Although having bird brains or being a plover’s head means having no intelligence in various cultures, certain species of birds give evidence of relatively high cognitive abilities. The species of Corvidae are reputed to be the most intelligent birds; The parrots are also capable of surprising demonstrations, but with quite a disparity between species. On the other hand, it is difficult to define the term “intelligence” and also to distinguish that which is part of the domain of the innate or the domain of the acquired, and therefore to evaluate their capacities of reasoning.
Birds are able to learn; It is known for example that cuckoos learn the songs of their adoptive parents or that the crows do their learning by imitating their peers. Their most common capabilities are certainly spatial representation, which allows them to orient themselves, to find their food sources or to build sophisticated nests, and the ability to communicate.
One of the most surprising capabilities is the widespread ability to use an object as a tool. The neocolonial crow, for example, is able to use a stick to remove the insects with which it feeds from the trunks. Certain birds are also capable of counting, such as parrots, which are also known not only for reproducing the human voice but also for understanding what they say and using their vocabulary wisely.
Birds capable of medicating have also been observed, for example by ingesting clay to combat the harmful effects of food toxins. Certain faculties are practically unique, the little green bee-eater is able to “get into the head” of its predators, that is, to calculate what the predator can see or not.