Hook innovation boosts foraging efficiency in tool-using crows

James J.H. St Clair*, Barbara C. Klump, Shoko Sugasawa, Caitlin G. Higgott, Nick Colegrave, Christian Rutz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The New Caledonian crow is the only non-human animal known to craft hooked tools in the wild, but the ecological benefit of these relatively complex tools remains unknown. Here, we show that crows acquire food several times faster when using hooked rather than non-hooked tools, regardless of tool material, prey type and extraction context. This implies that small changes to tool shape can strongly affect energy-intake rates, highlighting a powerful driver for technological advancement.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalNature Ecology & Evolution
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2018


  • Animal behaviour
  • Behavioural ecology
  • Cultural evolution
  • Evolutionary ecology


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