Cockatoos teach tool-making tricks to other birds

Last updated at 06:34
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Figaro, the cockatoo, demonstrates tool-making to another bird

Cockatoos are battling to win the title of most intelligent bird.

The clever creatures have amazed researchers with their ability to teach each other how to use and even how to make tools.

A team studying the cockatoos have discovered that the birds copy tool-making tricks when they're demonstrated to them by another bird.

Cockatoo stripping a tool from a block of wood (c) A AuerspergA Auersperg
The birds make 'food fishing sticks" by stripping blocks of wood

The researchers are interested in what they call "technical intelligence", which is an animals' ability to use objects to solve problems.

"Cockatoos are very interesting for this, because they're very playful with objects," said Dr Alice Auersperg, from the University of Oxford and the University of Vienna.

She and her team mates noticed that one of birds in their research, named Figaro, used sticks to drag nuts under the bars.

Figaro, she explained, had created his own method of using the tool as a rake.

Winged wonder

Holding the end between his jaw and his tongue, the winged wonder would move the position of the stick to rake the nut towards himself.

After watching Figaro, the birds in the study achieved the same result more quickly by flicking the nut towards themselves with the stick.

"It's very interesting that they come up with this more effective technique," said Dr Auersperg.

The results have been published in the Royal Society journal Proceedings B.