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: In battle of the sexes, a single night with a New York male is enough to kill

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

Godwits are flexible... when they get the chance

2 hours ago

Black-tailed godwits are able to cope with unpredictable weather. This was revealed by a thorough analysis of the extraordinary spring of 2013 by ecologist Nathan Senner of the University of Groningen and ...

Do you have the time? Flies sure do

14 hours ago

Flies might be smarter than you think. According to research reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 28, fruit flies know what time of day it is. What's more, the insects can learn to con ...

Barking characterizes dogs as voice characterizes people

17 hours ago

An international group of researchers has conducted a study on canine behavior showing that gender, age, context and individual recognition can be identified with a high percentage of success through statistical ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.