Birds of a feather? Parrot and corvid cognition compared

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


The last several decades of research on avian cognition have revealed surprising parallels between the abilities of birds — most notably corvids — and great apes. Parrots, albeit far less studied, are cited alongside corvids as “feathered apes”, but are these two taxa really that similar cognitively? In this review we aim to take a step back and present the broader picture, focusing on areas where there is now data from both parrots and corvids to facilitate first comparisons on a somewhat wider scale. By charting these birds’ performance in cognitive tasks, in many of which corvids perform on par with primates, we hope to highlight understudied areas and promising directions for future research. In reviewing the literature, the general pattern that emerges shows that different corvid and parrot species indeed perform similarly in a range of cognitive tasks to the extent that one may call them “feathered apes”.


External organisations
  • Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Behavioral Sciences Biology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-594
Number of pages89
Issue number5-8
Early online date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Publication categoryResearch