Cockatoos Use Set of Tools to Reach Desired Rewards

Researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria, have discovered that Goffin’s cockatoos can use multiple tools to reach desired rewards. The experiment involved three captive birds who were shown the tools and were presented with a problem.

Goffin’s cockatoos were shown to mentally represent the need of more than one tool at foraging site. Thereby they actively transport sets of two different tools together to the problem at hand.

The researchers wanted to see if the birds would have enough recall to transport the tools needed to solve the problem and whether they transported them individually or as a set. The results contained a mixture of both.

Our cockatoos, did always have the opportunity to go back and forth, using one tool and then go back to pick up, transport and use the other. Instead, at least three of them learned to collect both tools in advance. This suggests that they can categorize both tools as a set.

Cockatoos are very clever and have known to solve puzzles and other mind-bending tricks. In fact, birds from the same lab showed incredible problem-solving abilities in a previous experiment in 2016.