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New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides) attend to barb presence during pandanus tool manufacture and use

In: Behaviour
Authors:
Brenna Knaebe aDepartment of Psychology, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

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Alex H. Taylor aDepartment of Psychology, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

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Rachael Miller bDepartment of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
cDepartment of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3EB, UK

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Russell D. Gray aDepartment of Psychology, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

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New Caledonian crows craft wooden hook tools and incorporate naturally occurring barbs into the leaf tools that they manufacture. This raises the question as to whether, or to what degree, these birds are sensitive to the hooks on their hooked and barbed tools. Past research in this area has provided equivocal results. We tested whether New Caledonian crows attend to the presence and orientation of barbs on pandanus leaves and tools during tool manufacture and selection tasks. Our results show that New Caledonian crows attend to barb presence during both pandanus tool manufacture and use, but do not attend to barb direction during pandanus tool use. We conclude that task context, the time and energetic costs of attending to barbs, relative foraging efficiency, and different experimental designs may influence whether, and to what degree, NC crows attend to pandanus barbs.

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