeding them and listening to the words they propagate.