Cockatoo Named Figaro Filmed Making Tools to Reach for Food

Posted on November 5, 2012

Figaro Cockatoo Tool Use

Researchers from the Universities of Oxford and Vienna filmed a clever Goffin's cockatoo named Figaro making tools to reach for food. The researchers don't know how Figaro learned to make and use tools.

Dr. Alice Auersperg of the University of Vienna, who led the study, said in the announcement, "During our daily observation protocols, Figaro was playing with a small stone. At some point he inserted the pebble through the cage mesh, and it fell just outside his reach. After some unsuccessful attempts to reach it with his claw, he fetched a small stick and started fishing for his toy. To investigate this further we later placed a nut where the pebble had been and started to film. To our astonishment he did not go on searching for a stick but started biting a large splinter out of the aviary beam. He cut it when it was just the appropriate size and shape to serve as a raking tool to obtain the nut."

Dr. Auersperg added, "It was already a surprise to see him use a tool, but we certainly did not expect him to make one by himself."

Take a look:

The same video can also be found here. The research was published here in Current Biology. The researchers say in the paper, "Our observations prove that innovative tool-related problem-solving is within this species' cognitive resources. As it is unknown for tools to play a major role in this species' ecology, this strengthens the view that tool competences can originate on general physical intelligence, rather than just as problem-specific ecological solutions."

Photo: Dr. Alice Auersperg

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