ANIMAL NEWS: Hyacinth macaws use tools

Hyacinth macaws are the largest parrots on the planet at the length of one metre (three feet) with stunning cobalt blue feathers that serve as camouflage in the Amazon jungle. They are monogamous birds that spend most of their lives in pairs that mimic one another and show signs of high intelligence. Using tools indicates exceptional intelligence and these blue beauties use sticks, leaves and wood fragments to break open tough nuts.

They have specialised methods of eating coconut flesh, where they roll the whole coconut in a leaf to anchor it before tearing open the casing with their powerful beak. A hyacinth macaw can also use wood chips or twigs as wedges to stop palm nuts from slipping from the grip of their beak. If all else fails these macaws will pick out nuts from cattle faeces that have been partially digested, making them easier to break into.

Macaws from different regions use different nut-breaking techniques, suggesting that they have social traditions that are passed down through generations. They even develop regional accents depending on where they live!

 

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Image from www.flickr.com/photos/ekilby