Gang-gang Cockatoo

Did you know that Gang-gang Cockatoos are left-handed, or should I say ‘footed’, and that this could be linked to intelligence?


Gang-gang Cockatoo - Kim Wormald
Gang-gang Cockatoo – female
Canon 5DIII, f/5.6, ISO 1600, focal length 400mm


I took this image recently, and it supports the left-footed theory, as do all my gang-gangs images – how fascinating!

New Scientist magazine, in 2009, reported that gang-gangs are 100% left biased, while some other parrot species are right-biased, and the remainder are ambidextrous. Apparently birds that show a bias are better problem-solvers than those who don’t. I’m super busy at the moment so can’t share as much information as usual but if you’re interested in knowing more, this link will take you to the New Scientist article: Biased parrots pass tests with flying colours

I’d be interested to know if anyone has seen a gang-gang, or other species of cockatoo, using its right foot.

Happy birding, Kim


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8 comments to Gang-gang Cockatoo

  • Hmmm that is very interesting. I fostered a cockatoo once but I don’t remember right or left. Would be interesting to look at images on the net and see though! Lovely image of a cool “too”.

  • Jealous thoughts here. The gang-gang is our avian emblem. I hear them, but don’t see them. The sulphur-crested cockatoos are also lefties I believe, and I have never seen one that isn’t.

    • lirralirra

      I didn’t know they’re your avian emblem. Ours is the Helmeted Honeyeater, critically endangered, along with our fauna emblem the Leadbeaters Possum.

      • Togram

        Victorian bird emblem is the helmeted honeyeater.
        Yes most cockatoos are left handed but as usual there are exceptions which I have seen .

        • lirralirra

          Hi Togram! It would be interesting to see the full information from the study about the specific species and their left/right biases. I didn’t take any notice of it until earlier this year. I’m one of the team of volunteers that works with the Helmeted Honeyeaters, hopefully their numbers will continue to rise. Thanks for your comment.

        • Togram

          I have been a committee member for the He Ho and now only in the nursery as well as guiding at the Sanctuary where I saw the right handed cockatoo which We think is rare.

          You are doing a great job feeding which I have also experIenced when they first started.

        • Togram

          The gang gang is Canberra avian emblem

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