Living beings tend to adapt themselves according to their surroundings. However, so far, only humans and chimpanzees have been able to use tools to reach for food placed in difficult-to-reach places. Now researchers have found that Indonesian white parrots or yellow-crested cockatoos can also pass the ‘tool kit test’.
Image Credit- Pixabay
What is so special about cockatoos?
No doubt cockatoos are popular pet birds, as they are beautiful and charming creatures. Scientifically known as Cacatuidae, these birds are endemic to Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand and Indonesia. They are known to be the most affectionate species of parrots and develop a very strong bond with the owner if properly spoon-fed and tamed. Petting a Cockatoo is more like taking care of a baby because they want their owner to give them full attention all the time.
How well did Cockatoos do?
Cockatoos are famous for their craft skills, they have been reportedly seen making and using tools out of tree branches, but now they have impressively shown some advanced skills. In the research, cashews, their favourite food, were placed in a glass vending machine and the opening was then covered with a paper screen.
To reach their treat, they first had to pierce the paper and then use some pointy tool to get the nut out of the machine. They had options for different tools and had to use the right one. Antonio Osuna-Mascaro, a researcher at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, said that the birds have shown a mental representation of using proper tools in this study.
Image Credit- Pixabay
Cockatoos managed to figure out using two tools within 35 seconds, which is a very good start for a species not known to have any such skills. Two brightest birds made it within seconds but when four out of five birds did a perfect job, it came as a surprise that they could plan the right steps and tools to reach the food. The close relationship of these pets with their owners might have helped them adapt to the techniques, but the studies haven’t revealed any particular reason behind this behaviour.
The study consisted of 10 Cockatoos out of which five were able to solve the situations consistently. One of the two brightest birds of the folk was an alpha male. Not only did he know how to use the tools, but he also carried multiple tools at a time so that he didn’t have to make round trips. Dr Osuna said that like chimpanzees the birds were aware and purposely using multiple tools at a time and it wasn’t just a mindless tactic.
The study was published in the journal Current Biology.
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