Auckland University researchers testing wild-caught crows’ reactions to mirrors found the birds did not recognise themselves but did find cached food items by studying their reflections.
The results, published in the journal Animal Behaviour, put the birds in an elite group of species — which includes primates and elephants — known to be able to process mirror information. New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides) are known for their intelligent and innovative use of tools, such as twigs, which they use to fish nutritious insects out of holes and crevices. “What our study has now revealed is that wild-caught New Caledonian crows can process mirror information in a primate-like fashion, and that this ability develops very quickly without extensive mirror exposure,” said lead researcher Felipe Medina Rodriguez. “We were surprised by how quickly the crows learnt to use a mirror,” Mr Medina told the BBC. “Usually, it takes longer for an animal to start using the properties of mirrors to have access to otherwise non-visible objects.”