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


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.

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This study was supported by CNPq, Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnologico. We would like to thank William and Linda Wittkof from Lymington Breeder for their support and enthusiasm and Neiva Guedes, Paulo Martuscelli, Renata Santalla, Monica Yon, Renato Armelin and Guilherme Brito for comments and suggestions. We also would like to thank Louis Lefebvre, Gavin Hunt and one anonymous referee for reviewing the manuscript. The experiment reported fully complied to the current Brazilian law.

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Correspondence to Andressa Borsari.

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Borsari, A., Ottoni, E.B. Preliminary observations of tool use in captive hyacinth macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus). Anim Cogn 8, 48–52 (2005).

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  • Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus
  • Birds
  • Foraging
  • Parrots
  • Tool use