The Mental Ability of Birds Takes Many Forms

  • A. Lima-de-Faria


The similarities between the genes of humans and those of birds are reflected in their cognition capacity. Birds are capable of advanced forms of behaviour and can surmount difficult situations surpassing mammals in many respects.

They can use their feet as tools to manipulate food but they can also build their own tools, such as inserting twigs in crevices to catch insects.

The crows are so mentally advanced that they have been compared to the great apes in their ability to solve problems related to their way of life.

The gene which impairs speech production in humans is the same that affects the singing of zebra finches and canaries.

Migration is usually not described as part of avian behaviour or cognition. But it turns out that the long journeys that birds regularly perform have demanded innovation and novel solutions associated with empirical experience. Not only the sun, the stars and the magnetic field have been used as cues in this process but besides the birds have been able to adjust to changes in their location and strength.


Zebra Finch Cooperative Breeding Magnetic Compass Homing Pigeon Woodpecker Finch 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cell and Organism BiologyLund UniversityLundSweden
  2. 2.LundSweden

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