Avian Cognition : Exploring the Intelligence, Behavior, and Individuality of Birds book cover
1st Edition

Avian Cognition
Exploring the Intelligence, Behavior, and Individuality of Birds

ISBN 9781498748421
Published December 1, 2015 by CRC Press
536 Pages 201 Color Illustrations

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Book Description

Unlike any other book, Avian Cognition thoroughly examines avian intelligence, behavior, and individuality. Preferences, choices, motivation, and habits of species, flocks, and individual birds are discussed and compared. This book investigates who birds are and why they do what they do. Daily, seasonal, and play activities, creativity, reasoning abilities, problem-solving skills, social interaction, life stages, and communication patterns are described, and a distinction is made between vocalizations that are learned and those that are inherited. The behavior and intelligence of both wild and pet birds is compared, and unlike other books, entire chapters are devoted to a single species.

Table of Contents

List of Tables. List of Figures. List of Photographs. Preface. What is Intelligence Anyway? Definitions, Models, and Theories. Learning. Thought. Emotion. Consciousness. Behavior. Language, Culture, and Technology. Adaptation, Instinct, and Intuition. Heron. Background. Green Heron. Great Blue Heron. Black-crowned Night Heron. Yellow-crowned Night Heron. Discussion. Canada Geese. Background. Characteristics. Family Life and Daily Activities. Seasonal Behaviors. Individual Behaviors. Discussion. Mallard Duck. Background. Characteristics. Family Life and Daily Activities. Seasonal Behaviors. Individual Behaviors. Comparison of Mallard Duck and Canada Geese Behavior. Discussion. Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Background. Characteristics. Family Life. Individual Behaviors. Discussion. Cardinal. Background. Characteristics. Family Life. Individual Behaviors. Discussion. Budgerigar. Background. Characteristics. Uzziel. Precious. Slate, Lilac, Sunflower, and Sky. Other Interesting, Surprising, and Amusing Behaviors. Discussion. Zebra Finches. Background. Characteristics. Adult Zebra Finch Behaviors. Development and Behavior of Zebra Finch Nestlings (0-3 months). Discussion. Meyer’s Parrot and Red-Bellied Parrot. Background. Characteristics. Squeaky. Sydney. Discussion. Indian Ringneck Parakeet. Background. Characteristics. Maku. Snapdragon. Bluebell. Dusty. Discussion. Mitred Conure. Background. Characteristics. Rudy. Buster. Discussion. Avian Communication Patterns. Background. Mallard Duck Ice Medley, Disk 1 Track 1. Canada Geese Winter Song, Disk 1 Track 2. Canada Goslings, Disk 1 Track 3. Zebra Finch Phonics, Disk 1, Track 4. Indian Ringneck Parakeet Roundtable, Disk 2 Track 1. Meyer’s Parrot Beeps and Whistles, Disk 2 Track 2. Mitred Conure Chortling, Disk 2 Track 3. Budgerigar Morning Chorus, Disk 2 Track 4. Epilogue. Annex E External factors to consider when giving a&

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Debra Herrmann is a Principal Research Scientist with the Biological Computing Initiative. She leads interdisciplinary research that examines the parallels between avian intelligence, behavior, learning, reasoning, problem solving, and communication skills and computer intelligence, artificial intelligence, neural nets, computer heuristics, and other biological computing models found in nature.

Debra has been active in the federal and academic research communities in the Washington, D.C. area for the past 30 years. She has competed for and received research funding ranging from $50K to $4M for various projects, and because of her expertise, Debra has been asked to sit on panels evaluating research proposals submitted to the U.S. government for funding.

Debra led or participated in all the observational field studies reported in this book. She has participated in birding activities locally and on three continents (so far) over a span of 30 years. Debra teaches graduate, undergraduate, and professional short courses. She is a frequent guest speaker at annual conferences, monthly educational seminars, and informal committee meetings hosted by scholarly organizations and general membership societies. Avian Cognition is her fifth book. Her hope is that Avian Cognition will serve as a catalyst for increased public understanding of avian intelligence and behavior, better treatment of wild and pet birds worldwide, and more research in this area.


"This is an engaging, well-written description of Herrmann’s observations and interpretation of the behavior of individual birds, both wild and companion...[and] offers insightful descriptions of behavior by an experienced, sensitive observer. This book is easy to read and copiously illustrated. It is a good gift for lovers of wild or companion birds."
M. Gochfeld, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in CHOICE, October 2016 Vol. 54 No. 2


"More than 30 individual birds and 15 species from different countries around the world were studied over a 30 year period, resulting in an amazing amount of information. Both psittacines and non-psittacines are included within this valuable research work, which makes this book appealing to all those interested in ornithological issues whether psittacines or not.…

Avian Cognition examines all aspects of a bird’s life in an effort to help understand intelligence, behaviour and individuality. Therefore, everything about an individual bird or bird species is presented in the same chapter.…

The final chapter discusses avian communication patterns providing background information for the two audio CDs that come with the book.…The numerous colour photographs (over 150) illustrate, through short range shots, subtle nuances of behaviour….

If you are serious in learning about the intelligence, behaviour and individuality of birds, then this is an essential read. It will also help to reinforce the relationship you have with your own birds, whether companion or breeding.

This hardback…contains a vast amount of information, which bird keepers will find invaluable."

John Catchpole, Parrots Magazine, November 2016