Jan
16
2007

Bird brains are not so bad

Bird brain: A large-brained raven has a better chance of survival than a small-brained bird of the same size. Photo Bureau of Land Management.
Bird brain: A large-brained raven has a better chance of survival than a small-brained bird of the same size. Photo Bureau of Land Management.

A scientific paper published in England reports that birds with bigger brains have higher survival rates than do small-brained species. A team of scientists studied birds and determined which ones had the largest brains, relative to their body size. They then collected data on birds in the wild, and found that a large-brained bird had a better chance of surviving year-to-year than a small-brained bird of the same body size.

Scientists attribute this to the large-brained birds being better able to modify their behavior in response to a change in the environment.

A big brain can be a disadvantage early in a bird’s life cycle. Big brains require a lot of energy to grow, and a lot of time to develop. But once the bird matures, a bigger brain helps them survive.

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