An interesting item on avian intelligence

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: An interesting item on avian intelligence
From: John Leonard <>
Date: Sun, 10 May 2009 11:27:49 +1000
I think birds are generally more intelligent than we credit them.

Alex the African Grey parrot, who died recently, was a famous clever
bird who could use signs to communicate. But someone said of him that
there was no reason to believe he was any more intelligent than the
average African Grey Parrot; the challenging thing was finding an
intelligent human to devise ways that Alex could demonstrate
intelligence to humans—a talented interpreter!

John Leonard

2009/5/10 Cas and Lisa Liber <>:
> Great read that, from folks observing corvids vs the large artamids, do the
> former impress as especially more intelligent than Australian Magpies?
> Also, anyone know of the original references for magpies eating cane toads.
> I found one at
> Cheers
> Cas
> -----Original Message-----
> From: 
>  On Behalf Of Carl Clifford
> Sent: Saturday, May 09, 2009 10:38 PM
> To: Chris Sanderson
> Cc: 
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] An interesting item on avian intelligence
> Bernd Heinrich an Ethologist who has done a lot of work with Ravens ( his
> book, Ravens in Winter is certainly worth a read). His studies show that
> Ravens have a remarkable degree of problem solving ability.
> Heinrich and Thomas Bugnyar wrote a fascinating article in Scientific
> American showing that Ravens even appear to be able to use logic to solve
> problems. An overview of the article can be found at
> Cheers,
> Carl Clifford
> On 09/05/2009, at 10:09 PM, Chris Sanderson wrote:
> Hi Peter,
> There are other examples of crow intelligence out there.  Japanese
> Crows for
> example have developed a strategy for getting into nuts by dropping them
> under the wheels of cars at pedestrian crossings.  I believe there is
> another corvid in North America that has over 100 calls in its
> "language".
> Just 2 quick examples, I'm sure there's many more.
> Regards,
> Chris
> On Sat, May 9, 2009 at 7:51 PM, Peter Shute <> wrote:
>> Somone will probably tell me it's been proven otherwise, but I'm a
>> little
>> wary of attributing too much intelligence to crows, etc. It might be
>> that
>> they have somehow evolved very advanced skills for getting things
>> out of
>> holes with sticks, but not for much else.
>> Once they've evolved the instinct to get a stick, and (remarkably) to
>> modify one end as a hook, there's not that much to it.
>> Peter Shute
>> --------------------------
>> Sent using BlackBerry

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