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Wednesday
Sep032014

The 5 brainiest birds on earth

In the old days birds were used as messengers, trusted with responsibility and valued for their skills. Throughout history they have also been portrayed as something dark and scary and mysterious creatures carrying dark secrets, whether it was as a witch’s helper in a fairy tale or flying Hitchcock killers seeking to destroy us. But birds are much more than human-made characters from fiction. They are highly intelligent beings waiting to achieve a grand applause.  

1. Corvids: Ravens, crows and magpies


Often portrayed as the bad guys in films and literature, these fellows are in fact much more than just vicious killers. They are highly intelligent and show good problem-solving skills. In a recent YouTube video a crow is even solving a puzzle on its own!

2. Pigeons

Image courtesy of Andrew Kuznetsov

Used as messengers throughout history, even during war times, these postmen are now reduced to flying rats that lurk around every corner of the cities. But there is no reason to be so pessimistic. There was a reason why these birds were trusted to carry messages during first and Second World War, because they are quick learners that can be taught complex actions and responses.

3. Falcons and hawks

Image courtesy of Beverly

The fastest bird on earth, what more is there to say? These speedy high-achievers can be found everywhere in the world except for the Antarctic. Due to their high intelligence these birds are easy to train and pick up new things rather quickly.   

4. Nutcrackers

Image courtesy of Tambako the Jaguar

Nutcrackers have an amazing ability to remember things about their environment and alter their behaviour according to the situation. When they prepare for the winter, nutcrackers hide food supplies such as nuts and their survival depends on their memory – if they forget where their food supply has been buried, they are unlikely to survive the winter. 

5.  Parrots

Image courtesy of Josh Wanklyn, Frontier Costa Rica Big Cats, Primates and Turtle Conservation

Somehow parrots often get connected to pirates; maybe it’s due to their colourful looks and somewhat rebellious attitude. But they are much more than servants of thieves and Disney characters – they are unique beings with the ability to pick up words and imitate conversations. Some even suggest that they can train and become able to understand the words they are saying. Imagine having a real conservation with a parrot in the jungle? Not bad.

By Caroline

Frontier runs over 300 dedicated conservation, community and adventure projects worldwide. Find out more about great ideas for your gap year, and opportunities to volunteer across the globe.

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