Caching at a distance: a cache protection strategy in Eurasian jays.
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Legg, E., Ostojić, L., & Clayton, N. (2016). Caching at a distance: a cache protection strategy in Eurasian jays.. Animal Cognition, 19 (4), 753-758. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-016-0972-7
A fundamental question about the complexity of corvid social cognition is whether behaviours exhibited when caching in front of potential pilferers represent specific attempts to prevent cache loss (cache protection hypothesis) or whether they are by-products of other behaviours (by-product hypothesis). Here, we demonstrate that Eurasian jays preferentially cache at a distance when observed by conspecifics. This preference for a 'far' location could be either a by-product of a general preference for caching at that specific location regardless of the risk of cache loss or a by-product of a general preference to be far away from conspecifics due to low intra-species tolerance. Critically, we found that neither by-product account explains the jays' behaviour: the preference for the 'far' location was not shown when caching in private or when eating in front of a conspecific. In line with the cache protection hypothesis we found that jays preferred the distant location only when caching in front of a conspecific. Thus, it seems likely that for Eurasian jays, caching at a distance from an observer is a specific cache protection strategy.
Cache protection, Caching, Corvids, Eurasian jays, Social cognition, Animals, Feeding Behavior, Passeriformes, Social Behavior
We thank the Leverhulme Trust and the Grindley Fund for financial support.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10071-016-0972-7
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/254332
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/