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A novel form of spontaneous tool use displayed by several captive greater vasa parrots (Coracopsis vasa)

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Abstract

Parrots are frequently cited for their sophisticated problem-solving abilities, but cases of habitual tool use among psittacines are scarce. We report the first evidence, to our knowledge, of tool use by greater vasa parrots (Coracopsis vasa). Several members of a captive population spontaneously adopted a novel tool-using technique by using pebbles and date pits either (i) to scrape on the inner surface of seashells, subsequently licking the resulting calcium powder from the tool, or (ii) as a wedge to break off smaller pieces of the shell for ingestion. Tool use occurred most frequently just prior to the breeding season, during which time numerous instances of tool transfer were also documented. These observations provide newinsights into the tool-using capabilities of parrots and highlight the greater vasa parrot as a species of interest for studies of physical cognition.

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Original languageEnglish
Article number20150861
Number of pages4
JournalBiology Letters
Volume11
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

    Research areas

  • physical cognition, tool use, parrot, object manipulation, CHIMPANZEES

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