Journal of Ethology

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 341–344 | Cite as

Gourmand New Caledonian crows munch rare escargots by dropping

  • Keita D. Tanaka
  • Yuji Okahisa
  • Nozomu J. Sato
  • Jörn Theuerkauf
  • Keisuke Ueda
Short Communication

Abstract

Numerous broken shells of a rare endemic snail Placostylus fibratus, a species rated as vulnerable, were scattered around rocky beds of dry creeks in rainforest of New Caledonian. We set a video camera near one site to identify the predator. We recorded a New Caledonian crow Corvus moneduloides dropping and consuming the snail. This is the first direct evidence of the crow dropping of this native species. The assumed weight of snails relative to the crow is exceptionally heavy among prey dropped by birds.

Keywords

New Caledonian crow Prey dropping Land snail Foraging economics 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to all the staff of the Syndicat Mixte des Grandes Fougères, particularly Henri Bloc, Philippe Guichard, Selelino Keletaona, and Yoann Kawa, for their indulgent support for our field investigations. We thank our laboratory members for their help, particularly the sparrow project group for lending apparatus. We are grateful to Véronique Monjo and Kentaro Takagi for useful comments. The study was aided by funds from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Grant no. 23255004 (Grant-in-Aid for Basic Research A; KU), 24770028 (Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists B; KDT), and Research Fellowships (DC2: 24-4578; NJS), and from the Polish National Science Centre, grant no. NCN 2012/05/E/NZ8/02694 (JT).

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (M4 V 85997 kb)

References

  1. Auersperg AMI, Laumer IB, Bugnyar T (2013) Goffin cockatoos wait for qualitative and quantitative gains but prefer ‘better’ to ‘more’. Biol Lett 9:20121092PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brescia FM, Pöllabauer CM, Potter MA, Robertson AW (2008) A review of the ecology and conservation of Placostylus (Mollusca: Gastropoda: Bulimulidae) in New Caledonia. Molluscan Res 28:111–122Google Scholar
  3. Cristol DA, Switzer PV (1999) Avian prey-dropping behavior. II. American crows and walnuts. Behav Ecol 10:220–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Holzhaider JC, Sibley MD, Taylor AH, Singh PJ, Gray RD, Hunt GR (2011) The social structure of New Caledonian crows. Anim Behav 81:83–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Hunt GR (1996) Manufacture and use of hook-tools by New Caledonian crows. Nature 379:249–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Hunt GR, Gray RD (2003) Diversification and cumulative evolution in New Caledonian crow tool manufacture. Proc R Soc Lond B 270:867–874CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Hunt GR, Sakuma F, Chiba Y (2002) New Caledonian crows drop candle-nuts onto rock from communally used forks on branches. Emu 102:283–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Izawa E-I, Aoki N, Matsushima T (2005) Neural correlates of the proximity and quantity of anticipated food rewards in the ventral striatum of domestic chicks. Eur J Neurosci 22:1502–1512PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Layard EL, Layard ELC (1882) Notes on the avifauna of New Caledonia, a catalogue of the birds of the island known to E.L. & E.L.C. Layard, with remarks by the Rev. Canon Tristram. Ibis 24:493–546Google Scholar
  10. Maron JL (1982) Shell-dropping behavior of western gulls (Larus occidentalis). Auk 99:565–569Google Scholar
  11. Switzer PV, Cristol DA (1999) Avian prey-dropping behavior. I. The effects of prey characteristics and prey loss. Behav Ecol 10:213–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Wimpenny JH, Weir AAS, Clayton L, Rutz C, Kacelnik A (2009) Cognitive processes associated with sequential tool use in New Caledonian crow. PLoS ONE 4:e6471PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Zach R (1978) Selection and dropping of whelks by northwestern crows. Behaviour 67:134–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Zach R (1979) Shell dropping: decision-making and optimal foraging in northwestern crows. Behaviour 68:106–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Japan Ethological Society and Springer Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keita D. Tanaka
    • 1
  • Yuji Okahisa
    • 1
  • Nozomu J. Sato
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jörn Theuerkauf
    • 2
  • Keisuke Ueda
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Life-SciencesRikkyo UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of SciencesWarsawPoland

Personalised recommendations