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Eurasian Magpie

Which Bird is Known to be the Most Intelligent?

The mirror or mark test is a behavioral technique developed by Gordon Gallup Jr., an American psychologist. This test determines whether an animal can recognize its own reflection in a mirror. There was only one bird species that passed this test?

The Eurasian magpie is one of the most intelligent birds and one of the smartest non-human animals. Its nidopallium expands by approximately the same in relative size as the brain of humans. It is the only bird that has ever passed the mirror test.

All About the Eurasian Magpie

The Eurasian magpie is a breeding bird that lives in the northern hemisphere of the Eurasian continent. It is glossy black, with metallic green and violet sheen, a pure white belly, and scapulars or shoulder feathers. The graduated tail is black with green and reddish-purple gloss. The sexes have similar plumage, but females are slightly smaller. The young resemble the adults but lack gloss on their dark plumage at first. The malar region of the young is pink, and the eyes are somewhat clear. Their tail is significantly shorter than that of adults.

The Eurasian magpie’s range is found around temperate Eurasia, from Spain and Ireland in the west to the Kamchatka Peninsula in the east. These birds usually are sedentary and spend the winter close to their nesting territories. Still, populations near the northern limit of their range in Sweden, Finland, and Russia can migrate south in severe weather. 

Eurasian magpies prefer open countryside with scattered trees and avoid treeless areas and dense forests. They sometimes breed in suburban areas such as parks and gardens. They are frequently found near city centers. (Source: Animalia)

How Intelligent are the Eurasian Magpies?

Eurasian magpies live in mated pairs and occupy the same territory yearly. They frequently congregate in large groups outside of the breeding season, flying around and even performing various displays. 

These birds are active during the day, spending most of their time on the ground searching for food. They may also steal food from other birds or hide it in a small hole in the ground for later consumption. (Source: Animalia )

How Intelligent are the Eurasian Magpies?

The Eurasian magpie is thought to be not only one of the most intelligent birds but also one of the most intelligent animals on the planet. 

The nidopallium of the Eurasian magpie, like that of the western jackdaw, is about the same size as that of chimps and humans and significantly larger than that of gibbons. Like other corvids or members of the Crow Family, such as ravens and crows, their total brain-to-body mass ratio is comparable to most great apes and cetaceans. 

According to a 2004 study, the intelligence of the corvid family, which includes the Eurasian magpie, is comparable to that of the great apes like chimps, gorillas, and orangutans in terms of social cognition, causal reasoning, flexibility, imagination, and prospection.

Magpies have been observed engaging in elaborate social rituals, which may include grief expression. Mirror self-recognition has been observed in European magpies, making them one of only a few species with this ability. 

The cognitive abilities of the Eurasian magpie are thought to demonstrate that intelligence evolved independently in corvids and primates. This is shown by the use of tools, the ability to hide and store food across seasons, episodic memory, and the ability to predict the behavior of conspecifics based on their own experience. (Source: National Library of Medicine)

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