Bird Minds

Cognition and Behaviour of Australian Native Birds

November 2015
More details
  • Publisher
    CSIRO Publishing
  • Published
    6th November 2015
  • ISBN 9781486300181
  • Language English
  • Pages 272 pp.
  • Size 6.625" x 9.625"
  • Images 69 illus

Winner of a 2016 Whitley Award Commendation for Behavioural Zoology

Recent published papers in the field of neurobiology and neuropsychology have dramatically changed our thinking about the avian brain and behavioral potential of birds, especially in the areas of learning, memory, plasticity, and in the cognitive and emotional domains. Bird Minds provides a fresh view of the behavior of Australian native avifauna, presenting a portrait of cognitive well-equipped species, which is somewhat removed from the traditional image of birds as fluttering, colorful ornaments that tend to move like automata.

The book will focus on the specific abilities of Australian birds, examining why they have had to find – largely cognitive – ways of adapting to difficult conditions. The demands of the Australian environment have led to the development of cognitively complex processes that are unique in the world, including complex behaviors such as grieving, deception, problem solving and the use of tools. Many Australian birds cooperate and defend each other, and exceptional ones go fishing by throwing breadcrumbs in the water, extract poisonous parts from prey and use tools to crack open eggshells and mussels.

1 Australian conditions and their consequences
2 Cooperative behaviour of groups and pairs
3 The expression of emotions
4 Learning and development
5 Master songbirds and mimics
6 Cognitive abilities
7 Food switchers and food explorers
8 Implications for the care of captive native birds

Gisela Kaplan

Gisela Kaplan is Emeritus Professor in Animal Behavior at the University of New England and an Honorary Professor at the Queensland Brain Institute. She is the author of over 250 research articles and 21 books and has conducted groundbreaking research into vocal learning, communication and cognition in birds and other vertebrates. She holds two PhDs and an honorary DSc for her contributions to life sciences. In addition to extensive research on birds in the wild, for the past two decades she has also raised and rehabilitated injured native birds.