Pan Africa News 17(1), 6-9

Bird in the hand: Bossou chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) capture West African wood-owls (Ciccaba woodfordi) but not to eat

Susana Carvalho, Yumi Yamanashi, Gen Yamakoshi, Tetsuro Matsuzawa

Introduction

Chimpanzees rarely capture an animal without eating it, but this puzzling pattern occurs in both nature and captivity, mostly by youngsters1-6. At Bossou in Guinea, chimpanzees rarely hunt for meat; their home range presents few suitable prey7 . From 1976 to 2008, only one bird (West African wood-owl, Ciccaba woodfordi) capture was recorded, and it was consumed7 . In 2009, we saw two captures of this species, which were not followed by consumption. Instead, both raptors were used as toys, as previously observed at Bossou with tree hyrax, Dendrohyrax dorsalis3 . Here we describe the captures and discuss the implications of this behavior from an evolutionary perspective.

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Carvalho S, Yamanashi Y, Yamakoshi G, Matsuzawa T (2010) Bird in the hand: Bossou chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) capture West African wood-owls (Ciccaba woodfordi) but not to eat Pan Africa News 17(1), 6-9