, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 405-416
Date: 17 Nov 2012

Ontogeny of object permanence in a non-storing corvid species, the jackdaw (Corvus monedula)

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Abstract

The aim of the present study was to investigate the ontogeny of object permanence in a non-caching corvid species, the jackdaw (Corvus monedula). Jackdaws are often presented as typical examples of non-storing corvids, as they cache either very little or not at all. We used Uzgiris and Hunt’s Scale 1 tasks to determine the age at which the certain stages set in and the final stage of this capacity that is reached. Our results show that the lack of food-storing behaviour is not associated with inferior object permanence abilities in the jackdaw, as our subjects (N = 19) have reached stage 5 competence (to follow successive visible displacements) at the average age of 61 days post-hatch and showed some evidence of stage 6 competence (to follow advanced invisible displacements) at 81 days post-hatch and thereafter. As we appreciate that object permanence abilities have a very wide ecological significance, our positive results are probably the consequence of other, more fundamental ecological pressures, such as nest-hole reproduction or prey–predator interactions.