Non-migratory birds may have bigger brains

Jul 01, 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: Sundance doc examines real-life Close Encounter

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Satellite telemetry tracks bearded vultures

Jan 16, 2015

The Pyrenees are home to continental Europe's only wild population of bearded vultures, a species classified as endangered in Spain. A study compiled by Spanish researchers reveals - in a level of detail ...

Vanishing big trees put Australia's urban wildlife in peril

Jan 13, 2015

Across Australia - and the world - the future of large old trees is bleak and yet large trees support many species such as birds and small mammals, says Mr Darren Le Roux, a PhD student at the ARC Centre of Excellence for ...

Recommended for you

What drives individuals to kill their co-workers?

33 minutes ago

Denied tenure and certain she would lose her job, Harvard-trained neurobiologist Amy Bishop shocked the nation when, in 2010, she killed three colleagues and wounded three others with a nine-millimeter semiautomatic ...

User comments : 0

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.