True Facts: Crows That Hunt With Sticks

True Facts: Crows That Hunt With Sticks

Go to to get a 30-day free trial + the first 200 people will get 20% off their annual subscription.

classical music:…
sponsor music:

Featuring the work of:
Dr Natalie Uomini, Max Planck Institute
Dr Anne B. Clark, SUNY Binghamton
Dr Michael Griesser, University of Konstanz
Dr Kaeli Swift, University of Washington
Dr Alex Kacelnik, University of Oxford
Dr Jolyon Troscianko, University of Exeter
Dr Christian Rutz, University of St Andrews
Dr Diana Liao, University of Tübingen
Dr Gavin Hunt, University of Auckland
Dr Nicola Clayton, University of Cambridge
Dr Sonja Hillemacher, University of Bonn
Zita Fülöp
Neil Smith


Asakawa-Haas K, et al. Partner Choice in Raven (Corvus corax) Cooperation. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156962.

Bayern, A.M.P.v. et al. Compound tool construction by New Caledonian crows.

Chappell, J et al. (2004). Selection of tool diameter by New Caledonian crows Corvus moneduloides. 10.1007/s10071-003-0202-y.

Düring DN et al. The songbird syrinx morphome: a three-dimensional, high-resolution, interactive morphological map of the zebra finch vocal organ. doi: 10.1186/1741-7007-11-1.

Gruber, R. et al, New Caledonian Crows Use Mental Representations to Solve Metatool Problems,

Holtmann B et al. Dominance relationships and coalitionary aggression against conspecifics in female carrion crows. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-52177-7.

Hunt, G. Manufacture and use of hook-tools by New Caledonian crows.

Hunt GR, Villard P. Oscillatory extraction behaviour suggests functional attributes of crows’ hooked-stick tools. doi: 10.1007/s10071-023-01749-2.

Hunt GR et al. The crafting of hook tools by wild New Caledonian crows. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2003.0085.

Hunt GR et al. Parallel tool industries in New Caledonian crows. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0603.

Hunt, G et al. (2016). A complex adaptive system may be essential for cumulative modifications in tool design. 10.2502/janip.66.2.2.

Jelbert SA et al. New Caledonian crows rapidly solve a collaborative problem without cooperative cognition. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0133253.

Jelbert SA et al. Using the Aesop’s fable paradigm to investigate causal understanding of water displacement by New Caledonian crows. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092895.

Klump, BC. et al. Hook tool manufacture in New Caledonian crows: behavioural variation and the influence of raw materials.

Mack C et al. Modulation of behavioural laterality in wild New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides): Vocalization, age and function. doi: 10.1080/1357650X.2022.2098969.

McCoy, D.E. et al. New Caledonian Crows Behave Optimistically after Using Tools,

Müller, J.J.A. et al. Ravens remember the nature of a single reciprocal interaction sequence over 2 days and even after a month,

Rutz C et al. The evolutionary origins and ecological context of tool use in New Caledonian crows. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2011.11.005.

St Clair JJ, Rutz C. New Caledonian crows attend to multiple functional properties of complex tools. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2012.0415.

Swift, Kaeli et al. (2018). Occurrence and variability of tactile interactions between wild American crows and dead conspecifics. 10.1098/rstb.2017.0259.

Swift, K.N. et al, Wild American crows gather around their dead to learn about danger,

Troscianko, J. Et al. Activity profiles and hook-tool use of New Caledonian crows recorded by bird-borne video cameras. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2015.0777

Troscianko, J. et al. Extreme binocular vision and a straight bill facilitate tool use in New Caledonian crows. Nat Commun 3, 1110 (2012).

Uomini N, et al. Extended parenting and the evolution of cognition. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2019.0495.

Weir, Alex et al. (2002). Shaping of Hooks in New Caledonian Crows. 10.1126/science.1073433.

Weir, A.A.S., et al. A New Caledonian crow (Corvus moneduloides) creatively re-designs tools by bending or unbending aluminium strips.

Wimpenny JH et al. Cognitive processes associated with sequential tool use in New Caledonian crows. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006471.

You may also like...

40 Responses

  1. @zefrank says:

    Go to to get a 30-day free trial + the first 200 people will get 20% off their annual subscription.

  2. @purplehaze2358 says:

    What I’m gathering from this video is that crows can fill literally any bird niche if they’re clever enough.

  3. @tretower57 says:

    During lockdown, from an upstairs window, I started feeding in-the-shell peanuts to a crow I named“Corvid-19”.
    He has such good eyesight that he could be in a tall tree in the far distance (he would be like 1/2” tall in the distance) and I could hold up a peanut in the window and he would come bombing up to a nearby tree and then come and land on the window (which opens out), and claim his peanut. He would also keep tabs on me, perching on the gutter outside the bathroom as I got dressed, watching me in the kitchen, or perching on the gutter that was right in my eyeline when I was sitting in the family room. The next year, he took a wife, “Branch du Bois”, and they sit in a tree in our back yard waiting for me to throw them grapes or nuts. Once in awhile, he and 40 or 50 of his associates gather in a big oak tree across the way, cackle up a storm, and then explosively disperse.

  4. @sevenandthelittlestmew says:

    My husband goes on walks and takes peanuts for the crows. He lures them back to our house (he has been using the same call for them every time) so they know where we live. This is beneficial to us, because we have chickens, and the crows will attack any hawks that get near our house. Crows are excellent neighbors. We provide seed for them in addition to the evening peanut treats.

  5. @velvetmagnetta3074 says:

    The crow family dynamics was fascinating to watch! The parents really shared teaching responsibilities and worked very harmoniously together to teach their chick how to dipstick!

    Just absolutely adorable!
    🐦 🐥 🐦

    • @metalmamasue3680 says:

      I love my birds and critters, and I watch them. Some are more confident than others. It’s very entertaining to keep feeders and suet cakes out. I aIso feed the resident chipmunks who have their own bowl of seeds/nuts by my back porch on the opposite side of the house from the feeders which can be bird grand central Station at times. They know I’m no threat and are comfortable feeding a few feet away while I enjoy my coffee on the back porch. They stuff their cheeks and are off to stash them for winter, then back again for more.
      The cardinals are the first/last birds to show up before daylight and feed before full dark. I hear them from inside lol. My favorites would have to be the red belly woodpeckers, the males are so loud and proud, they crack me up and also aren’t afraid, I’ve seen them on the ground, put their head down and charge at some grackles, running them off.
      I adore the wrens, the little brown birds who don’t know they’re little brown birds. They seem to have staken their claim over the outside area of our property. My son got me a small birdhouse last mother’s day and when they are nesting they are very protective. They will scold me before I even go outside when I peek out the glass pane in the door 🤣. And they have sat on the ground a few feet away from my son when he was working on the car, letting him know exactly how displeased they were about that. One even dive bombed him, he was so surprised at how bold they are but amused at the same time. He messaged me inside the house and said I think I just met your birds you’ve told me about 😅 but I could hear them from inside lol
      It’s hilarious and they make big noise for little birds. They have no fear apparently 😂😂 I can go onto my back porch and one will be watching from 50 yards away in a tree and as soon as I go out it starts, my scolding, then it flies closer and even will set a few feet away and scold me. I love them, so feisty and bold.
      Anyone who doesn’t think animals are smart, with a mind of their own and distinct personalities, knows little about them. That goes from reptiles to birds and mammals too, we’ve kept many different ones and people would impulse buy a reptile and then have no idea how to care for them so we would end up with them.
      My profile picture is of a baby snapping turtle who showed up and my door a few years back, lost on his way to wherever he was going. It was dark so I kept him until he was a bit larger and could fend for himself, then released him back into his wild home. In the picture, I had just fed him an hour before and he was giving me that “feed me Seymour” look 🤣 it’s my favorite picture of him.

      They’re now saying bears are on par with primates for intelligence. If that doesn’t make you a little scared, idk what will. I’ve been fascinated by and alternately terrified of the power of grizzIy/bIack bears since I was a child.
      I would love to see some zefrank videos about more birds and bears too. But I enjoy them all and laugh out loud the whole way through 😅 Animals make life so much more interesting and I love watching these videos to learn exactly how smart they are. Corvids are so smart. If I see one in my rural area, I’m going to have to befriend one. I’m also planning on getting some meal worms for the wrens as a peace offering so we can continue to live in their world 😂😂

    • @jonpatchmodular says:

      Also young adult crows will often help their parents raise the newer generations! They even celebrate family gatherings once in a while.

      These birds are deeply fascinating.

  6. @midoriya-shonen says:

    New Caledonian Crows are some of the most fascinating animals on the planet. Thanks for covering them!

  7. @rogerjacobs5240 says:

    I live in the Pacific Northwest, a stones throw from Puget Sound. The local crows will fly down to the beach at low tide looking for small clams, and mussels. the shells are to hard for them to peck through so they’ve learned to fly about 50 feet in the air and drop them on the sidewalk or parking lot breaking them open to get at the meat inside. Smart little critters! Love your stuff Ze Frank! 👍

    • @julietardos5044 says:

      Reminds me of a similar story. These crows lived in a city where there were nut trees growing. The crows would take the nuts and drop them in a crosswalk. When the signal turned green, cars would drive over the nuts and crack their shells. When the signal turned red and the cars stopped, the crows would fly down to the crosswalk and eat the nut meats out of the cracked shells.

  8. @rhov-anion says:

    I had a neighbor who shot a crow with a BB gun. The crows all went Mafia on the kid. He could no longer go into his backyard or ride his bike, or the crows would attack. One day I went over to his house (I was friends with his brother) the crows saw me in the backyard with the kid. They began to go after me, thinking I was “in on it.” So I took to feeding the crows at my house (same block) and after a few days they forgave me and stopped attacking. Crows REMEMBER!

  9. @Crustdaddii says:

    A couple years ago, I went to the beach in Ocean Shores Washington. There was a crow sitting on one of the poles near the bathroom. I know crows are familiar with faces so I politely said “sup?” And that crow responded “Sup?”. After that, I have forever respected crows because I’m pretty sure I’m now in an alliance.

  10. @LauraHorrorshow says:

    I have always absolutely adored crows. I recently moved to the city and I was so sad thinking I wouldn’t see any. Silly me, a murder showed up this autumn and started eating the nuts I was leaving out for squirrels. I bought some realistic decoy crows, a crow call, a heated bird bath, and tons of peanuts and now the crows are my buds. Every morning at 9am I am greeted by a fleet of crows outside my window pecking at the glass asking to be fed. This is only a recent development, in the last couple of weeks. I hope someday they’ll leave me presents like the crows did at my childhood home in the country.
    Another fun crow story from my youth; I always fed them because I loved them, so they knew me, but never let me get too close. One day I hear an unfamiliar call coming from the crows. I’d never heard them make this sound before and it sounded panicked. I look outside and I see a few acres down the property, a bunch of crows huddled around a wooden lawn chair. I go outside to see what’s up and they all fly up into the trees to watch from a safe distance. As I approached the chair, I saw that a crow had somehow gotten its head stuck between two slats in the back of the chair and was unable to free himself. He had worn a ring around his neck where the feathers had been rubbed off and his skin was raw and splintered from the weather-worn wood of the chair. He was tired and clearly had been there for hours. He let me pick him up and bring him into the house where I removed the splinters and tried to treat any wounds as best as I could. Poor baby was so exhausted. I gave him water and offered him nuts. After about 24 hours, he seemed like he was feeling much better and I released him back into a safe spot in the yard where he rejoined his family. For almost a year after that, I could always spot him from the missing ring of feathers around his neck. We named him Chairy. 😂 But he must have known I was trying to help him because from that point on until I moved, they would frequently bring me trinkets when they came to get their food which they had never done before that. They left keys, buttons, legos, paper clips, hair ties, marbles, the list goes on. I miss them every day but I’m so glad I’m finally making new crow friends again here. 🐦‍⬛💕

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *