Since I'm obsessed with eagles (Having my IC family crest an eagle, and my Kin with as The Eagle Guard), I was talking to a college friend about going to watch the Hobbit when it comes out, and he asked if all birds can understand the common tongue.
He said that the sparrow in the Hobbit (With Thorin and Co hearing about the death of Smaug from a raven) could understand Bilbo and also an old raven, and asked if eagles could as well, pointing at my love for eagles.
So I ask if all birds can understand the common tongue or if there's just a few and fair between. Thanks for the info in advanced
No, not all birds can understand it There are clear differences between wild animals and those who have a special role in destiny and have the ability to speak. Some aren't even real 'birds' in that sense but rather spirit creature in bird-form. Like Landroval for instance. Ruäc, the raven you meant, was most likely hailing from a sort of very old raven family. He became older than others, could understand westron as stated. But his kin began to fade slowly, so it is most likely also a relic of elder days in which animals could talk.
Also: Men can obtain the ability to communicate with animals such as birds, but not really holding conversations as we might imagine them How they acquire it, how it really works, is not known. But it is definately connected with elvish knowledge. What we mortals see as magic, is for elves almost daily stuff (not so much anymore in the third age). But elves knew the word magic for instance not in the same meaning as mortals used it.
To hear animals, the lands of eregion and its sorrows, and that sort is for them an ability they are born with. Who knows, it might have been the Elves who taught Ruäc to speak, as also the Elves taught the Ents to speak
"She is blind? Then she sees more than I ever will." Amlarad, the ranger