Watch: Palm cockatoos craft their own drums

Researchers found personal taste guides their instrument making

Some cockatoos don’t just sing. They also play drums, and researchers found, they make their own instruments.

Studying wild palm cockatoos (Probosciger aterrimus), which occupy parts of northern Australia and New Guinea, researchers found they seem to create their own instruments according to personal taste, rather than available materials. Using seedpods and objects like drumsticks, they use rhythmic drumming to attract mates. They published their findings in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“I think being really individual and being creative and being out there on your own is part of what the females are looking for,” lead author Rob Heinsohn, a conservation biologist at the Australian National University in Canberra, told Science News.

Read more in Science News, and watch the video below.

Header Image: A palm cockatoo at a nest site on the tip of Cape York in Australia. Credit: Jim Bendon