Latest Issue of Science News


Hatch a Thief: Brains incline birds toward a life of crime

It's not brawn but brains that matter in the rise of crime families among birds.

That's one of the conclusions from a study of traits shared by families of bird species notorious for stealing food, says Julie Morand-Ferron of the University of Québec in Montréal.

The propensity to pilfer turns up in some lineages of birds more than in others, and ideas abound about what bird features typically accompany thievery and might have favored its evolution. Morand-Ferron and her colleagues tested proposed criminal profiles by analyzing 856 reports in the scientific literature of bird-on-bird food snatching.

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.