Cognitive Abilities Of Parrots: Intelligent Birds

It is clear that crows are very smart birds. But there are also many species of parrots that stand out for their amazing cognitive abilities.
Cognitive abilities of parrots: intelligent birds

We know that crows are very smart, but there are also many species of parrots that stand out for their intelligence. In many cases, one can compare the level of cognitive abilities of parrots with primates. This is despite the fact that their cognitive abilities are lower than those of a two-year-old child. But when they presented the same tests to parrots, primates, monkeys and young children, these winged animals actually performed better than monkeys and at about the same level as chimpanzees.

Parrots have amazing cognitive abilities and can solve problems

The logical or causal reasoning is the ability to solve problems and draw conclusions. Parrots also learn from facts and establish relationships of cause and effect among themselves. There are many ways to measure this type of reasoning in animals. The comparative studies between parrots, monkeys and primates, for example, required many different tests.

Some of the tests where parrots excelled in the different experiments were:

  • To choose between several threads and pull in the thread that had a price
  • Use tools or guess correctly during a game with seashells.

These are the tests where you have to establish learning of cause and effect to get a reward.

Parrot eats from someone's hand.

The brains of parrots explain their cognitive abilities

Parrots, like primates, have a highly developed region in the brain that connects the cortex to the cerebellum. In birds, this region is called the ” medial spiriform nucleus “. In parrots, this area is about two to five times larger than in other birds. All despite the fact that their brains are not that big.

The equivalent zone in mammals is the brain bridge, which is larger in humans and primates than in other mammals.

It is believed that the neural pathways that connect the cortex to the cerebellum play an important role in controlling complex behaviors. This may be the reason for the parrots’ surprisingly good cognitive abilities.

Do parrots understand what they are saying?

Thanks to the organ syrinx, these birds can imitate sound. But do they actually understand what they are saying? Thanks to new discoveries about parrot intelligence, researchers do not believe that these animals can duplicate a sound without learning something. Can parrots then learn sounds and handle them based on specific criteria?

Parrots live in groups and communicate with different sounds in their natural environment. Each group (and even each breeding pair) has its own distinct dialect and an entire logbook of sounds with subtle modifications for each situation.

The most interesting thing is that the parrots learn these sounds. That is, the sounds are not innate in the cubs. In fact, the latter will learn “speech” from their adoptive parents, if they move from one nest to another. Parrots recognize each other by associating certain sounds. It is as if each individual had a first and last name.

This ability to use sound, along with their intelligence, reveals that parrots have amazing cognitive abilities.

Gray Jack Alex

This case is a good example of appreciating the parrots’ cognitive abilities. Alex was a gray jacka and his guardian, the psychologist Irene Pepperberg, educated and trained Alex for 30 years. The gray parrot learned 100 different words during these years and can also distinguish colors, shapes, materials and quantity, from one up to six.

Gray parrot eats a piece of carrot.

The intelligence of the special parrot was compared to that of a five-year-old boy. Alex’s training consisted of many repetitions and associations, thanks to which he was able to identify the shape, material and color of an object displayed to him. But we still wonder if Alex could actually understand and use all the words he used to communicate with people.

There is still a lot to learn about animal intelligence and all the secrets it brings. One thing is clear though, there are many species with amazing cognitive abilities. Thus, we must respect the integrity of every living being and treat them as we would like to be treated.

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