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Brainy Birds Live The High Life In Cities

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Some birds avoid cities, but others purposefully move to them, seeking their own version of the big time.

The brainier a bird is, the better its chances are of thriving in a city, according to a new study that found many big-brained birds can succeed in urban environments.

“Big” in this case refers to brain size relative to body size. In other words, the larger the ratio of brain to body, the more likely the bird will thrive in an urban environment.

“Species with relatively larger brains tend to have broader diets, live in diverse habitats and have a higher propensity for behavioral innovations in foraging,” lead author Alexei Maklakov told Discovery News. “They are better able to establish viable populations when introduced to new habitats by humans.”

Maklakov, a researcher in the Department of Animal Ecology at Uppsala University, and his colleagues studied how well — or not — 82 species of passerine birds belonging to 22 avian families did in and around a dozen cities in France and Switzerland.

Bird species that were able to breed in city centers were considered successful colonizers. Birds that bred around the cities, but not in the urban regions themselves, were considered to be urban avoiders.

For the study, which is published in the latest issue of Royal Society Biology Letters, the scientists also looked at the brain size and body mass of each bird….

Via http://news.discovery.com/animals/brainy-birds-city-urban-110427.html

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Written by Nokgiir

April 27, 2011 at 11:33 pm

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