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Clever tool use in parrots and crows
Date:6/10/2011

This release is available in German.

The kea, a New Zealand parrot, and the New Caledonian crow are members of the two most intelligent avian families. Researchers from the Department of Cognitive Biology of the University of Vienna investigated their problem solving abilities as well as their innovative capacities. They are publishing two new studies one in cooperation with members of the Behavioral Ecology Research Group in Oxford in the scientific journals PLoS ONE and Biology Letters.

Parrots and Corvids frequently astonish researchers investigating animal intelligence, in particular when it comes to solving technical problems. The New Caledonian crow (Corvus monduloides), for example, manufactures and uses elongated objects such as sticks or pieces of Pandanus leaves as tools to probe for grubs in tree bark and dead wood. The kea (Nestor notabilis), a mountain parrot which is unknown to employ tools in the wild, can accomplish the use of compact objects tools to knock a food reward out of place.

Inspector and tool maker

The kea is a parrot endemic to the mountain region of the South Island of New Zealand such as Mount Cook National Park, Arthur's Pass. It is about 45 centimeters in body length, olive green with red underwings, highly curious and famous for its urge to examine and disassemble novel objects. With about 40 centimeters body length, the black New Caledonian crow, a corvid (crows, magpies, jays and ravens), is a medium sized representative of its family. Ludwig Huber, the leader of the Department of Cognitive Biology, explains: It shows great innovative skills when it comes to technical problems involving tool use."

Food reward in plexiglas box

The goal of the study, which was published in the scientific journal PLos ONE, was to compare the efficiency and the flexibility o
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Contact: Ludwig Huber
ludwig.huber@univie.ac.at
University of Vienna
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3 4

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