Anyone that has owned a bird in the past can speak to their intelligence. These small but mighty creatures can play games, learn new things, and socialize remarkably well. Birds, unlike some animals, make great companions for people who want a pet with which they can interact. You can play games with birds, teach birds tricks, and can even have your pet come to you when called. You might not expect that from such a small creature, but it's true.
To better understand why we have such intelligent pet birds, we need first to understand some bird biology.
A Bird Has A Large Brain Compared With Its Body
Humans have large brains in comparison with the rest of their bodies for good reasons. We are the only mammals capable of abstract thought, complex language, and a whole multitude of other traits that are specific to human beings. Birds also have enormous brains in comparison with the rest of their bodies.
The amount of their brain matter has a similar proportion to "monkeys, apes, and humans." The increased brain structure means that we would expect that they would have cognition on the level of humans, and they do!
Birds Can Plan Sophisticated Behaviors
A study by researchers at the University of Alberta noted that birds possess a unique bird brain structure that enables them to plan sophisticated behaviors and execute on them. In particular, they found "that birds have a medial spiriform nucleus (SpM), which circulates information between the cortex and cerebellum." This information passing enables birds to navigate complex tasks. Researchers also found that birds have many neurons in the front of their brains.
They have more than mammals, even. That is also responsible for a lot of their cognitive abilities. In short, birds have the brain structures necessary for fairly complex thinking.
Some Birds Are More Intelligent Than Others
Not all birds are born equally intelligent birds. Some are more intelligent than others, although the smartest birds tend not to be domesticated ones. Some of the most intelligent bird species include the African Grey parrots, Macaws, and different types of Budgies. They are readily available as pets. Some of these birds can even live 100 years or so in captivity under the most optimal conditions!
Birds Are Very Bright
When you are teaching your bird a new trick, or you are playing a new game, you can remember that science shows that birds are brilliant. Much of that intelligence comes from the fact that they have brain structures that are remarkably similar to humans. No, they cannot read or write, but they can communicate.
Birds can also plan with high degrees of precision, and they are very social. If you don't have a bird yet, you may wish to consider getting one so you can enjoy some of the more social and intelligent aspects of this pet type. Birds are very affectionate and make excellent pets for both young and old alike. If you have been looking for the right pet for your household, a bird might be the best option for you!