In the past, people thought birds were stupid, hence the term ‘bird-brained’. But in fact, some of our feathered friends are far cleverer than we might think. Tool use has now been found in a number of different birds.
One group in particular, the corvids, has astonished scientists with extraordinary feats of memory, an ability to employ complex social reasoning and, perhaps most strikingly, a remarkable aptitude for crafting and using tools. See in this video how the crow figures out how to reach food using tools surrounding it. It’s ability to problem solve as well as use tools is quite remarkable!
The corvids – a group that includes crows, ravens, rooks, jackdaws, jays and magpies – contains some of the most interesting species of bird. When living with others it is advantageous to be intelligent enough to recognize other individuals, to form alliances and to foster mutually benefitial relationships.
Although the intelligence of many species of bird is impressive, it is perhaps their physical intelligence, and in particular their tool use, that has stirred the most interest.
Recent studies reveal that corvids’ tool-use may at least rival, and even surpass, that of primates, such as chimpanzees. Christopher Bird, who is based at the department of zoology at Cambridge University in the UK says: “I would rate corvids as being as intelligent as primates in many ways.”