A Clever Cockatoo Shows How to Repeatedly Solve the Same Problem Using Different Materials

Researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna along with their counterparts at the University of Oxford have found that the Goffin’s cockatoo, a non-nesting bird, can repeatedly solve the same problem using different materials each time. The experiment involved three captive birds, Figaro, Dolittle and Kiwi, who all had experience solving the problem previously.

Research into Goffin’s cockatoos’ tool behaviour started after a captive male named Figaro spontaneously and reliably manufactured tools by cutting splinters out of larch wood, using them to rake in food placed behind the aviary grid. In a set of 10 observations, Figaro showed nine instances of tool making, one involving a different substrate (snipping of a branch from a leafless twig). As he took approximately four times as long to make his first tool as for any subsequent tool it is likely that we recorded his original innovation event.

via CNET

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.