, Volume 90, Issue 5, pp 238–240 | Cite as

Food offering in jackdaws (Corvus monedula)

  • Selvino R. de KortEmail author
  • Nathan J. Emery
  • Nicola S. Clayton
Short Communication


Food sharing among unrelated same-sex individuals has received considerable interest from primatologists and evolutionary biologists because of its apparent altruistic nature and implications for the evolution of complex social cognition. In contrast to primates, food sharing in birds has received relatively little attention. Here we describe three types of food sharing in jackdaws, with the initiative for the transfer either with the receiver or the giver. The latter situation is of particular interest because the food transfer takes place through active giving. Compared to primates, jackdaws show high rates of food sharing. Finally we discuss the implications of food sharing in jackdaws, and in birds in general.


Capuchin Monkey Food Transfer Corvid Food Sharing Corax 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We thank Amanda Seed for help during the feeding sessions.

This study conformed to all United Kingdom and University of Cambridge Animal Rules and Guidelines for the use of animals.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material, approximately 1.43 MB.

Supplementary material, approximately 2.13 MB.


  1. Bugnyar T, Kotrschal K (2002) Scrounging tactics in free-ranging ravens, Corvus corax. Ethology 108:993–1009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Carlisle TM, Zahavi A (1986) Helping at the nest, allofeeding and social status in immature babblers. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 18:339–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Clayton NS, Dickinson A (1998) Episodic-like memory during cache recovery by scrub jays. Nature 395:272–274CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Craig A (1988) Allofeeding and dominance interactions in the cooperatively breeding pied starling. Anim Behav 36:1251–1253CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Emery NJ, Clayton NS (2001) Effects of experience and social context on prospective caching strategies by scrub jays. Nature 414:443–446CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Griffiths R, Double MC, Orr K, Dawson RJG (1998) A DNA test to sex most birds. Mol Ecol 7:1071–1075CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Hemelrijk CK, Ek A (1991) Reciprocity and interchange of grooming and support in captive chimpanzees. Anim Behav 41:923–935CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Lorenz K (1952) King Solomon’s ring. Harper and Row, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Mackintosh NJ (1988) Approaches to the study of animal intelligence. Br J Psychol 79:509–525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mitani JC, Watts DP (2001) Why do chimpanzees hunt and share meat? Anim Behav 61:915–924Google Scholar
  11. Nishida T, Hosaka K (1996) Coalition strategies among adult male chimpanzees of the Mahale mountains, Tanzania. In: McGrew W, Marchant L, Nishida T (eds) Great ape societies. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  12. Nishida T, Turner LA (1996) Food transfer between mother and infant chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania. Int J Primatol 17:947–968CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Perry S, Rose L (1994) Begging and transfer of coati meat by white-faced capuchin monkeys, Cebus capucinus. Primates 35:409–415CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Reyer HU (1986) Breeder–helper interactions in the pied kingfisher reflect the costs and benefits of cooperative breeding. Behaviour 96:277–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Rose LM (1997) Vertebrate predation and food-sharing in Cebus and Pan. Int J Primatol 18:727–765CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Stephens DW, McLinn CM, Stevens JR (2002) Discounting and reciprocity in an iterated prisoner’s dilemma. Science 298:2216–2218CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Thiollay JM (1991) Foraging, home range use and social-behavior of a group-living rain-forest raptor, the red-throated caracara Daptrius americanus. Ibis 133:382–393CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Trivers RL (1971) The evolution of reciprocal altruism. Q Rev Biol 46:35–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Verbeek NAM, Butler RW (1981) Cooperative breeding of the northwestern crow Corvus caurinus in British-Columbia. Ibis 123:183–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Waal FBM de (1989) Food sharing and reciprocal obligations among chimpanzees. J Hum Evol 18:433–459CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Waal FBM de (1996) Good natured: the origins of right and wrong in humans and other animals. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., USAGoogle Scholar
  22. Waal FBM de (1997) Food transfers through mesh in brown capuchins. J Comp Psychol 111:370–378CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Waal FBM de (2000) Attitudinal reciprocity in food sharing among brown capuchin monkeys. Anim Behav 60:253–261CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Weir AAS, Chappell J, Kacelnik A (2002) Shaping of hooks in New Caledonian crows. Science 297:981CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Westergaard GC, Kuhn HE, Babitz MA, Suomi SJ (1998) Aimed throwing as a means of food transfer between tufted capuchins (Cebus apella). Int J Primatol 19:123–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Wilkinson GS (1984) Reciprocal food sharing in the vampire bat. Nature 308:181–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Zahavi A, Zahavi A (1997) The handicap principle: the missing piece of Darwin’s puzzle. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Selvino R. de Kort
    • 1
    Email author
  • Nathan J. Emery
    • 2
  • Nicola S. Clayton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Experimental PsychologyUKUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Sub-department of Animal BehaviourUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations