Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Tool use by wild New Caledonian crows Corvus moneduloides at natural foraging sites

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

DOI

Author(s)

Lucas A. Bluff, Jolyon Troscianko, Alex A. S. Weir, Alex Kacelnik, Christian Rutz

School/Research organisations

Abstract

New Caledonian crows Corvus moneduloides use tools made from sticks or leaf stems to 'fish' woodboring beetle larvae from their burrows in decaying wood. Previous research on this behaviour has been confined to baited sites, leaving its ecological context and significance virtually unexplored. To obtain detailed observations of natural, undisturbed tool use, we deployed motion-triggered video cameras at seven larva-fishing sites. From 1797 camera hours of surveillance over 111 days, we recorded 317 site visits by at least 14 individual crows. Tool use was observed during 150 site visits. Our video footage revealed notable variation in foraging success among identifiable crows. Two nutritionally independent, immature crows spent considerable time using tools, but were much less successful than local adults, highlighting the potential role of individual and social learning in the acquisition of tool-use proficiency. During systematic surveys of larva-fishing sites, we collected 193 tools that crows had left inserted in larva burrows. Comparing these tools with the holes in which they were found, and with raw materials available around logs, provides evidence for tool selectivity by New Caledonian crows under natural conditions. Taken together, these two complementary lines of investigation provide, to our knowledge, the first quantitative description of larva fishing by wild crows in its full ecological context.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1377-1385
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume277
Issue number1686
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2010

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Inter-aviary distance and visual access influence conservation breeding outcomes in a territorial, endangered bird

    Flanagan, A. M., Rutz, C., Farabaugh, S., Greggor, A. L., Masuda, B. & Swaisgood, R. R., 4 Feb 2020, In : Biological Conservation. 242, 108429.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Purifying selection in corvids is less efficient on islands

    Kutschera, V. E., Poelstra, J. W., Botero-Castro, F., Dussex, N., Gemmell, N. J., Hunt, G. R., Ritchie, M. G., Rutz, C., Wiberg, R. A. W. & Wolf, J. B. W., Feb 2020, In : Molecular Biology and Evolution. 37, 2, p. 469-474 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Optimizing the use of biologgers for movement ecology research

    Williams, H., Taylor, L., Benhamou, S., Bijleveld, A., Clay, T., de Grissac, S., Demsar, U., English, H., Franconi, N., Gómez-Laich, A., Griffiths, R., Kay, W., Morales, J. M., Potts, J., Rogerson, K., Rutz, C., Spelt, A., Trevail, A., Wilson, R. & Börger, L., 1 Oct 2019, In : Journal of Animal Ecology. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Animal cultures matter for conservation

    Brakes, P., Dall, S. R. X., Aplin, L. M., Bearhop, S., Carroll, E. L., Ciucci, P., Fishlock, V., Ford, J. K. B., Garland, E. C., Keith, S. A., McGregor, P. K., Mesnick, S. L., Noad, M. J., Notarbartolo di Sciara, G., Robbins, M. M., Simmonds, M. P., Spina, F., Thornton, A., Wade, P. R., Whiting, M. J. & 5 others, Williams, J., Rendell, L., Whitehead, H., Whiten, A. & Rutz, C., 8 Mar 2019, In : Science. 363, 6431, p. 1032-1034 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Population genomics and structure of the critically endangered Mariana Crow (Corvus kubaryi)

    Cortes-Rodriguez, N., Campana, M. G., Berry, L., Faegre, S., Derrickson, S. R., Robinette Ha, R., Dickow, R. B., Rutz, C. & Fleischer, R. C., 1 Mar 2019, In : Genes. 10, 3, 17 p., 187.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Oscar Eduardo Gaggiotti (Member of editorial board)
    1 Jan 2013 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  2. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Kate Arnold (Reviewer)
    2012 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Michael Gordon Ritchie (Editor)
    20102011

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  4. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Member of editorial board)
    2009 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  5. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Journal)

    Iain McCombe Matthews (Editor)
    2008 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. Advances in research on the impacts of anti-submarine sonar on beaked whales

    Bernaldo De Quirós, Y., Fernandez, A., Baird, R. W., Brownell, R. L., Aguilar De Soto, N., Allen, D., Arbelo, M., Arregui, M., Costidis, A., Fahlman, A., Frantzis, A., Gulland, F. M. D., Iñíguez, M., Johnson, M., Komnenou, A., Koopman, H., Pabst, D. A., Roe, W. D., Sierra, E., Tejedor, M. & 1 others, Schorr, G., 30 Jan 2019, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286, 1895, 20182533.

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

  2. Linguistic laws in chimpanzee gestural communication

    Heesen, R., Hobaiter, C., Ferrer-i-Cancho, R. & Semple, S., 13 Feb 2019, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286, 1896

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Network analysis reveals underlying syntactic features in a vocally learnt mammalian display, humpback whale song

    Allen, J. A., Garland, E. C., Dunlop, R. A. & Noad, M. J., 18 Dec 2019, In : Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 286, 1917, 20192014.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 23997031

Top