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: Local education politics 'far from dead'

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Bird watching in the 21st century

Jul 18, 2014

Was that a catbird or a mockingbird you just saw? The answer is now just a smartphone tap away. Birdsnap—a new app developed with the help of a University of Maryland computer scientist—can identify birds ...

The mystery behind starling flocks explained

Jul 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —The mystery behind the movements of flocking starlings could be explained by the areas of light and dark created as they fly, new research suggests.

Computer scientists decode birdsongs automatically

Jul 17, 2014

Scientists from Queen Mary University of London have found a successful way of identifying bird sounds from large audio collections, which could be useful for expert and amateur bird-watchers alike.

Recommended for you

Local education politics 'far from dead'

21 hours ago

Teach for America, known for recruiting teachers, is also setting its sights on capturing school board seats across the nation. Surprisingly, however, political candidates from the program aren't just pushing ...

First grade reading suffers in segregated schools

21 hours ago

A groundbreaking study from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) has found that African-American students in first grade experience smaller gains in reading when they attend segregated schools—but the ...

Violent aftermath for the warriors at Alken Enge

21 hours ago

Denmark attracted international attention in 2012 when archaeological excavations revealed the bones of an entire army, whose warriors had been thrown into the bogs near the Alken Enge wetlands in East Jutland ...

Why aren't consumers buying remanufactured products?

23 hours ago

Firms looking to increase market share of remanufactured consumer products will have to overcome a big barrier to do so, according to a recent study from the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Findings from faculty members ...

Expecting to teach enhances learning, recall

23 hours ago

People learn better and recall more when given the impression that they will soon have to teach newly acquired material to someone else, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis.

User comments : 0