Not so bird-brained after all! Wild falcons can solve complex puzzles within minutes – and are ‘just as capable as parrots’
- Wild hawks are often viewed as dim-witted, but a new study shows that’s not the case
- The birds solved eight nutritional challenges just like the parrots
They are often thought of as dim creatures, but new footage shows that wild hawks are not of a bird’s mind at all.
Researchers from the Messerli Research Institute tested the birds’ problem-solving skills through eight different food challenges.
To their surprise, they found that the birds quickly learned to solve the puzzles – and they solved them faster every time they tried.
According to experts, this indicates that wild falcons “possess the same ability as parrots.”
‘They were ace! We were really amazed at how quickly they took up and solved the tasks. “This is unlike anything we’ve seen before in wild birds of prey,” said Katie Harrington, lead author of the study.
They are often thought of as dim creatures, but new footage shows that wild hawks are not of a bird’s mind at all
To conduct their study, the researchers visited the Falkland Islands to study striped caracaras – birds of prey known for their unique habit of searching for and exploring new things.
“Lebrated caracaras have to be really exploratory, constantly examining new situations in their environment to see what suits them,” Ms Harrington said.
‘Is this food?’ What can I do with this?
“It takes a certain creative courage to make life work in the Falkland Islands.”
Although striped caracaras belong to the hawk family, they behave like parrots and crows.
The researchers wanted to know how these wild birds react when faced with puzzles.
A clear plastic puzzle box was placed on the grass, where passing birds could try their hand at solving it.
Each bird had only one chance to play per day, allowing the researchers to see how much it improved with each attempt.
“The caracaras were so keen to solve the puzzles that some even started running towards the box as soon as we put it on the ground,” Ms Harrington said.
“They then kick and pull different functional parts in the same way we would pick something up to learn how it works.
“They would also move to look at the box from different angles, crouch down to look from the bottom, or jump up to look from the top.”
A clear plastic puzzle box was placed on the grass, where passing birds could try their hand at solving it
“The more they explore the puzzles, the better they can solve them.”
By comparing similar experiments with other birds, the researchers found that caracaras had the same ability as parrots.
In fact, the caracaras were better at some tasks, according to Megan Lambert, the study’s lead author.
“Most of what we know about bird intelligence comes from parrots and corvids,” she explained.
“These caracaras face a lot of the same pressures and provide a really great opportunity to study cognition in the wild.”
The researchers hope the results will help unravel the mystery surrounding how birds’ problem-solving abilities evolved.
Why do birds sing?
Birds use their voices to communicate with other birds.
Harsh melodies are an effective way to communicate over long distances, especially when you’re young and live in dense environments like rainforests.
Most bird species use specific calls to identify themselves and to report a nearby threat.
Bird sounds are a specialized type of call used by many species to help them mate.
Bird singing is considered an almost masculine activity, as it helps the singer signal that he is fit, healthy, and ready to reproduce.
(Tags for translation) Daily Mail