RESEARCH: Cockatoos can use several tools in a toolkit to retrieve food

Scientists found that cockatoos understand when a job requires a toolkit and multiple tools.

Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, in Austria, studied Goffin’s Cockatoos (Cacatua goffiniana) from Indonesia, reported the New Scientist LIFE magazine in February 2023.

Antonio Osuna-Mascary, a researcher at the University, said that the cockatoos know when to use more than one tool to retrieve food which, previously, scientists thought only chimpanzees could do. This makes the cockatoos only the second non-human animal to use multiple tools to achieve one task.

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Why do parrots live long lives?

Why do parrots live so long?

Scientists knew that large birds and parrots live long lives, but now a new study reveals the mystery of parrot longevity.

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behaviour and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany studied 217 parrot species (half of the known species of parrots), such as the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) in South America and the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita galerita) in Australia. They published their results in March 2022 in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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Salmon-Crested Cockatoo

The Salmon-Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua moluccensis) is a large bird in the parrot family. It is also known as the Moluccan Cockatoo.

The Salmon-Crested Cockatoo has white-pink feathers with a peach tint, a slight yellow colour underwing and yellowish underneath its tail feathers. It has a large bright orange-red crest. It has a large grey hooked beak. The male has a dark-brown or black eyes. The female has brown to red eyes. 

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Red-Vented Cockatoo

The Red-Vented Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia) is a critically endangered medium-sized bird. It is also known as the Philippine Cockatoo.

The Red-Vented Cockatoo is all white with a red undertail, called the vent. The vent feathers are tipped with white or yellowish ends. It has pale-yellow underwings. It has a whitish beak and pink-grey feet. Its eyes are dark with a white eye-ring. It has a slightly bulbous forehead.

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The Galah (Eolophus roseicapilla) is a common medium-sized Australian bird. It is also known as the Rose-Breasted Cockatoo or the Pink-and-Grey Cockatoo.

The Galah has distinctive pink and grey feathers. Its back is pale-silver to mid-grey. Its rump is grey. It has a pink face and chest, and a light-pink crest. Its beak is beige and its legs are grey. Males and females look similar, except that the male has dark-brown eyes, whereas the female has mid-brown or red eyes.

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Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo

The Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii) is also known as the Bank’s Black Cockatoo. It is a large bird, a parrot, native to Australia.

The Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo has all black feathers with a pair of bright red bars on its tail. It has a large crest on its head. It has brown eyes with a black eye-ring. Its beak and legs are dark-grey. It has three toes: two toes facing forward and one toe facing backward. It can stand on one foot and hold food in the other foot. Research has found that it is predominantly left-footed (as are most parrots).

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Palm Cockatoo

The Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) is a large parrot from New Guinea and a small area of northern Australia. It is also known as the Goliath Cockatoo or Great Black Cockatoo. Probosciger means long, thin nose.

The Palm Cockatoo is grey-black with red cheeks that can change colour when it is frightened or excited. It has a very large grey beak. It has the second largest beak of all parrots in the world (the Hyacinth Macaw has the largest beak). The top mandible (jaw) and the bottom mandible do not meet. It has a large crest. It has black feet and large black claws. It has black eyes.

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Greater Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

The Greater Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita galerita) is a large bird from northern, eastern, and southern Australia.

The Greater Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo is white, except for the underwing, undertail, and crest, which are yellow. Males have black eyes, and females have red or brown eyes. It has a white eye-ring, black beak, and grey legs. Instead of oil on their feathers for waterproofing, it has a fine powder called pulviplume.

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The Cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) is an Australian cockatoo, living in the native bush but also a favourite pet. It is the smallest of the cockatoo family, the Cacatuidae.

The Cockatiel has grey feathers with white patches on the wings. The male has a yellow or white face, while the female has a grey face. Both the male and the female have a round orange patch on their ears, which looks like rosy cheeks. It has a crest that rises or lies flat. It has long tail feathers.

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