Toolcraft and Use

Neat article seeing it in the Avian community

A captive-bred Goffin’s cockatoo has surprised researchers by spontaneously making and using “tools” to reach food.

The species is not known to use tools in the wild.

Researchers in Austria recorded the cockatoo – named Figaro – repeatedly breaking off splinters from a wooden beam and using them to reach nuts on the other side of his wire enclosure.

The team believe Figaro’s feat is the first recorded instance of tool-making among parrots….”No-one has ever reported [a parrot] sculpturing a tool out of shapeless wood in order to use it later with great sophistication,” said Professor Alex Kacelnik of Oxford University, an author of the study.

While birds from the corvid family, such as New Caledonian crows, are known to make tools in the wild, this specialised ability is very rarely reported in other bird species.

Researchers were unexpectedly alerted to Figaro’s tool-using ability while he was playing with a pebble and accidentally dropped it out of reach on the other side of his wire mesh enclosure.

After some unsuccessful attempts to reach his toy with his claw, Figaro used a stick from the aviary floor to try to fish for the object, levering it with his beak.

What I want to know is when he builds the perfect splinter-lever from the board, if he saves it for future use. Watch the video, its neat!

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2 Responses to Toolcraft and Use

  1. AZRon says:

    I’m guessing that Figaro would taste mighty fine in a pilaf, unless he could vocalize an objection.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      To be fair, if a cow talks or not, doesn’t make them any less delicious. Same goes for these tropical birds that seem to eat a LOT of fruit and nuts. That spells yummy to me!

      Also on an interesting biological note, currently Humans are the only species in the genus Homo, but there was a time when our species shared the earth with a large herbivorous hominid, Homo erectus, and there is some evidence that not only may they be the origin of why so many cultures talk of savage giants in their lore, but that they may have vanished because we ate them.

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