The Genius of Birds

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The Genius of Birds
The Genius of Birds.jpg
First edition (US)
AuthorJennifer Ackerman
SubjectBird intelligence
PublisherPenguin Press
Publication date
April 12 2016
AwardsNew York Times Bestseller

The Genius of Birds is a 2016 book by nature writer Jennifer Ackerman.[1]


The Genius of Birds highlights new findings and discoveries in the field of bird intelligence. The book explores birds as thinkers (contrary to the cliché "bird brain") in the context of observed behavior in the wild and brings to it the scientific findings from lab and field research.[2]

New research suggests that some birds, such as those in the family corvidae, can rival primates and even humans in forms of intelligence. Much like humans, birds have enormous brains relative to the rest of their bodies.

Ackerman highlights the complex social structures of avian society. They are capable of abstract thinking, problem solving, recognizing faces, gift giving, sharing, grieving, and meaningful communication with humans. Ackerman goes in depth to highlight scientific studies that uncover behavior such as tool usage, speaking in regional accents, navigation and theory of mind.


The book is a New York Times Best Seller[3] and was named one of the 10 best nonfiction books of 2016 by The Wall Street Journal.[4]


  1. ^ Ackerman, Jennifer (12 April 2016). "The Genius of Birds". Jennifer Ackerman. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  2. ^ Ackerman, Jennifer (12 April 2016). The Genius of Birds. Penguin Press. ISBN 1594205213.
  3. ^ "The Genius of Birds by Jennifer Ackerman". GoodReads. 12 April 2016. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  4. ^ The WSJ Top 10 Nonfiction Books of 2016