Top 11 Dumbest Birds in the World (With Photos!)

“Dumbest Birds” is a rather subjective term, as intelligence varies greatly among bird species.

However, there are certainly some birds that exhibit behaviors or characteristics that might make them seem less than brilliant.

Let’s explore some of these fascinating creatures in this light-hearted and engaging article.

Top 11 Dumbest Birds in the World (With Photos!)

The list begins with…

1. Kakapo

The Kakapo is a flightless parrot native to New Zealand.

Despite their endearing appearance, Kakapos have earned a reputation for being rather dim-witted due to their lack of natural predator awareness.

This, combined with their inability to fly, has made them vulnerable to extinction.

2. Emu

Emus, the large, flightless birds native to Australia, are often considered among the “dumbest birds.”

While they may not be the brightest birds in the flock, they are known for their curious nature and adaptability to various environments.

3. Ostrich

Ostriches, the largest birds in the world, are another species that might be considered less than intelligent.

Their famous “head in the sand” behavior, which is actually a myth, has contributed to this perception.

However, ostriches are known for their strong survival instincts and impressive speed when faced with danger.

4. Lilac-Breasted Roller

The Lilac-Breasted Roller is a beautiful and colorful bird native to Africa.

While their appearance is stunning, they are not necessarily known for their intelligence.

In fact, their main defense mechanism is to simply fly away when threatened.

5. Northern Fulmar

The Northern Fulmar, a seabird found in the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, might not be the brightest bird in the sky.

Their primary defense mechanism is to spit a foul-smelling oil at predators, which, while effective, doesn’t necessarily showcase their intelligence.

6. Turkey

Domesticated turkeys have earned a reputation for being rather unintelligent.

Some say they are so “dumb” that they will stare up at the sky during a rainstorm and potentially drown.

However, wild turkeys are known to be quite cunning and resourceful.

7. Cardinal

Cardinals, known for their vibrant red color and beautiful songs, are sometimes considered dim-witted due to their tendency to attack their own reflection.

These territorial birds often mistake their reflection in windows or mirrors for an intruder and will repeatedly attempt to drive it away.

8. Killdeer

The Killdeer, a small shorebird, is known for its unique “broken-wing” act.

When a predator approaches its nest, the Killdeer will pretend to have a broken wing and lead the predator away.

While this behavior can be seen as clever, the bird is also known to be easily fooled by decoy nests.

9. Red-Necked Phalarope

The Red-Necked Phalarope is a small migratory bird that breeds in the Arctic.

These birds have a peculiar behavior of spinning in circles on the water’s surface to create a vortex that brings food to the surface.

While this strategy is effective, it may not be the most intelligent way to find food.

10. Secretary Bird

The Secretary Bird is an African bird of prey known for its long legs and striking appearance.

Despite being a raptor, they are not considered the most intelligent of their kind.

However, they are known for their unique hunting technique, which involves stomping on snakes and other prey with their powerful feet.

11. Dodo

The Dodo, an extinct flightless bird native to Mauritius, is often considered the poster child for “dumb birds.”

Their lack of fear of humans and inability to fly made them easy targets for hunters, ultimately leading totheir extinction.

While the Dodo’s behavior may not have been the most intelligent, their demise was primarily due to human intervention and habitat destruction.

FAQs About The Dumbest Birds

What bird has the lowest intelligence?

It’s difficult to pinpoint the bird with the lowest intelligence, as there are many factors to consider when evaluating a bird’s intellect. However, some bird species, such as the Kakapo, have been labeled as having lower intelligence due to specific behaviors or vulnerability to predators.

How smart are birds?

Bird intelligence varies greatly among species. Some birds, like crows and parrots, are known for their exceptional problem-solving abilities and cognitive skills. Other species may have more specialized adaptations for survival, making them appear less intelligent by comparison.

Which bird has the highest IQ?

Birds do not have an “IQ” in the same way humans do, but some species are known for their advanced cognitive abilities. The African Grey Parrot, for example, is highly intelligent and capable of advanced problem-solving and mimicry.

Which bird has the lowest IQ?

It’s challenging to determine the bird with the lowest “IQ” because intelligence varies greatly among species. Some birds, like the Kakapo, may be perceived as less intelligent due to specific behaviors or vulnerability to predators.

What’s the IQ of a crow?

Birds do not have an “IQ” in the same way humans do. However, crows are known for their exceptional intelligence and problem-solving skills, often exhibiting behaviors that suggest advanced cognitive abilities.

How high is a pigeon’s IQ?

Pigeons do not have an “IQ” like humans, but they are known for their impressive navigational skills and ability to recognize themselves in mirrors. Pigeons can also be trained to perform various tasks, suggesting a level of intelligence.

Are pigeons the dumbest bird?

Pigeons are not considered the “dumbest” bird. While they may not possess the problem-solving abilities of some other bird species, they have remarkable navigational skills and can be trained to perform tasks.

Are owls the dumbest birds?

Owls are not considered the dumbest birds. While they may not be as intelligent as some species, they have exceptional hunting skills and adaptations that make them effective predators.

Why is the Kakapo the dumbest bird?

The Kakapo is considered by some to be the “dumbest bird” due to its lack of natural predator awareness and inability to fly. These traits have made the Kakapo vulnerable to extinction. However, intelligence varies greatly among bird species, and the term “dumb” may be misleading.

Final Thoughts About The Dumbest Birds

In conclusion, while some bird species may exhibit behaviors that might make them seem less intelligent, it’s essential to remember that each bird species has its unique adaptations and survival strategies.

Calling them the “dumbest birds” might be a bit of an exaggeration, but these fascinating creatures provide an intriguing look at the diverse and captivating world of birds.

Remember to appreciate the remarkable diversity of the avian world and the many ways they have adapted to survive and thrive in their environments.

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.