Bird Brain: An Exploration of Avian Intelligence

Bird Brain: An Exploration of Avian Intelligence

Bird Brain: An Exploration of Avian Intelligence

Bird Brain: An Exploration of Avian Intelligence


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Why birds are smarter than we think

Birds have not been known for their high IQs, which is why a person of questionable intelligence is sometimes called a "birdbrain." Yet in the past two decades, the study of avian intelligence has witnessed dramatic advances. From a time when birds were seen as simple instinct machines responding only to stimuli in their external worlds, we now know that some birds have complex internal worlds as well. This beautifully illustrated book provides an engaging exploration of the avian mind, revealing how science is exploding one of the most widespread myths about our feathered friends—and changing the way we think about intelligence in other animals as well.

Bird Brain looks at the structures and functions of the avian brain, and describes the extraordinary behaviors that different types of avian intelligence give rise to. It offers insights into crows, jays, magpies, and other corvids—the “masterminds” of the avian world—as well as parrots and some less-studied species from around the world. This lively and accessible book shows how birds have sophisticated brains with abilities previously thought to be uniquely human, such as mental time travel, self-recognition, empathy, problem solving, imagination, and insight.

Written by a leading expert and featuring a foreword by Frans de Waal, renowned for his work on animal intelligence, Bird Brain shines critical new light on the mental lives of birds.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780691165172
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 09/06/2016
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 757,899
Product dimensions: 8.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Nathan Emery is senior lecturer in cognitive biology at Queen Mary University of London. His research interests focus on what corvids, apes, and parrots understand about their social and physical worlds, especially others' mental states, insight, and imagination, as well as the psychology and evolution of innovation and creativity. He is currently working with the ravens at the Tower of London. He is the coeditor of Social Intelligence: From Brain to Culture and The Cognitive Neuroscience of Social Behaviour, and is on the editorial board of the journals Animal Cognition and Journal of Comparative Psychology. He is the author of more than eighty publications, including papers in Nature, Science, and Current Biology. His work has been extensively covered by international newspapers and magazines, in books, and on TV.

Table of Contents

Foreword 8

Introduction 10

1 From Bird Brain to Feathered Ape 16

2 Where Did I Hide that Worm? 40

3 Getting the Message Across 64

4 Feathered Friends (and Enemies) 88

5 The Right Tool for the Job 112

6 Know Thyself, and Other 136

7 No Longer Bird-Brains 160

Glossary 185

References 186

Further Reading & Index 188

Acknowledgements 192

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Bird Brain is a winner. It is engaging and very well written, and the illustrations are excellent—dramatic, informative, and fun."—Frank Gill, author of Ornithology

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