Abstract Juvenile European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris , were allowed to observe a conspecific demonstrator using its beak to remove one of two distinctively coloured objects (i.e. a red or a black plug) from a hole in the lid of a plastic box. Both plugs could be removed by either pulling up on a loop of string inserted through the centre of the plug, or pushing down on the plug. When subsequently allowed access to the plugs, and rewarded with food for all removal responses, regardless of the object to which they were made and their direction, observer birds removed the same plug in the same direction as their demonstrator. These results suggest that the two-object/two-action paradigm is a valuable procedure for testing for the simultaneous effects of learning about a stimulus and a response, an object and an action, through conspecific observation.