Fearlessness as a sign of stupidity?

I was actually having a discussion about parrotlets with my significant other the other day, and he said that parrotlets are not very smart because they are so fearless and have no caution.At first I thought that a bird’s bold attitude does not equal stupidity, but just a personality trait.But then I realized that there could be a relation between intelligence and fearlessness.Think about it, a smart woman wouldn’t follow a creepy looking man home because he somehow convinced her- she would be wary. With kids too, an intelligent kid wouldn’t get in the car with a complete stranger because the driver offered him something nice. You know what I mean? We have the intelligence to analyze our surroundings and question whether there is a danger factor or not. We are very cautious.Moving this over to birds, I can’t speak from experience, but I really don’t think an african grey would try to take on a german shepherd, no big deal. But parrotlets in general will, because they think they are 10 feet tall and bulletproof- when they are not. IMO a parrotlet taking on a cat is equivalent to a person jumping off a cliff thinking he will land safely. What do you guys think? Would you still call parrotlets intelligent?

I say it’s a trait of intelligence. Let’s compare two groups of animals. The crocodilia and the cetaceans. Both the crocodile family and the whale family started pretty much the same. They were both land dwelling animals, and due to a change in environment, they both adapted to being in the water. Both species still relies on oxygen, but that’s just about where the similarities end. Crocodiles have been around for millions of years. Over the years, evolution hasn’t really taken any big leaps with this family. Crocodiles have been surviving and doing the same thing, the same hunting and survival techniques for millions of years. It’s worked for them. Now, lets look at whales. As we all probably know, they are highly developed mentally. Their intelligence rivals parrots and the great apes. If you look at different pods of orca whales as an example, each pod will hunt in their own way. Some pods use air bubbles to trap fish, others will go onshore to catch sea lions. They are always trying new things, and taking new risks.Of course the crocodilia has been around for millions of years, but surely, the risk taking cetaceans are superior when it comes to cognitive abilities. Now, let’s look at the little parrotlet. Sure, it may seem foolish to chase the large dog. But looking at the larger picture, I think curiosity is a trait of intelligence.Just a thought. I could be wrong.

Hmm, that’s a good point. But I still think no man would jump at a tiger unless he was an idiot.

You won’t learn anything if you don’t try

I’d say parrotlets evolved to become so bold and aggressive because they have a lot of competition from other bird species in the wild. If they were timid push-overs, who acted their size, well they wouldn’t stand much of a chance as a species. Competition for nest-sites and food is too feirce. So, I’d say there’s absolutely nothing “stupid” about it!

I don’t know if it correlates with intelligence. Parrotlets/Chihuahuas - somewhere along the line they evolved to have attitudes. Sometimes attitude is more powerful than size. Who wants to mess with a psychotic midget?

chihauhaus didnt evolve that way. We people bred them that way.There’s not a chihauhau in the world that would survive one day in the wild…Their attitude has nothing to do with natural evolution. Theres a difference between parrotlets and parrots. Parotlets need to make a living in a huge flock consisting of hundreds of birds of sometimes not even the same species. Most large parrots live together in a family flock no bigger than 20 animals. They dont need to fight for food, they need to cooperate.

I think there is a correlation, but only when the animal in question has been exposed to the “danger” before. Take touching a hot stove: if two creatures who have never been exposed to a hot stove before and have no idea what it is, one being more timid than the other and not approaching it signals a difference in curiosity or inherent timidity more than intelligence. But, if having touched a hot stove once and suffered the consequences, one of them approaches it a second time, I would judge that creature less intelligent. I don’t think inherent timidity is correlated with intelligence, although all prey animals tend to be more timid than predators are, the survival benefit seems obvious. Curiosity and imagination are both traits we tend to think of as being positively correlated with intelligence, but I don’t know how to judge if birds posses imagination in the sense of looking at an unknown creature and imagining it may attack them. The certainly possess curiosity at some level, and their problem-solving skills suggest some ability to imagine or project a consequence. I suspect it is more likely that a tendency to be inherently afraid of a dog or not is either correlated with overall level of fearfulness or whatever natural predators exist in that species native environment. I can imagine, for example, that ground birds are more likely to be “wired” to fear dogs and cats than those which spend almost all their time in trees. Then there is plain old brain size. It is very easy to imagine that intelligence is directly correlated with brain size and that a smaller bird is bound to be less bright than a bigger one. In general this seems true. However, this argument is often used to prove how “bird-brained” birds must be, so I wouldn’t apply it in comparing birds to other animals, or even parrots to turkeys, so I’m not sure that’s a given either.Has anyone devised a good intelligence test for birds? It would be kind of fun to be able to test our flocks and see what kind of results we got!

I think that some of it has got to do with small dog (or in this case - parrot) syndrome. the cuter and smaller they are the more they are allowed to get away with and the quicker we jump to their defenceI think alot of the stuff on this web site is valid for parrotlets too:http://www.dogbreedinfo.com/articles/smalltoydogs.htm