are pigeons the dumbest bird

Top 11 Dumbest Birds in the World (With Photos!)

The Kakapo is a flightless parrot native to New Zealand. Because they are not naturally aware of predators, kakapos have developed a reputation for being rather simple-minded despite their adorable appearance. This has put them at risk of extinction along with their incapacity to fly.

Large, flightless Australian native emus are frequently regarded as some of the “dumbest birds.” Even though they might not be the smartest birds in the flock, they are renowned for being observant and flexible in a variety of settings.

The world’s largest bird, the ostrich, is another species that could be regarded as less than intellectual. This impression has been influenced by their renowned—and untrue—“head in the sand” behavior. But when it comes to danger, ostriches are renowned for their remarkable speed and strong sense of survival.

Native to Africa, the Lilac-Breasted Roller is a stunning and colorful bird. Despite their gorgeous appearance, they aren’t always thought to be intelligent. Actually, their primary defense strategy is to just take off when they feel threatened.

Perhaps not the brightest bird in the sky is the Northern Fulmar, a seabird that lives in the North Atlantic and Arctic seas. Spitting foul-smelling oil at predators is their main defense mechanism, which, while effective, doesn’t always demonstrate their intelligence.

Domesticated turkeys have earned a reputation for being rather unintelligent. Some claim they are so “dumb” that, in a downpour, they might drown by staring up at the sky. But wild turkeys are reputed to be incredibly sly and intelligent.

Because of their propensity to criticize their own reflection, cardinals—who are distinguished by their vivid red hue and lovely melodies—are occasionally regarded as dimwitted. These vindictive birds will repeatedly try to chase away their reflection, which they frequently mistake for an intruder in windows or mirrors.

Small shorebirds called Killdeers are distinguished by their unusual “broken-wing” behavior. The Killdeer will feign having a broken wing to elude a predator that approaches its nest. The bird is known to be easily tricked by decoy nests, despite the fact that this behavior can be considered clever.

A small migratory bird that breeds in the Arctic is the Red-Necked Phalarope. These birds have an odd habit of circling the water’s surface in circles to create a vortex that pushes food to the surface. Although this tactic works, it might not be the most shrewd way to locate food.

African prey bird known as the Secretary Bird is distinguished by its impressive appearance and long legs. They are not thought to be the most intelligent of their kind, even though they are raptors. But they are well-known for their unusual method of hunting, which entails using their strong feet to stomp on snakes and other prey.

The Dodo, a native of Mauritius that was once flightless and extinct, is frequently used as the embodiment of “dumb birds.” Because they could not fly and had no fear of humans, they were easy prey for hunters, which ultimately resulted in their extinction. Even though the dodos didn’t have the most sophisticated behavior, habitat destruction and human intervention were the main causes of their demise.

Associative learning edit

Birds have been trained to identify and discern intricate shapes, and their relationship with food and other incentives has been extensively researched in relation to visual or auditory cues. [9] This might be a crucial skill that helps them survive. [clarification needed][10].

Animals are frequently subjected to associative learning as a means of cognitive assessment. [11] Bebus et al. “Learning about a predictive or causal relationship (association) between two stimuli, responses, or events” is the definition of associative learning. “[12] A classic example of associative learning is Pavlovian conditioning. Simple associative learning tasks can be used in avian research to evaluate how cognitive abilities vary with experimental measures.

Bebus et al. showed that the associative learning of Florida scrub-jays was correlated with personality, baseline hormone levels, and reversal learning. [12] Food rewards were linked to colored rings in order to assess associative learning abilities. The rewarding and non-rewarding colors were simply switched, and the researchers tested reversal learning by seeing how quickly the scrub-jays would adjust to the new association. According to their findings, reversal learning and associative learning are inversely connected. Put differently, [12] birds that quickly picked up the first association took longer to pick up the new association when it was reversed. The authors come to the conclusion that acquiring a new association and adjusting to an existing one must come at a cost. [12].

Bebus et al. additionally demonstrated a correlation between neophobia and reversal learning, with birds more adept at reversal learning when they were terrified of a novel environment the researchers had previously created. [12] The inverse correlation was measured, but it was not statistically significant. Less neophobic birds did better on the associative learning task. Opposite results were found by Guido et al. ,[13] demonstrated a negative correlation between reversal learning and neophobia in the South American predatory bird Milvago chimango. To put it another way, neophobic birds learned reversal lessons more slowly. The researchers proposed a contemporary explanation for this discrepancy: since birds that live close to cities benefit from being flexible learners due to fluctuations in human activity and from being less neophobic to feed on human resources (such as detritus), it is possible that high reversal learning ability and low neophobia coevolved. Because of these contextual variations, personality may not be enough to predict associative learning on its own [13].

Bebus et al. found a correlation between baseline hormone levels and associative learning. Their research found that better associative learning was predicted by lower baseline levels of corticosterone (CORT), a hormone involved in stress response. On the other hand, superior reversal learning was predicted by high baseline CORT levels [12]. [12] In summary, Bebus et al. discovered that higher associative learning capacities were predicted by lower baseline CORT levels and less neophobia (not statistically significant). Conversely, greater reversal learning abilities were predicted by higher baseline CORT levels and higher neophobia. [12].

Apart from reversal learning, hormone levels, and personality, additional research indicates that diet might also be correlated with associative learning capabilities. Bonaparte et al. showed that improved associative learning was correlated with high-protein diets in zebra finches. [14] The researchers demonstrated that in treated males, a high-diet regimen was linked to greater head width, tarsus length, and body mass. [14] Subsequent testing revealed a correlation between improved performance on an associative learning task and a high diet and larger head-to-tarsus ratio. [14] The researchers supported the idea that nutritional stress during development can have a deleterious effect on cognitive development, which may then lower the likelihood of successful reproduction, by using associative learning as a correlate of cognition. [14] Learning songs is one way that an unhealthy diet may impact the success of reproduction. The developmental stress hypothesis states that zebra finches acquire songs during a stressful stage of development and that their aptitude for learning intricate songs is a sign of their sufficient development. [15].

Contradicting results by Kriengwatana et al. [16] discovered that zebra finches fed a low-food diet before they reached nutritional independence—that is, before they can feed themselves—had no effect on neophobia but improved spatial associative learning and memory impairment. Additionally, they were unable to discover a link between associative learning and physiological growth. [16] Though Bonaparte et al. focused on protein content whereas Kriengwatana et al. focused on quantity of food, the results seem contradictory. It is necessary to carry out more research to fully understand the connection between associative learning and diet.

Associative learning may vary across species depending on their ecology. Food-storing and non-storing birds differ in their associative learning and memory, according to Clayton and Krebs. [17] They exposed non-storing jackdaws and blue tits and food-storing jays and marsh tits to seven sites, one of which had a food reward. In the initial stage of the trial, the bird was permitted to partially consume the food item after it randomly searched each of the seven locations for the reward. All species performed equally well in this first task. In order for the birds to get the remaining food item in the second phase of the experiment, they had to find their way back to the previously rewarding site where the sites had been hidden. In phase two, food-storing birds outperformed non-storing birds, according to the researchers. [17] Regardless of the availability of a reward, non-storing birds preferred to return to previously visited sites, whereas food-storing birds preferred to return to rewarding sites. [17] There was no performance difference between storers and non-storers if the food reward was visible in phase one. [17] These findings demonstrate that an ecological lifestyle can affect memory after associative learning rather than just learning.

In Australian magpies, associative learning correlates with age (Mirville et al. [18] The researchers’ original goal in conducting this study was to examine how group size affects learning. They did discover, however, that group size was only correlated with the task’s likelihood of interaction rather than associative learning itself. Rather, they discovered that age affected performance: adults were less likely to approach the task at first but more successful at finishing the associative learning task. Juveniles, on the other hand, approached the task more frequently but were less successful at finishing it. Because they were more likely to approach and succeed at the task, adults in larger groups were therefore the most likely to finish it. [18].

While being a quick learner may seem advantageous to everyone, Madden et al. indicated that whether or not associative learning was adaptive depended on an individual’s weight. [19] Using common pheasants, the researchers observed that heavy birds doing well on associative tasks were more likely to survive to be four months old after being released into the wild, while light birds doing well on associative tasks were less likely to do so. [19] The researchers offer two explanations for how weight affects the results: either larger individuals are more apt to be dominant and to benefit from new resources than smaller individuals, or they simply have a higher survival rate than smaller individuals because of things like larger food reserves, increased motility, and difficulty being killed by predators. [19] Alternatively, ecological pressures may affect smaller individuals differently. Smaller people may find associative learning more costly, which would lower their fitness and result in maladaptive behaviors. [19] Additionally, Madden et al. discovered that low survival rate in both groups was correlated with slow reversal learning. [19] The researchers proposed a trade-off theory in which the development of other cognitive capacities would be hampered by the expense of reversal learning. According to Bebus et al. associative learning and reversal learning are negatively correlated. [12] Perhaps because associative learning is improved, low reversal learning is correlated with better survival. Madden et al. also proposed this theory, although it should be noted that they were skeptical because they were unable to demonstrate the same inverse relationship between associative and reversal learning that Bebus et al.

In their research, Veit et al. demonstrate how associative learning altered the neural activity of crows’ NCL (nidopallium caudolaterale) neurons. [20] Visual cues were displayed on a screen for 600 ms, then there was a 1000 ms pause to test this. Following the pause, the crows had to select the right stimulus out of two that were presented at once, one of which was red and the other blue. Choosing the correct stimulus was rewarded with a food item. NCL neurons exhibited increased selective activity for the rewarding stimulus as the crows made their way through the learning process. Put differently, when the crow had to select the red stimulus, a particular NCL neuron that fired when the correct stimulus was the red one increased its firing rate selectively. During the delay period, when the crow was presumably considering which stimulus to select, there was an increase in firing. Additionally, increased NCL activity reflected the crows increased performance. According to the researchers, NCL neurons play a role in both learning associations and choosing which rewarding stimulus to respond to in the future. [20].

Slater and Hauber demonstrated that birds of prey can also learn associations through olfactory cues, despite the majority of research focusing on visual associative learning. Nine individuals from five different species of preying birds were trained to associate a neutral olfactory cue with a food reward in this study [21].

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