Australian birds have a lot to teach us about living long and happy lives according to Professor Gisela Kaplan from the Centre for Neuroscience and Animal Behaviour at the University of New England.
“There are various levels at which we’ve grossly underestimated the intelligence of animals,” she said when speaking to ABC Central Victoria.
Professor Kaplan has studied countless birds, including her own 75-year-old galah, and said that many shared similar traits to humans.
According to her research, magpies are capable of cognitive thinking—understanding the concept of an object temporarily disappearing when playing a game of hide and seek.
“These ‘people plays’ are conceptually quite difficult,” Professor Kaplan said.
Language is another skill, with cockatoos capable of mimicry, which she likens to the “babbling” of a baby.
“That is the first step to learning the intonations and sounds of, let’s say, speech in humans or of their own song,” Professor Kaplan said.
In some cases she said mimicry extended to actual functions necessary for survival.