African Grey a smart parrot


African Grey a smart parrot

African Grey a smart parrot: a smart parrot is not only a talented imitator. perched on a shoulder, he is capable of thoughtful social behavior and of implementing sophisticated strategies thanks to pure intelligence. Several scientists and biologists have studied the cognitive behavior of its magnificent birds.

Alex African Grey

For almost 30 years, Irene Pepperberg, an American scientist, taught her parrot Alex, The African Grey Parrot who has become a world star, dozens of words, but also colors, shapes, materials, figures. This animal was able to count, to determine the nature of the material of the object presented to him, but also to answer questions, without being mistaken. Above all, he used the words he knew on purpose, and in specific contexts.

To achieve these results, Irene Pepperberg used the engine of frustration: clipped wings and raised alone, Alex The African Gray: a smart parrot was forced to speak to get what he wanted. If it had lived longer (the life expectancy of the species is more than fifty years), the animal could probably have further enriched its vocabulary.

At first glance, Griffin doesn’t seem smarter than a 4-year-old – he’s just a bird after all. However, an African gray parrot can easily outperform young children on some intellectual tests, including one that measures volume understanding (in m3).

The classic Piagetian test works as follows: show a child 2 glasses of identical juice and ask him which one he wants. The child will laugh and say that they are the same. Then pour the juice into separate containers – one large and thin, the other small and wide – and ask the child again to choose.

Up to 6 years, children typically choose the largest container, thinking that it contains more juice.

In comparison, Griffin didn’t get out of his way — and was even smart enough to look at the tests that were meant to fool him — at the experiments conducted by Irene Pepperberg, a research associate in Harvard’s Department of Psychology, 

2 different containers of parrot juice were shown, which were then poured into cups of which 1 had a false bottom to give the impression that the contents of the containers were at the same levels.

Each time, Griffin recognized the cup containing the most juice, even when the researchers crossed their arms to mislead him.

“We first did tests to see if he would choose the cup that contains the most, and if when we poured them into new identical cuts, he would be able to track our hand movements,” Pepperberg said. “Then we showed him which container had the least also which had the most and poured the juice into the containers that look like the same but they are not. The idea is that if he follows our movements, Griffin can remember which cut has the most and will not be fooled. »

For Irene Pepperberg and Francesca Cornero, these tests are a way to explore the intelligence of birds in order to better understand the roots of the human intellect.

“The idea here is that in their environment, [birds] will need to know that the change in appearance does not affect the quantity: for example, a crushed fruit has the same nutritional value as an unwritten fruit,” says Irene Pepperberg. “300 million years of evolution separate us from birds, and their brains are organized differently from ours… but obviously this type of knowledge is important evolutionarily because they have it. »

How smart are parrots

African Grey Parrot is the Smartest Talking Parrot

A SPONTANEOUS LEARNING BY DALILA BOVET, By working with several specimens, Dalila Bovet first noticed the spontaneity of their learning. “Zoé, Léo, and Shango have captured words and situations that they have been able to place in appropriate contexts,” explains the biologist. They greeted us for example with a “goodbye” in the evening when we left, but never in the day when we left the room. This suggests that their thought preceded the words they used. “

SOURCE:Harvard University

The grey parrot is as intelligent as a five-year-old child

How smart are parrots Congo African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is distinguished with bright bright red tail feathers and Timneh grey parrot (Psittacus Timneh) with wine-red tail feathers As typical tree dwellers, they live in the tropical rainforest, mangroves, and wetlands of West and Central Africa, where they are among the largest parrots with a body length of over 30 cm.

  • Status: vulnerable
  • Population: declining sharply
  • Habitat: rainforest, wet savannah

African Grey Parrot can logically conclude

The large African parrots are very sociable, up to 10,000 individuals can gather at sleeping places. In the morning they fly together to water points or go in search of food, preferring the fruits of the oil palm, but also not disdaining corn or other cereals. Grey parrots are not very good flyers and therefore live in a relatively small area.

They seem to remain loyal to their partner for a lifetime; they breed outside the heavy rainy season in tree hollows and lay 2-5 eggs. They have an extraordinary talent for language and are very intelligent, which is why they are highly sought after as caged birds. The animals can think logically and they even show themselves to be superior to dogs. Their intelligence can be compared to that of a five-year-old child. Accordingly, the intelligent birds also understand more complex causal relationships, because they master the exclusion procedure: If they know that one of two plastic boxes contains food, it is sufficient if the empty box is shaken. From the absence of rattling, the grey parrots conclude that the food must be in the other box. This type of logical conclusion has so far only been observed in humans, great apes, and grey parrots.

Threat: Pet trade

The intelligent parrots are threatened by deforestation in Africa and mass fishing for the international bird trade. Bird catchers place lime sticks in the treetops, to which the animals stick as soon as they land in the tree. The catchers tear the birds of the lime sticks and stuff them into transport crates to take them to the middleman. The plumage is often severely damaged: Especially the flight feathers are glued or even cut off to detach the animals from the lime sticks. The cruel practice and catastrophic hygiene conditions of the middlemen and exporters are not without consequences: Up to 50 percent of wild catches die on the long path to the buyer.

Parrot vs Child: The Intelligence Test



Smart parrots

Rather than focusing on learning words, the biologist sought to understand their language. After months of work to compare tens of hours of recording, Dalila Bovet ended up identifying a hundred vocalizations, a small number of which referred to specific emotions, such as anger or surprise.

African Grey a smart parrot

smart parrot

But, presented to other parrots, these cries provoked no reaction. “We deduced from this that our specimens had invented their own communication code by agreeing to associate a sound with a context,” she explains.

African Grey Parrot Able To Implement Developed Strategies 

Confronted with complex situations, Zoé, Léo and Shango were thus capable of thoughtful social behaviors and elaborate strategies. Dalila Bovet, for example, presented them with a meal tray connected to 2 strings to measure their level of cooperation. To get their lunch, the parrots had to pull each end. Without difficulty, they understood the instructions and coordinated.

African Grey a smart parrot


Could the parrot’s brain have developed under the influence of the group?

In their natural state, the African Grey gather in the evening to protect themselves from predators, but separate or recreate smaller groups during the day to search for food. “This organization has been able to contribute to the development of a social brain because it requires intellectual flexibility and individual recognition and categorization capacities to identify the place of each fellow member of the group in his own sphere,” explains Dalila Bovet.

Are parrots intelligent

African Grey a smart parrot

The monogamy of the species could also play a role in the development of the intelligence to manage the relationships of the couple in the long term, which – as for the humans – obliges to deploy sometimes treasures of ingenuity, patience, or negotiation.

At first sight, Griffin The Congo African Parrot: a smart parrot does not seem smarter than a 4-year-old – it’s just a bird after all. However, a African Parrot can easily surpass young children on some intellectual tests, including one that measures the understanding of volume










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