Clever parrots learn through social interaction

Kibatan who opens the lid of the household trash can. Credits: Barbara Klump / Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior

For the first time, a team of international scientists have demonstrated that parrots, Australia’s iconic bird species, learn from each other the unique skills of lifting the trash can lid and collecting food.The world’s first study announced today Science, Confirm that Aum has spread this new behavior through social learning. A team led by Barbara Klump, Lucy Aplin (Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior), John Martin (Taronga Conservation Society), and Richard Major (Australian Museum) showed that this behavior by Aum was actually learned, not the result. .. Of genetics.

Lead co-author Barbara Crump said that social learning is the basis of various regional cultures, and that some animals, such as primates and birds, appear to be socially learning. “Children are masters of social learning. From an early age, they copy skills from other children and adults, but compared to humans, there are few known examples of animals learning from each other,” Crump said. Said.

“Indicates cleaning of the food Action It’s a challenge that it’s not genetic, “Crump added.

But a few years ago, Richard Major shared a video with senior author Lucy Apron and showed Kibatan opening a closed trash can. The parrot used his beak and feet to lift the heavy lid, shuffle it along the sides, turn it over, and access the rich rewards of leftover food.

Aprin and Crump, who then continued their research at Oxford University and then moved to the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior in Germany, were fascinated by this footage.

Editing of two clips showing Kibatan opening the lid of a household trash can to serve food. Clip 1 shows a bird grabbing a lid with an edge, holding it in a handprint, walking along the left side of the bottle, and pushing it open until the lid flips over. Clip 2 shows the colored Kibatan trying to open the lid several times and failing. Then grab the lid with the hand and your left foot, hold it with the hand, walk along the right side of the bin, and push until the lid flips over. Two more color-coded birds join the first bird and remove food from the bottle. Credits: Barbara Klump / Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior

“It was very exciting to observe such an original and innovative way to access food resources. We soon realized that we needed to systematically study this unique foraging behavior. I knew it, “said Crump.

Major, a senior researcher at the Australian Museum Institute, has spent more than 20 years studying Australian birds such as the noisy miners, the infamous “bin chicken” toki and parrots.

“Like many Australian birds, Sulphur-crested birds behave like noisy, aggressive, and often flock of galahs, but they are also incredibly smart, sustainable, and in human life. It’s a great fit, “said Major.

John Martin, a research scientist at the Taronga Conservation Society, who has worked with majors on bird projects in many cities, explained how the research was done. “Australia’s trash cans have a uniform design across the country, and Kibatan is common throughout the East Coast. The first thing we wanted to know was whether parrots open trash cans everywhere.”

Clever parrots learn through social interaction

Kibatan uses one of many different opening techniques to open the lid of a household waste bin. This bird has a lid on its beak and its left foot. A second bird is observing it carefully. Credits: Barbara Klump / Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior

“In 2018, we Online survey In different parts of Sydney and Australia, “Which region did you come from, have you seen this behavior before? If so, when?” The survey was conducted for two years and others in Sydney. It helped me determine how the behavior spread to the parrots. The important thing is to continue this investigation in 2021, “Martin said.

By the end of 2019, residents of 44 regions have observed behavior in opening trash cans, demonstrating that it has spread rapidly and widely. Further analysis of the findings showed that behaviors reached neighboring districts earlier than distant districts, indicating that new behaviors did not appear randomly throughout Sydney.

“These results show that the animals actually learned their behavior from other parrots nearby,” Crump said.

Researchers also marked about 500 parrots with small paint dots on three selected hotspots to allow identification of individual birds, and which birds could open the bottle. I made it observable. Only about 10% can do that, and it turns out that most of them are men. The rest waited until the “pioneers” opened the trash can and helped them.

Kibatan who opens the lid of the household trash can and puts out bread. Grasp the lid with the rim, hold it in your beak, walk along the left side of the bottle and push until the lid flips over. Credits: Barbara Klump / Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior

However, there was one exception.It will be in the second half of 2018 Parrot In northern Sydney, we reinvented the cleaning technology itself. Later, birds in the neighboring district imitated their behavior.

“We observed that birds do not open the trash can in the same way, but open differently in the suburbs, which suggests that observing others can learn their behavior. “Crump said.

Scientists interpreted the result as the emergence of a local subculture.

Scientists hope that their discoveries will also create a broader understanding of living animals in the city.

“By studying this behavior with the help of locals, we reveal the unique and complex culture of their neighborhood. bird“Crump said.

A new forensic tool for detecting the washing of endangered parrots

For more information:
BC Klump et al. , “Innovation and Geographical Spread of Complex Foraging Cultures in Urban Parrots” Science (2021).… 1126 / science.abe7808

Provided by
Max Planck Society

Quote: Clever Parrots Learn Through Social Interaction (22 July 2021) 22 July 2021

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Clever parrots learn through social interaction

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