The Magpie’s nidopallium
Sometimes you’re reading something and come across a word you’ve never seen before.
The Eurasian magpie is considered to be among the brightest of birds, and even among the most intelligent of all animals. According to Wikipedia Along with the jackdaw, the Eurasian magpie’s nidopallium is approximately the same relative size as those in chimpanzees and humans, significantly larger than the gibbon’s. So I had to find out what a nidopallium was.
Basically, it’s the bit of a bird’s brain that does the intelligent stuff, the problem-solving.
Apparently, magpies and other corvids (ie ravens and crows), have a total brain-to-body mass ratio that is equal to most great apes and cetaceans. And this particularly applies to social cognition (behaviour), causal reasoning, flexibility and imagination.
Some years ago I was asked to take an injured crow to “the crow lady” who lived not far from me. She introduced me to her crows, rooks, magpies and ravens – about fifteen in total around the house and garden.
She left the television on from dawn til dusk, so they would not get bored!
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