An interesting item on avian intelligence

To: John Leonard <>
Subject: An interesting item on avian intelligence
From: Carl Clifford <>
Date: Sun, 10 May 2009 11:51:38 +1000
Yes, Alex was very fortunate to meet Irene Pepperberg, who took the
time to talk and listen to him. If only other "owners" took the time
with their African Greys and other parrots, they may be surprised.

Carl Clifford

On 10/05/2009, at 11:27 AM, John Leonard wrote:

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


-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Carl Clifford
Sent: Saturday, May 09, 2009 10:38 PM
To: Chris Sanderson
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


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
Just 2 quick examples, I'm sure there's many more.


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
wary of attributing too much intelligence to crows, etc. It might be
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

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU