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Crows’ tool time captured on camera

Media captionThe tail-mounted cameras capture the view from beneath each crow’s belly (footage: J Troscianko, C Rutz)

Ecologists have used a tail-mounted “crow cam” to catch wild New Caledonian crows in the act of making and using hook-shaped tools.

This species is well-known for its clever tool tricks, but studying its behaviour in the wild is difficult.

These tiny cameras peer forwards beneath the birds’ bellies and record precious, uninhibited footage.

As well as glimpsing two crows making special foraging hooks, the team was able to track their activity over time.

This “activity budget” offers a rare insight into the natural lives of New Caledonian crows – but it has not yet solved the mystery of precisely what drives these birds to use tools.

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