Is It Possible For A Pigeon To Perform Mathematical Calculations?


Many people wonder about the cognitive abilities of animals, especially when it comes to complex tasks like mathematical calculations. One popular question that often arises is whether pigeons, known for their intelligence and problem-solving skills, can actually perform mathematical computations like addition, subtraction, or multiplication.

Pigeon Intelligence and Cognitive Skills

Researchers have studied the cognitive abilities of pigeons extensively and have found that these birds are capable of impressive feats of memory, spatial recognition, and problem-solving. Pigeons have shown the ability to navigate complex mazes, recognize themselves in mirrors, and even distinguish between different works of art. Their cognitive skills indicate a level of intelligence that goes beyond mere instinctual behavior.

Mathematical Abilities of Pigeons

While pigeons may not be able to perform mathematical calculations in the same way humans do, studies have shown that they have some numerical abilities. For example, pigeons have been trained to recognize quantities and perform tasks based on numerical cues. They can also understand concepts like relative quantity and ordinality, showcasing a basic but significant understanding of numbers and numerical concepts.

References and Studies

One study conducted by researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand found that pigeons were able to learn abstract mathematical rules and apply them in different scenarios. This study demonstrated that pigeons have the capacity to grasp and apply mathematical concepts beyond simple number recognition. Another notable study published in the journal Science showed that pigeons could even perform on par with primates in certain numerical tasks, highlighting the sophisticated cognitive abilities of these birds.


While pigeons may not be able to solve algebraic equations or calculus problems, they do possess some level of numerical cognition. Their ability to understand basic mathematical concepts highlights the impressive cognitive abilities of these birds and challenges traditional notions of animal intelligence. The studies and research conducted on pigeon cognition indicate that these seemingly ordinary birds possess a remarkable level of intelligence and cognitive skills that continue to fascinate and surprise researchers in the field of animal cognition.

Elena Mars

Elena writes part-time for the Scientific Origin, focusing mostly on health-related issues.