There aren’t many animals that use multiple tools to solve a task, now the Goffins cockatoos are added to the list. What is equally important, researchers have determined that the birds know that they know how to use the tools and can decide which tools to use. This indicates that they have metacognition.
A team of researchers led by Antonio Osuna-Mascaro from the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna tested both tame and wild cockatoos. They found that the birds actually have a set of tools that they use and can decide which tools will work best for the task at hand. They use up to three different tools and will carry more than one to accomplish their goal. Birds often play with different objects, but this study showed the behavior that the birds exhibited was not play but that they were solving a task.
Sue’s Note: Bit by bit our understanding of animals as well as being able to develop the right kind of tests shows how intelligent animals are. I am confident that we have much more to learn. Because this report is very good, rather long and detailed, I suggest that you click on the link and read it. I try to keep my blog posts short and to the point.
- Antonio J. Osuna-Mascaró, Mark O’Hara, Remco Folkertsma, Sabine Tebbich, Sarah R. Beck, Alice M.I. Auersperg. Flexible tool set transport in Goffin’s cockatoos. Current Biology, 2023; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2023.01.023