What You See Is What You Get—Reloaded: Can Jackdaws ( Corvus monedula ) Find Hidden Food Through Exclusion?

Source Information
May 2011, Volume125(Issue2) Page162To174

Choice by exclusion, that is, the ability to base the choice of a target on the rejection of potential alternatives, is becoming increasingly interesting for comparative cognition research. Recently, ravens have been shown to solve an exclusion task and it had been suggested that this ability might benefit ravens in a food-caching context. To investigate this possibility, the raven study was replicated with a closely related, but noncaching, species, the jackdaw ( Corvus monedula ). In the first test, the birds had to find food hidden in one of two differently shaped tubes. The results suggest that the jackdaws found the food through intensive search behavior, with little evidence for exclusion abilities. In a follow-up experiment, the tubes were replaced by cups, and before the birds made a choice, one of the cups was lifted to inform them about its content. In a final task, this procedure was modified to control for the influence of local enhancement. In both experiments, the jackdaws were successful only if they had seen the food before. These findings are in contrast to the previous results on ravens and support the idea that exclusion abilities may have evolved as specific adaptations to food caching.

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doi: 10.1037/a0023045