Non-migratory birds may have bigger brains

July 1, 2005

European scientists have determined birds with bigger brains tend to stay put in the winter and are more innovative in their feeding habits.

The journal Nature said Daniel Sol of the Independent University of Barcelona and his research team recorded observations on 134 European species to make their findings.

The researchers found birds wintering in Europe were less picky about what they eat and those observed using techniques to get at food in the winter had larger brains.

For example, the blackbird, Turdus merula, was spotted using twigs to clear snow away and the bullfinch, Pyrrhula pyrrhula, was observed scavenging from chicken and duck carcasses.

Non-migranting birds use an average of four innovative techniques, short-distance migrants three and long distance migrants one.

"Species with greater foraging flexibility seem to be able to cope with seasonal environments better, while less flexible species are forced to become migratory," Sol said.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers find way for eagles and wind turbines to coexist

Related Stories

Researchers find way for eagles and wind turbines to coexist

August 27, 2015

Collisions with wind turbines kill about 100 golden eagles a year in some locations, but a new study that maps both potential wind-power sites and nesting patterns of the birds reveals sweet spots, where potential for wind ...

Researchers develop fast test for invasive carp

August 11, 2015

A Case Western Reserve University graduate student turned a research paper into a field test that quickly determines whether an Asian carp invading Lake Erie is sterile or can reproduce.

What neuroscience can learn from computer science

August 10, 2015

What do computers and brains have in common? Computers are made to solve the same problems that brains solve. Computers, however, rely on a drastically different hardware, which makes them good at different kinds of problem ...

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Recommended for you

New Horizons team selects potential Kuiper Belt flyby target

August 29, 2015

NASA has selected the potential next destination for the New Horizons mission to visit after its historic July 14 flyby of the Pluto system. The destination is a small Kuiper Belt object (KBO) known as 2014 MU69 that orbits ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.