Preprint Review Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Executive Functions in Birds

Version 1 : Received: 19 January 2022 / Approved: 20 January 2022 / Online: 20 January 2022 (20:52:34 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Bobrowicz, K.; Greiff, S. Executive Functions in Birds. Birds 2022, 3, 184-220. Bobrowicz, K.; Greiff, S. Executive Functions in Birds. Birds 2022, 3, 184-220.


Executive functions comprise top-down cognitive processes that exert control over information processing, from acquiring information to issuing a behavioural response. These cognitive processes of inhibition, working memory and shifting underpin complex cognitive skills, such as episodic memory and planning, which have been repeatedly investigated in several bird species in recent decades. Until recently, avian executive functions were studied in relatively few bird species, but have gained traction in comparative cognitive research following MacLean and colleagues’ large-scale study (2014). Therefore, in this review paper, relevant previous findings are collected and organized to facilitate further investigations of these core cognitive processes in birds. This review can assist in integrating findings from avian and mammalian cognitive research and further current understanding of executive functions’ significance and evolution.


executive functions; executive control; birds; inhibition; working memory; shifting; flexibility


Social Sciences, Behavior Sciences

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