1209811_Johnsson,R_2022.pdf (360.29 kB)
Preliminary evidence of tool use in an Australian magpie?
journal contributionposted on 2023-01-13, 05:39 authored by Robin JohnssonRobin Johnsson, F Connelly, John LeskuJohn Lesku
We investigated tool use in twelve wild-caught Australian magpies. When presented with a tool use apparatus consisting of two transparent walls with a food reward placed in-between, seven magpies pulled the stick out of the apparatus acquiring the food within. On one occasion, one magpie manipulated the removed stick, carried it back to the apparatus, dropped it between the two walls and proceeded to rake out the food within reach of its beak. We believe this observation is important for the field of comparative cognition as it (1) is the first study to report stick tool use in Australian magpies, and (2) shows a novel behaviour in a ground foraging bird that, as far as we know, do not naturally use tools for food extraction. This study provides preliminary evidence that Australian magpies may be added to the list of bird species that can use tools.