The outsized intelligence and adaptability of corvids is definitely something to crow about. (Photo: Nancy Bauer/Shutterstock) Intelligence runs in the crow family, a diverse group of more than 120 bird species. And, as with most geniuses, crows and their relatives tend to be misunderstood. Known as corvids, this family of birds includes not just crows, but also ravens, rooks, jays, jackdaws, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers, and choughs. They range from the 1-ounce dwarf jay, a small forest bird found only in Mexico, to the 3-pound common raven, a wily opportunist found across the Northern Hemisphere. Corvids are incredibly clever overall, with the largest brain-to-body-size ratios of any birds, but those in the genus Corvus tend to be especially brainy. This genus includes the crows, ravens, rooks, and jackdaws, accounting for about a third of all corvid species. Many of these have a brain-to-body-size ratio (or ” encephalization quotient “) you’d expect from an ape, not a bird. In fact, according to one study , “the crow brain is the same relative size as the chimpanzee brain.” Humans have long recognized the craftiness of crows and ravens, as seen in centuries of folklore casting the birds as thieves, tricksters, problem solvers, […]


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