Parrots help others in need, study shows for first time
Selflessness is not a uniquely human trait: Bats, rats, and now parrots will assist other members of their species, even strangers.
African gray parrots will help other members of their species in need, the first time such charitable behavior has been documented among birds.
Scientists already knew African grays are particularly clever, with large brains and exceptional problem-solving skills. But they wondered if these birds—separated from great apes by some 300 million years of evolution—also possess complex social abilities, like helping one another. Corvids, another group of so-called “intelligent” birds that includes crows and ravens, have so far failed to demonstrate this ability, says Désirée Brucks, a biologist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich.
“Parrots had not been tested yet,” says Brucks. “So it remained an open question of whether an ability to help each other