According to a recent study, roosters have the ability to identify their own reflection.
Roosters, with their bright feathers and noticeable combs, could be excused for occasionally admiring themselves in the mirror. Recent studies indicate that these birds may have the ability to identify their own reflection.
Several animals, such as elephants, dolphins, great apes, and certain fish and birds, have been observed exhibiting self-recognition in mirrors.
According to Sonja Hillemacher, a researcher from the University of Bonn, animals with the ability to identify themselves in a mirror appear to possess higher levels of cognitive skills. Additionally, this ability is connected to social and emotional intelligence, as well as self-awareness.
“She stated that this capability is a basic component of awareness and is also essential for us.”
Our findings indicate that chickens possess a level of awareness that raises concerns about their treatment and well-being in regards to animal rights.
According to a study published in Plos One, Hillemacher and his team observed that roosters have a tendency to vocalize when they spot a potential threat in the sky, such as a bird of prey. However, if a rooster is by itself, it typically refrains from making noise in order to avoid attracting the predator’s attention.
During their initial trials, the researchers divided an enclosed area into two sections and placed a rooster in one of them. In the remaining section, they either installed a mirror, introduced another rooster, or left it unoccupied.
The team then displayed the outline of a flying hawk onto the ceiling of the area where the first rooster was located.
The findings from observing 58 roosters showed that they produced a higher number of alarm calls when in the presence of another rooster. On average, there were 1.33 alarm calls per bird during three tests, compared to 0.29 calls when alone and 0.43 calls when facing a mirror. The researchers also noticed a decrease in calls when a second rooster was hidden behind the mirror.
The researchers propose that the birds did not perceive their reflection as a fellow rooster, despite the presence of scent and vocalizations from a second bird. This could indicate that roosters have the ability to identify themselves in a mirror, but the team also presents another potential explanation.
Hillemacher suggested that it was possible that the individuals viewed their reflection as a strange member of their species imitating their actions, causing them to refrain from making an alarm call due to annoyance.
The scientists also employed a standard “mark test” to examine mirror self-recognition. In these trials, 18 roosters were marked with either pink or clear powder beneath their beaks on their chests, an area they are not normally able to see. The researchers observed the birds’ reactions with and without a mirror to determine if they recognized and comprehended the mark on their body, which is typically indicated by an animal’s inclination to investigate the marked area.
The findings showed that the birds’ actions remained the same whether they were self-grooming or interacting with a mirror, regardless of the color of the mark.
The researchers propose that mirror tests should be adapted to consider the environment and behavior of the animal being observed.
Additionally, it is important to consider that chickens may not be the first animal one would expect to recognize their own reflection, making the results even more significant.
The team states that if roosters can distinguish their own reflection from that of another rooster, it suggests that this cognitive skill is more prevalent than previously believed.