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Wild cockatoos excel in intelligence tests, countering theory living with humans makes birds smarter

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A longheld theory that animals raised in captivity perform better in cognitive testing may need to be rethought. A new study organized by the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna found evidence that wild animals perform just as well at intelligence tests as their lab-raised counterparts. To test the theory, researchers compared two groups of Goffin's cockatoos, a species often found in the tropical jungles of Singapore, Indonesia, and Puerto Rico. The team compared a lab-raised'colony' of 11 cockatoos at their lab in Vienna to eight wild cockatoos recently taken into captivity at a field laboratory in Indonesia. The researchers compared the performance of both groups in a series of simple problem solving tests and found the wild cockatoos were just as clever as the lab-raised ones.

South American cuckoos mimic teeth chattering of wild hogs

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A species of cuckoo appears to have learned how to use its beak to mimic the teeth chattering of wild pig-like animals called peccaries in order to ward off predators. The ground cuckoo, found in forests in Central and South America, often follow herds of peccaries to feed on the insects disturbed as they walk through leaf litter. Scientists have spotted that the birds use their beaks to sound like the teeth clacks the peccaries make to scare away large predatory cats. Last week, scientists found that parrots can use sticks to create drumming music in a similar way to humans. Wild palm cockatoos were filmed using sticks and seed pods to create rhythmic sounds as part of a complex mating ritual which also includes screeching, head bobbing and blushing, according to researchers.