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Cockatoo observed making custom tools

Posted on Wednesday, 7 November, 2012 | Comment icon 13 comments | News tip by: evil_kenshin

Image credit: CC 3.0 Doug Janson

Researchers were stunned to discover that a captive cockatoo was able to build its own tools.

Cockatoos in their native habitat have never been observed making tools, but now captive cockatoo Figaro has turned what is known about the birds on its head by manufacturing a number of stick based tools to retrieve food placed on the other side of a wire mesh. Toolmaking and problem solving of this level is considered to be exceedingly rare in nonhuman animals.

In one incident Figaro took 25 minutes to pull a splinter of wood from a wooden beam and then used it to move some food closer to him so that he could pick it up with his beak. "He did everything: tool use, tool manufacture, and tool modification," said biologist Alice Auersperg. "Two other cockatoos (Heidi and Pipon) were also tested, but neither succeeded at the task_although Heidi, who had witnessed Figaro at work, did break off small pieces of wood and inserted them through the mesh."

"Figaro may not be as talented an inventor as Leonardo da Vinci, but among Goffin's cockatoos, he's a prodigy."

  View: Full article |  Source: Independent

  Discuss: View comments (13)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by Abramelin on 7 November, 2012, 4:23
Heh, the parrot knocked the peanut from the ridge first, and someone had to put another peanut to give the parrot another chance. Rooks and crows have been filmed using a wire that they bent in the shape of a hook to get what they could only easily get with a hook. Well ok, maybe parrots will eventually catch up...
Comment icon #5 Posted by synchronomy on 7 November, 2012, 4:42
I had a Goffin cockatoo for many years. My ex-wife still has him now. He'd be about 30 years old now. He can do all kinds of clever things. When he was young he figured out how to open his cage latch, which was tricky, even I had trouble with it because it was very stiff. I put a combination lock on it, and from seeing me open it, he started playing with it. He would spend hours turning the dial back and forth with his beak and claws. Don't get excited...he never figured out the combination, he just mimicked the action. He could open a jar of peanut butter if you didn't put th... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by Junior Chubb on 7 November, 2012, 14:43
Comment icon #7 Posted by WoIverine on 7 November, 2012, 19:23
Figaro should be allowed to vote. He'd at least be more informed than the people Howard Stern interviewed, that's not really saying much, but it's something.
Comment icon #8 Posted by pallidin on 8 November, 2012, 0:57
Oh great, soon we will be out-sourcing to Cockatoos.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Hilander on 8 November, 2012, 1:05
I use to have a parrot and they are very smart. When I lived in this one apartment I lost him one day. He was green and the carpet was green. I like to of never found him. He was following me around.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Hilander on 8 November, 2012, 1:07
Mine use to screech so loud that I was afraid it would make the neighbors mad.
Comment icon #11 Posted by Lava_Lady on 8 November, 2012, 7:00
I have 2 cockteils a male and fermale, they have never built any tools but they sure know how to make me nuts with the screeching. My boy can say a few phrases, that he learned to mimick on his own, learned a few songs but his ability to make my eyes cross and my muscles twitch with insanity is his best trick! Even his mate gets tired of it and she pecks him when she's had enough! Lol his look of confusion when that happens always cracks me up... Like he's wondering what her problem is, all he was doing was singing a most beautiful song for her... sheesh!
Comment icon #12 Posted by DKO on 10 November, 2012, 8:40
They're smart and they love to jam.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Lava_Lady on 10 November, 2012, 9:32
Haha! Adorable!! X)

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