Parrots and crows possess innovative skills for solving technical problems involving tool use, scientists have found.
Researchers from the Department of Cognitive Biology of the University of Vienna investigated the problem solving abilities of the kea, a New Zealand parrot, and the New Caledonian crow.
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.
The researchers from the University of Vienna cooperated with their colleagues from the Department for Zoology of the University of Oxford.
They confronted six kea and five New Caledonian crows with a Multi Access Box in a transparent plexiglas cube.
Each side wall represented another possible solution to achieve the same food reward, which was presented on a platform in the center of the box.
The experiment showed how these animals intelligently use the tools to accomplish the solutions.
The finding was published in the scientific journal PLos ONE.