Win-shift and win-stay learning in the rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus)

Danielle Sulikowski*, Darren Burke

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    The tendency to win-shift (to better learn to avoid, rather than return to, recently rewarded locations) has been demonstrated in a variety of nectarivorous birds and in honeybees. It is hypothesized to be a cognitive adaptation to the depleting nature of nectar. In the present study we report the first attempt to test for a win-shift bias in a nectarivorous parrot, the rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus hematodus). This species differs from others tested for a win-shift bias in that it is a facultative, rather than an obligate, nectarivore. We tested a captive-reared population of the birds on a shift/stay task at long and short retention intervals. The data show no evidence of either a win-shift or a win-stay bias. The birds demonstrated efficient spatial search ability and above chance performance for both shift and stay contingencies at long and short delays. These data suggest that an innate tendency to win-shift may not be present in all avian nectarivores, or that the role experience plays in shaping such behaviors is different for different species.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)143-149
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - May 2011


    • cognitive adaptation
    • rainbow lorikeets
    • spatial cognition
    • win-shift
    • win-stay


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