A bird species in Antarctica seems to be able to recognize individual people, a talent we more often hear about in high-IQ birds such as crows and magpies.
A team of scientists from South Korea has just published a study in the journal Animal Cognition detailing its work with brown skuas (Stercorarius antarcticus), Antarctic-breeding seabirds that, in field tests, appeared to be able to recognize specific humans who had been near their nests.
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The researchers were checking a colony of the birds' nests once a week while monitoring their breeding status. Each time they checked the nests, the skuas grew more aggressive in their attacks – "yelling," following the scientists, and even kicking the heads of the human intruders.
The team decided to test whether or not the birds would know how to tell humans who'd been to their nests from those who had not.
In the sample research video below, two men can be seen walking together. Each peels off in a different direction, with brown skua parents showing an attack preference for the man turning to the right.
The attacked man had visited the birds' nests and measured the nestlings, while the man turning left had not.