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Ecology and Behavior of Chickadees and Titmicean integrated approach$
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Ken A. Otter

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780198569992

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198569992.001.0001

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Neurobiology of spatial behavior

Neurobiology of spatial behavior

(p.9) CHAPTER 2 Neurobiology of spatial behavior
Ecology and Behavior of Chickadees and Titmice

David F. Sherry

Jennifer S. Hoshooley

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the structural aspects of the avian brain, and how this can influence spatial memory. Using cross-species comparisons within the Paridae and comparing Parids to other species, general spatial abilities of chickadees in food storing and other contexts are reviewed. The ability to form spatial memories is related to the structure, gene expression, and neurogenesis within the hippocampus. Chickadees and tits have made an unexpected contribution to our understanding of spatial ability and the hippocampus because of their specialized food storing behaviour. The jury is still out on the question of whether spatial ability or spatial cognition is specialized in chickadees and tits. Some properties of spatial ability and spatial memory in food-storing birds are very similar to those of other species. One notable pattern is that food-storing birds may tend to solve foraging tasks spatially to a degree not found in other birds.

Keywords:   chickadees, titmice, neurobiology, spatial behaviour, Paridae, food caching, food-storing birds, caches, hippocampus

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