A novel tool-use mode in animals: New Caledonian crows insert tools to transport objects

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides) rely heavily on a range of tools to extract prey. They manufacture novel tools, save tools for later use, and have morphological features that facilitate tool use. We report six observations, in two individuals, of a novel tool-use mode not previously reported in non-human animals. Insert-and-transport tool use involves inserting a stick into an object and then moving away, thereby transporting both object and tool. All transported objects were non-food objects. One subject used a stick to transport an object that was too large to be handled by beak, which suggests the tool facilitated object control. The function in the other cases is unclear but seems to be an expression of play or exploration. Further studies should investigate whether it is adaptive in the wild and to what extent crows can flexibly apply the behaviour in experimental settings when purposive transportation of objects is advantageous.


External organisations
  • Max-Planck Institute for Ornithology
  • University of Oxford
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Behavioral Sciences Biology


  • New Caledonian crow, Object exploration, Play, Tool transport, Tool use
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1249-1252
Number of pages4
JournalAnimal Cognition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 1
Publication categoryResearch

Related research output

Ivo Jacobs, 2017, 167 ed. Lund: Lund University Cognitive Studies. 225 p.

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