I am hoping to get some help with a puzzle that I've been struggling with. The puzzle is called "Who killed the vole" and it goes like this:

There are four birds - hawk, owl, sparrow, and eagle - who are asked to identify the killer of a vole. The birds make the following statements:

  • Hawk did it, said the owl.
  • Hawk did it, said the sparrow.
  • Sparrow is lying, said the hawk.
  • It wasn't me, said the eagle.

Only one of the birds is telling the truth.

I am having trouble figuring out who the killer really is. I have read and re-read the statements, but I am still not sure where to start. Can anyone provide any insight or help me figure out the solution?

According to the solution online of the puzzle, it seems like the eagle could be the killer, since it denies responsibility and only one bird is telling the truth. I need help understanding why.

Here is where I found the puzzle: https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/869145673197580298/1083855309942030346/PIL_-_sammanfattning_av_fragor_oscar_bakhouch.doc


1 Answer 1


You have four statements, only one of which can be true. To start, two of the statements are the same, so these must both be a lie. This eliminates the Hawk as a suspect. On to the next statement, the Hawk says "the sparrow is lying". We have already established that the Owl and Sparrow are lying, so the Hawk is the one truthteller. This means the last statement must be a lie. The Eagle proclaims "it wasn't me", and since we know this is a lie, it must be the Eagle.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the answer. I am not sure I follow why the Hawk is telling the truth and not the Eagle? $\endgroup$
    – cricket900
    Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 22:10
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ It is because we already determined that the sparrow is lying and that therefore "the sparrow is lying" is a true statement. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 10, 2023 at 22:30

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