Is caching the key to exclusion in corvids? The case of carrion crows (Corvus corone corone)

Sandra Mikolasch (Korresp. Autor*in), Kurt Kotrschal, Hans Christian Schlögl

    Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


    Recently, two corvid species, food-caching ravens and non-caching jackdaws, have been tested in an exclusion performance (EP) task. While the ravens chose by exclusion, the jackdaws did not. Thus, foraging behaviour may affect EP abilities. To investigate this possibility, another food-caching corvid species, the carrion crow (Corvus corone corone), was tested in the same exclusion task. We hid food under one of two cups and subsequently lifted either both cups, or the baited or the un-baited cup. The crows were significantly above chance when both cups were lifted or when only the baited cup was lifted. When the empty cup was lifted, we found considerable inter-individual variation, with some birds having a significant preference for the un-baited but manipulated cup. In a follow-up task, we always provided the birds with the full information about the food location, but manipulated in which order they saw the hiding or the removal of food. Interestingly, they strongly preferred the cup which was manipulated last, even if it did not contain any food. Therefore, we repeated the first experiment but controlled for the movement of the cups. In this case, more crows found the food reliably in the un-baited condition. We conclude that carrion crows are able to choose by exclusion, but local enhancement has a strong influence on their performance and may overshadow potential inferential abilities. However, these findings support the hypothesis that caching might be a key to exclusion in corvids.
    Seiten (von - bis)73-82
    FachzeitschriftAnimal Cognition
    PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - 2012

    ÖFOS 2012

    • 106051 Verhaltensbiologie