Okay, it seems like a dumb question (who can be smarter than humans, right) but are parrots more intelligent than you can imagine. They are insanely clever for pets. So, the real question lies in the human age. These birds are indeed more intelligent than newborns, but for how long? At what age do people outsmart their parrots?
While parrots are generally not smarter than humans, they are highly intelligent. Moreover, their intelligence, on average, can be compared to a six-year-old child. Thus, parrots are technically smarter than human children up until this age! Although our brains work incredibly similarly, Parrots are smarter than most people give them credit for!
Wow, that must be some impressive information about the way our brains are similar and how intelligent birds actually are. Let’s discuss it in detail, shall we? And determine how smart they are precisely.
Are Parrots As Sart As Humans?
Numerous studies have been conducted on parrots’ intelligence levels. They’ve shown incredible results in problem-solving, ability to learn, think abstractly, and so on. In many regards, parrots’ brains function the same way humans’ brains do. However, the capacity is still lower.
Considering how hard it is to study animal intelligence, those studies are correct to a degree. However, we’ll never know what exactly goes on in an animal’s brain. Well, technologies are there but not showing the whole picture.
Overall, parrots can be compared to human children in their intelligence level. So, they are not smarter than you and me. But way cleverer than other house pets.
Moreover, in some areas, parrots are even more intelligent than humans! Plus, I just know most of us wouldn’t live well in the wild!
How Is Parrots’ Intelligence Compared With Humans’?
Let me tell you one thing first – it’s already incredible that parrots are so bright that they can successfully complete tests used for humans! This alone shows an incredible level of intelligence for animals.
Among the popular tests is the mirror one that tests parrots’ self-awareness. And they ace it! Parrots do recognize themselves in the mirror and respond accordingly! This is one of the crucial measures of intelligence. And you know the most exciting part? They’ll look in the mirror at those body parts that they can’t see another way! And they are posing as well (where have they seen it? not from you, right?) And this is exactly what people do! Fascinating. This is where the ability to mimic human behavior may result in impressive notions.
A similar mirror test is often conducted on children as well. They start showing the initial self-awareness signs at around 12 months. So, we have at least this measure of comparison.
Another popular test category concerns shapes and colors. Through different manipulations, parrots are tested on their ability to understand quantity, colors, etc. And they are mostly great at it. Plus, they were proven to recognize objects and remember their names (up to fifty objects in a simple test)! And they understand the basics of cause and affect. AND they understand the notion of “the same” and “different.” The latter is the development of grown children!
Parrots so like puzzle tests the most! No wonder why – they are so good at these tests! You’ll be impressed, but parrots’ intelligence in these quizzes matches the intelligence of an average five-year-old!
Also, you’ve probably seen how good parrots are at math in those video tests! Way better than your average five and even seven-year-old child.
Smarter Than Humans
Also, one interesting concept that parrots understand way faster than children is the concept of zero. Simply speaking, just because an object is removed from your vision, it still exists. Thus it will look for a hidden object believing it still exists. Children start understanding it at the age of two-three years. A tested parrot – at the age of 21 weeks. How impressive is that?
In general, I suggest reading about the testing done on a parrot named Griffin. He shows some incredible results.
Also, doing this research, I’ve discovered that cockatoos can create and use their own tools. Not many animals (aside from humans) can do that. From the top of my head, apes/monkeys can, corvid bird family, and octopuses. Do you know other similar animals? Please, share your insight!
However, you should know that the real Einstein parrot is African Grey. It is regarded as the smartest parrot of all!
This is because they can often do things and understand concepts way beyond the capacity of a five or six-year-old child. So, if you want a really, really smart parrot, an African Grey should be your first option to consider. Plus, these birds can deal with a moderate-sized parrot cage and are quite independent. But remember that they need constant cognitive stimulation to stay healthy and intelligent.
How Are Parrot and Human Brains Different and Similar?
Well, you cannot dispute the bigger brains of humans. We have more brain cells and greater cognitive potential. And although parrots often speak human language words and even sentences, this is all just mimicking. Unfortunately, parrots do not have abilities to a real language. Yes, they start associating certain things with their names, but it can go so far. Yes, parrots can learn to use context, like answering “I’m great” when you ask “how is your day?.” However, this is only an acquired reflex, not a fundamental understanding.
In general, parrots’ brains are quite different from ours overall. We just have certain areas that function similarly. I’ve already described the numerous similarities. Combined, they make an impression of being precisely the same but underdeveloped. In reality, these are different brains, and parrots have their’s developed fully!
But that is enough for parrots to become great companions for humans.
In certain ways, parrot brains function better than ours – flight navigation. We couldn’t do that (at least, at this stage of our evolution.)
We recognized many parrot behaviors as humans and thus set them for our standards. And parrots do meet those standards with flying coloring. They are so great at the tested functions that our own children could be envious. If they knew what it was at a young age!
Overall, I believe that parrots are more intelligent than we give them credit for. HWe just has to find a new way to test it. Considering that our brains are different, the standards and testing should be different as well. If only we had a Dr. Doulittle who could tell us what exactly happened in a parrot’s brain.