Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia

Tool Use by the New Caledonian Crow Corvus moneduloides to Obtain Cerambycidae from Dead Wood

Gavin R. Hunt

Emu 100(2) 109 - 114
Published: 2000


From a successful effort in late 1997 to film crow tool-use with the BBC Natural History Unit, I present the first detailed description of New Caledonian CrowsCorvus moneduloides using tools to extract larvae of an endemic Cerambycidae:Prioninae from dead wood. I observed birds over a six-week period at Sarramé where fallen Aleurites moluccana logs were ‘salted’ with the larvae. Crows habitually used mostly A. moluccana leaf-stems to extract larvae from holes and manufacture was also common when birds removed leaves from leaf-stems before using tools. The techniques of adult crows varied but were more proficient than those of a juvenile crow that frequented the site. Tool-use to extract Cerambycidae from dead wood was probably an important part of the foraging behaviour of the crows year-round. My observations here and elsewhere show that crows in different localities can have distinctly different traditions in their tool behaviour.


© Royal Australian Ornithologists Union 2000

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