A group of cockatiels stolen from a British aviary have been tracked down after a member of the public heard them make their trademark call - a whistled rendition of the Laurel and Hardy theme tune.

The eight birds were reunited with their owner after police received an anonymous tip-off about the distinctive sound being overheard at a home in Salisbury in south-west England, officers and the owner said.

The cockatiels, a slender type of cockatoo native to Australia, picked up their rendition of the famous theme tune to the 1920s and 30s films starring comedy duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy from a new arrival to the aviary, the owner said.

"That bird had previously been kept in an indoor cage and its owner then had taught it to whistle Laurel and Hardy," he said, asking not to be named.

"When I brought it down here and put it in the aviary, soon some of the other birds started to whistle as well."

The stolen birds - 12 in all, had disappeared over two nights last month, and local police issued an appeal through the media for people to listen out for any birds whistling the Laurel and Hardy theme.

Story from ABC News