Cooperative hunting in Brown-Necked Raven (Corvus rufficollis) on Egyptian Mastigure (Uromastyx aegyptius)

Abstract

We describe cooperative hunting by Brown-necked Raven (Corvus ruficollis) on Egyptian Mastigure (Uromastyx aegyptius) in the Arava Valley, Israel. At first, in all nine observed hunts, the ravens were observed to be in the vicinity and were seen simultaneously. The Mastigure was almost always at a distance from the burrow entrance and either foraging on the bushes or lying flattened on a bush sunning itself. The attack started when a circling pair of ravens flew in at high speed and landed on the entrance of the burrow, cutting off the escape route of the lizard. Following this maneuver, the other ravens attacked the lizard. The ravens pecked randomly at the most exposed part of the lizard, eventually causing its death. Only when the lizard was evidently dead did the two individuals that blocked the escape route join in the feeding ravens.

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Acknowledgments

We thank Gordon Falconer for improving an earlier draft. Mori Chen brought to our attention his field observations that led to this study.

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Correspondence to Reuven Yosef.

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Alternative common names in English for Uromastyx lizards are: Dabb or Dhubb lizards or Spiny-tailed lizards. In the literature, one can also find alternative spellings of the scientific specific names, such as aegyptius or ornatus. Here, we follow the scientific names in the CITES standard reference for the genus Uromastyx.

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Yosef, R., Yosef, N. Cooperative hunting in Brown-Necked Raven (Corvus rufficollis) on Egyptian Mastigure (Uromastyx aegyptius). J Ethol 28, 385–388 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10164-009-0191-7

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Keywords

  • Brown-necked Raven
  • Corvus ruficollis
  • Egyptian Mastigure
  • Uromastyx aegyptius
  • Theory of mind
  • Cooperative hunting