Birds capable of understanding numerical concepts, new research shows

Uncategorized By Aug 13, 2023

New research has shown that certain bird species have an impressive understanding of numerical concepts, challenging the traditional view of intelligence. African grey parrots and pigeons have demonstrated their ability to comprehend numerical relationships and differentiate between numbers. These findings suggest that numerical abilities are not limited to animals with larger brains, like primates or dolphins. Birds can use their numerical understanding to navigate their environment and make informed decisions, such as finding food sources. This research expands our understanding of intelligence across species and raises questions about the traditional definition of intelligence.

Birds Capable of Understanding Numerical Concepts: New Research Shows

Birds Capable of Understanding Numerical Concepts: New Research Shows


Birds, traditionally admired for their ability to fly and sing, have now surprised scientists with their numerical aptitude.
New research studies conducted in recent years have unveiled that certain bird species showcase an impressive understanding
of numerical concepts, challenging the traditional notion of intelligence. This article delves into the fascinating
findings and implications of this research, highlighting the amazing cognitive abilities of our feathered friends.

Birds and Numerical Concepts

Various experiments have been conducted to determine the numerical capabilities of birds. One such study published
in Science, demonstrated that African grey parrots possess the ability to comprehend numerical relationships.
The parrots were presented with different sets of objects and were trained to associate the sets with specific numerical
values. Surprisingly, they successfully demonstrated the understanding of relative sizes and numerical concepts,
even when presented with complex scenarios.

Additionally, pigeons have also shown an exceptional aptitude for numerical understanding. In a similar study, pigeons
were trained to peck a button corresponding to the highest number displayed on a screen. Astonishingly, they not only
learned to differentiate between numbers but also developed a sense of relative magnitude.

Implications of the Research

The findings of these experiments suggest that numerical capabilities are not solely reserved for animals with larger
brains such as primates or dolphins. Birds possess relatively small brains, yet their ability to comprehend numerical
concepts challenges the traditional view of intelligence solely based on brain size.

Understanding numerical concepts allows birds to navigate food-rich areas, make informed decisions, and interact
with their environment more effectively. This newfound understanding sheds light on the evolution of cognition and
intelligence across species, stimulating further research in the field.


Q: Are all bird species capable of understanding numerical concepts?

A: It is yet to be determined whether all bird species possess this numerical aptitude or if it is limited to specific
species. However, studies have shown impressive numerical abilities in African grey parrots and pigeons.

Q: How do birds benefit from understanding numerical concepts?

A: Birds can utilize their numerical understanding to navigate their environment more efficiently and make informed
decisions, especially when it comes to locating food sources.

Q: What implications does this research have on our understanding of intelligence?

A: The research challenges the traditional notion of intelligence being solely attributed to animals with larger
brains. Birds, with their relatively smaller brains, exhibit remarkable cognitive abilities, contributing to a broader
understanding of intelligence across species.