Loepelt et al_Proc B 2016.pdf (282.31 kB)

Can you teach an old parrot new tricks? Cognitive development in wild kaka (Nestor meridionalis)

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journal contribution
posted on 12.02.2021, 21:13 by J Loepelt, Rachael Shaw, Kevin Burns
© 2016 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. Despite recent efforts to characterize innovative individuals within a species, we still know very little about the ontogeny of innovation ability. A number of studies have found that innovation rates are correlated with personality traits, such as neophilia and exploration. Juvenile birds are frequently more neophilic and explorative, yet few studies have found evidence of age-related differences in innovative problem-solving success. Here,we showconsistently higher innovation efficiency in juveniles of a wild, omnivorous parrot species across a variety of tasks and contexts.We tested 104 kaka (Nestor meridionalis), ranging in age from four months to 13 years. Twenty-four individuals participated in all three of our problem-solving tasks, two of which involved a familiar feeder and one an entirely novel apparatus. Juveniles were the most efficient problem-solvers in all three tasks. By contrast, the adults’ success was context dependent and limited to the novel apparatus, which did not require modification of a pre-learned behavioural response. This suggests greater behavioural flexibility in the juvenile birds, who also showed higher persistence and exploratory diversity than adults. These traits may enable young kaka to discover efficient foraging techniques, which are then maintained throughout adulthood.

History

Preferred citation

Loepelt, J., Shaw, R. C. & Burns, K. C. (2016). Can you teach an old parrot new tricks? Cognitive development in wild kaka (Nestor meridionalis). Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 283(1832). https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2015.3056

Journal title

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

Volume

283

Issue

1832

Publication date

15/06/2016

Pagination

(8)

Publisher

The Royal Society

Publication status

Published

Contribution type

Article

Online publication date

01/06/2016

ISSN

0962-8452

eISSN

1471-2954

Article number

ARTN 20153056

Language

en