Biology Letters
Restricted accessAnimal behaviour

Navigating a tool end in a specific direction: stick-tool use in kea (Nestor notabilis)

Alice M. I. Auersperg

Alice M. I. Auersperg

Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse14, 1090 Vienna, Austria

Konrad Lorenz Institute for Ethology, Savoyenstrasse1a, 1160 Vienna, Austria

[email protected]

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,
Ludwig Huber

Ludwig Huber

Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse14, 1090 Vienna, Austria

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and
Gyula K. Gajdon

Gyula K. Gajdon

Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse14, 1090 Vienna, Austria

Konrad Lorenz Institute for Ethology, Savoyenstrasse1a, 1160 Vienna, Austria

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    This study depicts how captive kea, New Zealand parrots, which are not known to use tools in the wild, employ a stick-tool to retrieve a food reward after receiving demonstration trials. Four out of six animals succeeded in doing so despite physical (beak curvature) and ecological (no stick-like materials used during nest construction) constraints when handling elongated objects. We further demonstrate that the same animals can thereafter direct the functional end of a stick-tool into a desired direction, aiming at a positive option while avoiding a negative one.

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