These Birds Can Count

News: The Curiosity Podcast is here! Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, SoundCloud and RSS.

The New Zealand robins recognized when they had been "cheated" by researchers, who put two mealworms into a box that would then show the robin only one. These results imply that the robins can measure values—a skill that might have developed along with the species' propensity for stealing stored food from their mates.


Love getting smarter? Sign up to our newsletter and get our best content in your inbox!

Share the knowledge!

Key Facts In This Video

  1. See how a "magic" box is used to hide mealworms and prove that birds can count: 00:34

  2. New Zealand robins appear to count the number of mealworms that a researcher places into a box, and will search if they know one is missing. 00:59

  3. The counting ability of New Zealand robins may stem from the fact that they commonly steal from one another. 01:20