An African Grey Parrot Gives Another Parrot Tokens To “Buy” Food

The grey parrot, or Psittacus erithacus, originates from equatorial regions of central Africa. They have grey feathers all over their bodies, deriving their name. Their tails, however, are red. These birds thrive on a diet of fruits and nuts that can be found in abundance in these forests.

Two of these birds are involved in a compelling scientific study conducted by a zoologist and a physiologist Désirée Brucks. The two birds had learned to exchange tokens for food. They now wanted to see what would happen if one of the birds was given all the tokens, but no place to receive food from, while the other bird had a place to receive food from, but no tokens.

The results are amusing. The parrot who had the tokens gave them to his neighbor from the hole between their enclosures so that the other could get food. This is the first time that scientists have observed selfless behavior in birds. Compassionate responses have been observed in primates and not birds.

An African Grey Parrot Gives Another Parrot Tokens To “Buy” Food