The brown skua bird lives in Antarctica, which means it doesn’t frequently come into contact with humans. But when researchers from South Korea were stationed in the Antarctic to study the species, they found that despite having limited exposure to humans, the birds could readily determine which humans had gotten too close for comfort to their nest and eggs. And then, the skua would attack accordingly. The researchers describe this phenomena in the journal Animal Cognition.
There are of course plenty of species that appear to recognize specific people. Even in the wild, birds such as parrots and crows have shown this discerning ability. But what’s interesting about the skuas, is that the bird lives far from human contact, and has only been exposed to people since research stations were set up on the continent. They were first set up sparingly in the 1890s, but the number of them across Antarctica significantly increased in the 1950s.