Crows remember colours for a year: Japanese study

Dec 08, 2011
Crows have a long-term memory so good that they can recall colours for at least a year, a Japanese study has shown

Crows have a long-term memory so good that they can recall colours for at least a year, a Japanese study has shown.

Birds that had identified which of two containers held food by the colour of its lid were still able to perform the task 12 months later, said Shoei Sugita, a professor of animal morphology at Utsunomiya University.

Sugita said 24 were given the choice between containers with a red and green lid, which held food, and containers with a yellow and blue lid, which did not.

After they had mastered the task, the were divided into groups and tested to see if they could recall the information they had learned.

Even those creatures that had not seen the different coloured lids for a year were able to correctly identify where they would be able to find food, Sugita said.

"Our study has shown that the crows thought and used their memories to take action," Sugita said.

Crows are a major nuisance in many Japanese cities, particularly Tokyo, where they rummage through rubbish left out for collection.

The study was part-funded by Chubu Electric Power Company, in an effort to improve anti-nesting measures and protect the towers supporting power cables.

Sugita says his work proves crows are intelligent creatures and measures used to foil them need to be carefully thought out.

"This study shows that there is no good way (to counter crows). But we can use their memories against them to create new measures," Sugita said.

Explore further: Research helps steer mites from bees

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Crows are capable of distinguishing symbols, study finds

Oct 10, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new study published in Animal Behavior shows that crows are capable of recognizing symbols designed to represent different quantities and is one of many different studies currently lookin ...

Crows demonstrate their cleverness with tools (w/ Video)

Apr 22, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- New Zealand scientists studying New Caledonian crows have found they can use three different tools in succession to gain a food treat. The crows are known to solve problems and fashion and ...

Wild crows reveal tool skills

Jan 11, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new study using motion sensitive video cameras has revealed how New Caledonian crows use tools in the wild, Oxford University scientists report.

Not so bird-brained: Clever crows recognise faces

Jun 29, 2011

Humans who dismiss birds as featherweights may revise their opinion when learning of crows which not only can identify the face of someone who is a danger but also teach others about the threat.

Crows can use 'up to three tools'

Aug 05, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- New experiments by Oxford University scientists reveal that New Caledonian crows can spontaneously use up to three tools in the correct sequence to achieve a goal, something never before observed ...

Recommended for you

Research helps steer mites from bees

20 hours ago

A Simon Fraser University chemistry professor has found a way to sway mites from their damaging effects on bees that care and feed the all-important queen bee.

Bird brains more precise than humans'

21 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Birds have been found to display superior judgement of their body width compared to humans, in research to help design autonomous aircraft navigation systems.

User comments : 0