Food-specific spatial memory biases in an omnivorous bird

Danielle Sulikowski*, Darren Burke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The tendency of nectarivorous birds to perform better on tasks requiring them to avoid previously rewarding locations (to win-shift) than to return to them (win-stay) has been explained as an adaptation to the depleting nature of nectar. This interpretation relies on the previously untested assumption that the win-shift tendency is not associated with food types possessing a different distribution. To test this assumption, we examined the specificity of this bias to different food types in an omnivorous honeyeater, the noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala). As predicted, we found that the win-shift bias was sensitive to foraging context, manifesting only in association with foraging for nectar, not with foraging for invertebrates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-248
Number of pages4
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2007


  • Cognitive adaptations
  • Spatial memory
  • Win-shift


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