, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 79-82
Date: 14 Apr 2006

Common ravens raid arctic fox food caches

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Abstract

Cache recovery is critical for evolution of hoarding behaviour, because the energy invested in caching may be lost if consumers other than the hoarders benefit from the cached food. By raiding food caches, animals may exploit the caching habits of others, that should respond by actively defending their caches. The arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) is the main predator of lemmings and goose eggs in the Canadian High Arctic and stores much of its prey in the ground. Common ravens (Corvus corax) are not as successful as foxes in taking eggs from goose nests. This generalist avian predator regularly uses innovation and opportunism to survive in many environments. Here, we provide the first report that ravens can successfully raid food cached by foxes, and that foxes may defend their caches from ravens.