Use of landmarks in three species of food-storing corvids

Kristy L. Gould-Beierle, Alan C. Kamil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The use of landmarks by Clark's nutcrackers (Nucifraga columbiana), pinyon jays (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus), and Western scrub jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens) was investigated in three experiments. In the first experiment, birds were trained to find a hidden food reward beneath wood chips near a plastic landmark located 20 cm from one edge of a stationary tray. During unrewarded test trials, all species displaced their searching in response to movement of the landmark in both parallel and perpendicular directions; however, searching was displaced significantly more in the parallel direction. In a second experiment, the landmark was removed with the tray stationary or shifted. When the tray was shifted, all species responded by searching relative to the shifted tray. This indicates that the global (room) cues were not being used as salient landmarks. In the third experiment, the tray was placed in different positions for each trial, making global cues unreliable. As in experiment 1, all species displaced their searching in response to parallel and perpendicular movement of the landmark, with movement being similar in both directions. These results indicate no species differences on this landmark-use task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)361-377
Number of pages17
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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