Animal Cognition

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 48–52

Preliminary observations of tool use in captive hyacinth macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)

Short Communication


Many animals use tools (detached objects applied to another object to produce an alteration in shape, position, or structure) in foraging, for instance, to access encapsulated food. Descriptions of tool use by hyacinth macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) are scarce and brief. In order to describe one case of such behavior, six captive birds were observed while feeding. Differences in nut manipulation and opening proficiency between adults and juveniles were recorded. The tools may be serving as a wedge, preventing the nut from slipping and/or rotating, reducing the impact of opening, or providing mechanical aid in its positioning and/or use of force. Data suggest that birds of this species have an innate tendency to use objects (tools) as aids during nut manipulation and opening.


Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus Birds Foraging Parrots Tool use 

Supplementary material

S1 Inexperienced juvenile: young male’s attempt to open a nut using a piece of the wooden perch as a tool.

MPEG (2.4 MB)

S2 Proficient adult: after using straw as aid to open a nut, the adult female eats the Coleoptera larva found inside it.

MPEG (2.5 MB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Cognitive Ethology, Department of Experimental Psychology, Institute of PsychologyUniversity of Săo PauloSăo PauloBrazil

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