The more birds, the smarter they are

Larger groups of birds are better at solving problems than smaller ones, scientists have found.

The researchers believe that this is probably because the larger the group, the more chance there is of it including a “bright” or “experienced” bird that can solve a particular new problem: in this case operating lever-pulling devices to receive a food reward.

The study took place on wild populations of great tits (Parus major) and blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus), which naturally flock together, in Oxford’s Wytham Woods.

“Previous research has suggested that this effect, sometimes called the ‘pool of competence’ occurs in humans, but this is the first direct evidence that a similar effect occurs in non-human animals,” said Dr Julie Morand-Ferron of Oxford University’s Department of Zoology who led the work with colleague Dr John Quinn.

Read more at University of Oxford