Mirror Use by African Grey Parrots (Psittacus erithacus)

Irene M. Pepperberg, Sean E. Garcia, Eric C. Jackson, Sharon Marconi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Two Grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus) were tested on various types of mirror use: mirror image stimulation, mirror-mediated object discrimination, and a simple form of mirror-mediated spatial locating. During exposure to a mirror, neither bird clearly demonstrated self-exploratory behavior but responded instead in ways similar to those of marmosets, monkeys, dolphins, extremely young children (< 18 months), and to the initial responses of orangutans and young chimpanzees. The parrots' behavior was not a consequence of an inability to process mirrored information, because in subsequent tasks they used mirrors to discriminate among exemplars and to locate hidden objects; these birds are the first nonmammalian subjects to exhibit all these behavior patterns. Their behavior on all the tasks can be compared to that of humans, great apes, dolphins, monkeys, and Asian elephants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-195
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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