The effects of artificial bird beak extensions – (new study)

If one were to superglue an artificial beak extension [see diagram] onto the bills of pigeons and crows, which of the species would best adapt?

Answers are to be found in a new experimental study from Hiroshi Matsui (Department of Psychology, Keio University, Japan) and Ei-Ichi Izawa (Japan Society of Promotion for Sciences, Tokyo).

And may be summarised thus :

“In conclusion, our present study revealed that crows are capable of rapid motor adjustment of pecking to bill extension, but pigeons are not, although they possessed plasticity in a form of motor adaptation. These contrasting results of sensorimotor flexibility to body-part extension suggest different mechanisms underpinning pecking control between pigeons and crows: feed-forward and offline feedback control in pigeons and, presumably, online feedback control in crows.”

See: Flexible motor adjustment of pecking with an artificially extended bill in crows but not in pigeons, R. Soc. Open Sci. 4 : 160796, Feb. 2017.