The ability to innovatively use or even manufacture different tools depending on a current situation can be silhouetted against examples of stereotyped, inborn tool use/manufacture and is thus often associated to advanced cognitive processing. In this study we confronted non-specialized, yet innovative tool making birds, Goffin's cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana), with an apparatus featuring an out-of-reach food reward that could be placed at different distances from a tool opening. Alternatively, the food stayed at a constant distance but the tool opening in the front of the apparatus had different diameters. We used a novel material for tool manufacture (cardboard) that demanded an incrementally increased manufacturing effort from the actor, depending on the length of the tool required. We found that our subjects used two strategies to succeed in this tasks: either by making carboard-stripe tools using the full length of the material sheets originally offered or by adjusting the lengths of their tools to different goal distances. Subjects also discarded cardboard stripes that were too short to reach the goal prior to use and discarded longer pieces when the goal was further away than when it was close. Nevertheless, likely due to morphological constraints, the birds failed to adjust the widths of their tools depending on the diameter of the tool opening.
Animals Cockatoos Female Learning Male Parrots Tool Use Behavior