' Low-Wire Act ' : See what monkeys do ? Parrots can do it, too : 

Rosy-faced lovebirds are charismatic, petite parrots. They also aren't afraid to use their heads in awkward situations.

'' They're these incredibly smart animals who are really good problem solvers, and that also extends to the way they move,'' said Edwin Dickinson, a biomechanist at the New York Institute of Technology.

The parrots proved their talents to Dr. Dickinson's team in a lab as they navigated perches that the team made smaller and smaller.

When a perch was too thin to balance on, the birds simply turned it into a trapeze, hanging from their beaks and swinging their legs and bodies like monkeys swinging from a tree to tree in a forest.

The scientists set out to understand the forces behind such beak-swinging, which they described in the journal Royal Society Open Science.

For their latest study, the team placed a sensor that measured forces in the path of the birds and observed that the head does more than stabilize the motion as the birds move their feet along the wire.

'' In a limb loading sense, they are - on their head itself - able to hold their entire body weight just with their head,'' said Melody Young, a biomechanist at the New York Institute of Technology and an author of the study. [ Carolyn Wilke ]


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