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8 of The World’s Smartest Birds: Resourceful Enough to Survive

by Martha Simmonds

We all love birds, but what a lot of people don’t know is that birds are some of the smartest creatures on the planet. Think about it – they have to be smart to survive because they don’t have people to take care of them as a general rule. That isn’t to say that all 10,000 species of birds are smart and talented, but the ones who are, they are very smart and talented indeed. If you need proof of this, just keep reading!


A bird’s life is not always easy because they have to be creative when it comes to getting the food they need to survive. When you combine that with the fact that they sometimes have to avoid not getting shot at, you’ll realize how resourceful they really are. Although some very intelligent birds aren’t on the list below, here are some of the smartest birds for you to learn more about.

1. Crows

Indeed, crows definitely deserve to be at the top of this list. They belong to a group of birds called corvids (which also includes ravens, jays, and rooks) and are considered by scientists to be some of the smartest animals on earth.

For instance, did you know that crows can make tools for themselves, consider both future events and other individuals’ state of mind, and actually have great problem-solving ability? Well, it’s true.

Crows have been known to use breadcrumbs to catch fish and even drag fishing lines out of the water to get to the caught fish. When it comes to intelligence, these birds are second only to humans, and in research tests they have proven to be smarter than apes, which is saying a lot. They even have a brain-to-body weight that is equal to animals such as apes, whales, and dolphins.

2. Keas

The kea bird is essentially a parent and is found in New Zealand. It is a very intelligent bird that can become very creative when finding or even stealing food. Often called the “clown of the Alps,” keas are sometimes trouble-makers and can wreak havoc on other animals’ lives, not to mention the “lives” of the cars they get near.

Keas are always on the top 10 lists of the smartest birds, and if you’re curious as to just how smart they are, consider this: these birds are smarter than gibbons and even anthropoid apes. Their intelligence was recently tested by a Canterbury University master’s student, who discovered these fascinating facts.

3. Ravens

Ravens have been written about in books and have been part of a few music scores’ titles, and there is little wonder why. They are majestic-looking and almost regal with their dark color and perfect form. In the same genus as crows, ravens can even solve complicated problems. When they work in pairs, they are cooperative hunters that allow one of them to distract their prey while the other one grabs a newborn animal or an egg.

In fact, one person noticed a raven that had used its beak to carve a circle around a large block of frozen suet to get a chunk of it for itself, then carrying the chunk away with its beak. This is certainly not something that could’ve been done by an animal with an inefficient brain; only by an animal as intelligent as a raven.

4. African Grey Birds

African greys are parrots that can mimic human speech and which can talk up a storm, so to speak. They are beautiful grey-colored and very attractive birds with intelligence levels that have been tested to be on the same level as a four- or five-year-old child. They have excellent reasoning skills, for example, and of course, they are exceptional talkers as well.

African grey birds have deduction and elimination skills that are second only to humans and apes, which helps them a lot when they’re trying to find food or accomplish other tasks. Indeed, if you take one of these birds home as a pet, be prepared not only to get mimicked a lot but also to be impressed by its amazing brain power.

5. Macaws

Macaws are not only very intelligent birds but are also very affectionate and even funny. Although they come in a variety of colors and sizes, most often these birds are either blue and gold, scarlet, or green-winged. There are also Military macaws, which are fun-loving and have perky personalities; red-front macaws, which are comical and a little smaller than the other types; and the Hyacinth macaw, which is the largest member of the parrot family and can get up to four feet in length.

Macaws can be loving and playful, sensitive and partial to family members, or extremely social – and sometimes a combination of one or more of these characteristics! Their bright colors, large beaks, and unique personalities make them great pets, especially if you nurture their intelligence from then on!

6. Cockatoos

Most people know what cockatoos look like. They have curved beaks and very showy crests, and they are very social and talkative. But it isn’t just human language that they will mimic – they can also imitate various sounds and speech patterns, which proves just how intelligent they really are. For example, in one experiment a cockatoo would leave a piece of food alone because it wanted to trade it for a better treat later on!

Larger on average than most parrots, cockatoos are exquisite-looking birds that are always noticeable. Their speaking ability amazes most people, and test after test have revealed their amazing intelligence to everyone.

7. Amazon Parrots

Amazon parrots are at the top of the list of intelligent birds and can talk just as clearly as a human can. To prove how intelligent they are, consider the fact that they are able to be trained in a variety of complex tasks and tricks. In addition to being very vocal and talkative, they are also very affectionate birds, which is one of the reasons they’ve been kept for years as pets.

There are also different types of Amazon parrots, including the blue-fronted, yellow-crowned, yellow-naped, and eclectus parrots. For centuries, the Amazon parrot has been sought after as a pet, mainly because they are intelligent and because they are great talkers. While each Amazon parrot has its own personality, all of their personalities are unique and give the people caring for them and studying them a lot of pleasure.

8. Jays

With a beautiful blue color and an energetic personality, jays are super intelligent and are definitely a favorite for bird-watchers. There are around 40 species of jays, and some of them are so intelligent that they have been found to actually plan out what they’re going to eat for breakfast the next morning, as well as how they’re going to go about getting it and how much they are planning to eat.

The jays’ intelligence level and ability to plan their actions based on how they’ll likely feel in the future is something no other birds do because only humans do this.

They are truly an amazing and very intelligent bird. Jays have even been seen taking the paper at the bottom of their cage and using it to get food from outside of the cage so they can eat it! How’s that for intelligence?

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