5 Most Intelligent Birds


There are more than 10,000 species of bird in the world with some species considered to be the most intelligent. Intelligence in non-humans has no proper definition or measuring ways. Many animals like chimpanzees, dolphins, horse and pigs are more intelligent than birds, because birds have comparatively small cerebral cortex, the part of the brain regarded as the key part of intelligence in animals. But birds use a different part of the brain, the HVC (formerly hyperstriatum ventrale, pars caudalis (HVc), now high vocal center) as the part of their intelligence.

The abilities like their communication skills, social behavior, observational and associative learning are considered to be some tools for measuring intelligence of birds. Many birds also have the ability of counting eggs and chicks which can also quantity their intelligence.

Referring to the mentioned tools, here is the list of 5 most intelligent birds of the world.

1. Parrots


Parrots are considered to be the most intelligent birds having the best trait of associative learning, social behavior and communication skills. They have perhaps the largest HVC in birds. They have excellent memory and are capable of solving complex problems. If trained, parrots can also have conceptual abilities as Alex, an African grey parrot. Alex was trained to vocally mark 100 objects of different colors and shapes. Parrots also have counting ability and can count up to 6 as revealed in a study “Grey parrot numerical competence: a review” by Pepperberg, in 2006. Some of the parrot species can mimic and talk like the level of 4-5 years old human child. Probably, this characteristic of parrots makes them the most popular pet bird.

2. Crows


It is an old tale the wise crow drops pebbles into a pitcher of water to raise the level and allow her to drink. But the real crows can do this way. Like parrots, crows also have the largest HVC. A study done at Moscow State University suggests that crows have proper numerical talent. Some crows use sticks to pull out insects from their holes. Experiments have shown that some crows like New Caledonian crows can use tool like wires to get food even the food was hidden in certain hindrances. In food seeking intelligence, jungle crows have out-performed even the mammals. Socially crows do not have good behavior because they steal food from others and note who is watching them hiding the food. Crows live in large groups which shows their cognitive ability. Living in large social groups means having good to recognize and remember every member.

3. Pigeons


Numerous experiments have been done on pigeons ensuing that they are also very intelligent birds. Their most distinctive feature is Geo location ability. They recognize their way back home even after years. They can come back to homes finding their way from a long distance. Several studies like the one by Carter, D. E., Eckerman ans D. A. show that pigeons can be trained to discriminate the photos of show humans and non humans. Pigeons can share attention between different dimensions of certain stimulus and can response.

4. Jay


From the family of crows, the corvid family, jays are also considered to be one of the most intelligent birds. They are intelligent enough to plan ahead. They bury food for future needs and guard it against the other birds. Jays have theory of mind, which is a concept from human psychology. They re-cache the stored food if they realize that some other jay has seen that. This type of awareness of the feelings can also be seen in the way that the male jay shows the ability to understand what female jay like to eat and provides her that taste. Studies also show that are good mimics and produce various sounds.

5. Penguin


Penguins cannot fly but they enough brain which makes them to be listed in intelligent birds. They have high social interaction because they live in colonies. Living in colonies means good memory and good communication skills. They also have a large range of visual and vocal display. If trained well, they can recognize people even after 6 years of separation.



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