Individual preferences for sound tool design in a parrot

Heinsohn, R., Zdenek, C.N., Appleby, D., and Endler, J.A. (2023) Individual preferences for sound tool design in a parrot. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, Biological Sciences, 290 (2006). 20231271.

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The rarity of tool manufacture in wild parrots is surprising because they share key life-history traits with advanced tool-using species, including large brains, complex sociality and prolonged parental care. When it does occur, tool manufacture in parrots tends to be innovative, spontaneous and individually variable, but most cases have been in captivity. In the wild, only palm cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus) have been observed using tools regularly. However, they are unusual because they use tools to enhance their displays rather than for foraging or self-maintenance. Males in northern Australia make two types of tool from sticks and seed pods, which they tap rhythmically against a tree during display. We analysed 256 sound tools retrieved from 70 display trees. Drumsticks (89% of tools) were used more often than seed pod tools; most males manufactured only drumsticks, but some made both types. Individual males differed significantly in the design of their drumsticks including the length, width and mass but we found no evidence that neighbours copied each other. We discuss the highly individualized preferences for sound tool design in context of the behavioural predispositions behind the rarity of tool manufacture in wild parrots.

Item ID: 80853
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2954
Keywords: parrot, sound tool, tool design, tool manufacture, tool type
Copyright Information: © 2023 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2024 02:37
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280102 Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences @ 100%
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