A Disabled Parrot in New Zealand Has Taught Himself to Use Tools For Self-Care. The finding supports claims that tooling can be innovated based on ecological necessity by species with sufficiently domain-general cognition.

Read the Story

Show Top Comments

“Here, we show that Bruce, a disabled parrot lacking his top mandible, deliberately uses pebbles to preen himself. Evidence for this behaviour comes from five lines of evidence: (i) in over 90% of instances where Bruce picked up a pebble, he then used it to preen; (ii) in 95% of instances where Bruce dropped a pebble, he retrieved this pebble, or replaced it, in order to resume preening; (iii) Bruce selected pebbles of a specific size for preening rather than randomly sampling available pebbles in his environment; (iv) no other kea in his environment used pebbles for preening; and (v) when other individuals did interact with stones, they used stones of different sizes to those Bruce preened with. “


Why has “self-care” become such a buzzword? I never remember seeing it before a couple of years ago. Now it seems everyone is using it, despite it not describing a new concept.


I’ve had a hyacinth macaw use my shirt as a tool. It was a wild bird that hung around a campsite in the Brazilian Pantanal. The bird became used to humans and used to take nuts from us to eat. It would have to open the nuts by holding it in one claw, then use its beak to cut a groove before breaking it open. One day I gave the bird a greenish nut that was a bit slippery. When it tried to cut the groove the nut kept slipping in its claw. It promptly hopped over next to me, took hold of my shirt tail, wrapped the nut in that then gripped it with its claw to give it a non-slip hold and cut the nut open. I was very impressed.


a kea’s gotta look good, you never know when they’ll decide to shag David Attenborough on camera


“And if we give them opposable thumbs they’ll rule the world”