Little Ravens eat egg and cache food

Subject: Little Ravens eat egg and cache food
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Mon, 26 Nov 2012 10:44:52 +1100
Yesterday afternoon Brian and I were at Cranbourne Botanic gardens, sitting in a group of Spotted Gums near the Kids' Garden Dinosaur construction. An adult Little Raven rested in a tree for a while, then came down to the ground and started searching the ground, not at all concerned by our presence. A young bird joined it (dark eye and dull head plumage) and also walked about. Then the adult flew to an adjacent steep bank, planted with shrubs and well-mulched. The young one joined it. Here the adult found something to eat - Brian said "It's got something yellow in its beak!" I moved to look (the birds were half-hidden behind a shrub). Binoculars showed both were pecking at something pale and oval - it looked like a hen's egg. It could have been a duck egg.

I started taking photos. (The pictures are not very good because both birds were visible only through a small gap between the shrubs.) Both birds consumed the contents - I could see strands of egg-white hanging from their bills. Eventually the broken egg-shell was discarded - I think some smaller pieces were swallowed. Then a second adult arrived and landed by the fence at the top of the bank, with something in its bill. My photos showed that this was a piece of meat (possibly stolen from a barbecue or donated by a picnicker). The young bird squawked and rushed to join it - the adult allowed it a peck at the food, but then went down the bank, dug a hole in the mulch and buried it.

I looked again at the first bird which was now digging quite a deep hole. I wondered if it had previously stolen the egg and cached it, and was now checking for other cached food.

I have known that corvids cache food since I was twelve, when we gave some bread to an unidentified 'crow', in the Perth Zoo. The bird walked off, and carried it to a tree with a small hole in its trunk about six inches from the ground, and carefully pushed the bread into it.
Anthea Fleming


To unsubscribe from this mailing list,
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>
  • Little Ravens eat egg and cache food, brian fleming <=

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU