Cockatoos Are the First Birds That Possess and Use a Toolkit That Is Appropriate for Their Needs

Cockatoos were the first birds to carry and use a tool kit tailored to their needs. The capacity to solve issues with various tools is a rare capability in the animal kingdom.

Cockatoos transport entire toolkits to difficult jobs using tools

(Photo : Kyle Hinkson/ via Unsplash)

Goffin’s cockatoos are little white parrots that are indigenous to Indonesia’s Tanimbar Islands. They got picked when the researchers saw them in the wild making use of a tool kit, as per CNN.

Antonio Osuna Mascaró, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna and lead study author, along with his group, came up with experimental designs that imitated the two-tool, a termite-fishing technique used by chimpanzees to bore holes in termite mounds and afterward insert another stick to fish the termites out.

The first experiment, according to Osuna Mascaró, was having to fish cashews out of a box after making a hole in the membrane that was blocking it with a small, sharp stick and then extracting it with a larger, flexible stick.

One cockatoo left the trial early due to lack of interest, while four others failed to finish the first experiment successfully.

But only five continued on to the subsequent phase of the investigation.

The reasons why a few of the birds weren’t successful at the assignment would be intriguing to learn, according to Mark Briffa, associate head at the School of Biological and Marine Sciences at the University of Plymouth. 

Whether or not cockatoos would select the appropriate tool or tools for the appropriate activity was the focus of the second experiment on tool use flexibility.

Cockatoos randomly selected boxes that required either one or two tools to open in order to get the nuts.

This test was also a success for the cockatoos.

The scientists observed that four cockatoos eventually developed the ability to carry both tools simultaneously when necessary, even while flying, with three birds remarkably achieving it regularly.

Osuna Mascaró stated that the study marks the beginning of examining the cognitive capacities of cockatoos by demonstrating that they plan the use of their tools in accordance with the demands of the scenario.

Also Read: Goffin’s Cockatoos Craft Cutlery Tools to Extract Seed from Sea Mangoes

Cockatoo is known for their intelligence

Only a small number of the more than 10,000 bird species in the world have been identified as being exceptionally gifted and clever, as per Wingspan Optics.

The colorful crests and bent bills of cockatoos make them easily identifiable.

These friendly birds are very sociable and have excellent communication skills. They have extraordinary intelligence, and one of their many talents is their capacity to imitate a wide range of speech and sound.

More importantly, though, researchers found that the captive-bred Goffin’s cockatoos are capable of resisting the urge to eat food that is placed in front of them in exchange for a better reward down the road.

Cognitive ability of birds

The cerebral cortex’s development has been connected to mammals’ advanced cognitive abilities. But although birds lack a cerebral brain, some bird species exhibit extraordinary cognitive ability.

Instead, birds have a pallium, which is thought to be analogous to the cerebral cortex, as per RWTHAachen University.

Researchers have recently described a similar layered architecture, resembling the cortex of mammals, in an anatomical investigation of the avian pallium.

This indicated that despite 300 million years of independent development, the building blocks of cognition in humans and birds are the same.

Related Article: Cockatoos in Australia are Learning How to Bin Dive For Food From Each Other

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