No evidence for self-recognition in a small passerine, the great tit (Parus major) judged from the mark/mirror test

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Self-recognition is a trait presumed to be associated with high levels of cognition and something previously considered to be exclusive to humans and possibly apes. The most common test of self-recognition is the mark/mirror test of whether an animal can understand that it sees its own reflection in a mirror. The usual design is that an animal is marked with a colour spot somewhere on the body where the spot can only be seen by the animal by using a mirror. Very few species have passed this test, and among birds, only magpies have been affirmatively demonstrated to pass it. In this study, we tested great tits (Parus major), small passerines, that are known for their innovative foraging skills and good problem-solving abilities, in the mirror self-recognition test. We found no indication that they have any ability of this kind and believe that they are unlikely to be capable of this type of self-recognition.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Charles University in Prague
  • Lund University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Zoology

Keywords

  • Colour mark, Great tit, Mirror test, Parus major, Self-recognition
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1049-1057
JournalAnimal Cognition
Volume20
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes