This bird scores as well as primates on a complex cognitive test

This bird scores as well as primates on a complex cognitive test

There are only a few animals that we know understand the concept of object survival. This phrase means that an object still exists even if it is out of sight.

A recent study by researchers It confirms that a bird called Oriental pied hornbills is one of the few animals that has advanced understanding. The intelligent ability to understand the concept of survival of the object comes into play when nestling females lock themselves out of sight in their nests and rely on their mates to bring them food.

To lay eggs and take care of their eggs, eastern hornbills make shelters for themselves with the help of some mud, feces, saliva, fruit and tree bark. These birds cover their surroundings with nests, leaving only a narrow opening for their males to get food. In order for each of the offspring in the nest to survive, the male hornet must understand that he and the eggs are inside the nest, even though he cannot see his mate.

Ruitong Yao And Elias Garcia Pellegrin“From an evolutionary perspective, the ability to represent animals and objects when they are out of sight provides large adaptive advantages in activities such as foraging and avoiding predators,” say psychologists from the National University of Singapore in their new paper.

A male hornbill must understand that even though he cannot see his mate, he and the eggs are inside the nest.

However, apart from the famous callaghan family and the intelligent parrots, there are no other known birds that have the ability to understand the concept of object survival to the extent that primates do. Although other species of birds have been tested for this ability, only 4 of the 6-stage developmental test seen in human babies have passed.

Yao and García-Pellegrin tested six large-billed birds to investigate how advanced the ability to retain objects in the beaks is. They taught the birds to indicate the location of a visible treat by pecking. In the next stages, other challenges were presented to the birds in order to check the harder levels of their ability to survive the object.

In the fifth phase of the experiment, the birds saw that the reward was first placed under one cup and then transferred to another cup. The birds demonstrated their perception of visual displacement by pointing to the cup under which the reward was eventually moved. All 6 birds studied by the researchers were able to achieve this level of object survival ability and receive that reward as a reward.

Finally, only three tips reached the sixth stage and invisible displacement. At this stage, the birds could not see the transfer of food from one cup to another. In this phase of the experiment, the food was hidden under a small red box and then moved under the larger cup. When the red box was removed from under the cup and shown to be empty, some birds realized that food must have been left under the cup; Even if they have not seen this happen directly.

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Yao and García-Pellegrin write in part of their paper, “Understanding invisible displacement is more complex and involves different cognitive skills such as memory, spatial reasoning, and logical inference.”

The interesting point of the experiment was that the three birds that did not pass the fifth stage of the test had no breeding experience. This may be a coincidence; Because only 6 birds were present in this experiment. On the other hand, it may indicate that the experience of feeding or receiving food from a mate may teach birds more advanced levels of object survival ability.

“As far as we know, the eastern hornbill is the first bird species outside of the parrot family to show levels of object survival comparable to those of monkeys,” Yao and Pellegrin say.

The researchers’ findings suggest that hornbills may be an overlooked group of highly intelligent bird species. More research is now needed to see if this bird has other cognitive abilities to compete with parrots and crows.

The results of the study in the journal Biology Letters It has been published.

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