Spatial Orientation in Japanese Quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica)

Ruploh T, Kazek A, Bischof H-J (2011)
PLoS ONE 6(12).

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Finding a given location can be based on a variety of strategies, for example on the estimation of spatial relations between landmarks, called spatial orientation. In galliform birds, spatial orientation has been demonstrated convincingly in very young domestic chicks. We wanted to know whether adult Japanese quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica) without food deprivation are also able to use spatial orientation. The quails had to learn the relation of a food location with four conspicuous landmarks which were placed in the corners of a square shaped arena. They were trained to find mealworms in three adjacent food cups in a circle of 20 such cups. The rewarded feeders were located during training between the same two landmarks each of which showed a distinct pattern. When the birds had learned the task, all landmarks were displaced clockwise by 90 degrees. When tested in the new situation, all birds redirected their choices with respect to the landmark shift. In subsequent tests, however, the previously correct position was also chosen. According to our results, quails are using conspicuous landmarks as a first choice for orientation. The orientation towards the previously rewarded location, however, indicates that the neuronal representation of space which is used by the birds also includes more fine grain, less conspicuous cues, which are probably also taken into account in uncertain situations. We also presume that the rare orientation towards never rewarded feeders may be due to a foraging strategy instead of being mistakes.
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Article Processing Charge funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Open Access Publication Fund of Bielefeld University.
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Ruploh T, Kazek A, Bischof H-J. Spatial Orientation in Japanese Quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica). PLoS ONE. 2011;6(12).
Ruploh, T., Kazek, A., & Bischof, H. - J. (2011). Spatial Orientation in Japanese Quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica). PLoS ONE, 6(12).
Ruploh, T., Kazek, A., and Bischof, H. - J. (2011). Spatial Orientation in Japanese Quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica). PLoS ONE 6.
Ruploh, T., Kazek, A., & Bischof, H.-J., 2011. Spatial Orientation in Japanese Quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica). PLoS ONE, 6(12).
T. Ruploh, A. Kazek, and H.-J. Bischof, “Spatial Orientation in Japanese Quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica)”, PLoS ONE, vol. 6, 2011.
Ruploh, T., Kazek, A., Bischof, H.-J.: Spatial Orientation in Japanese Quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica). PLoS ONE. 6, (2011).
Ruploh, Tim, Kazek, Agnieszka, and Bischof, Hans-Joachim. “Spatial Orientation in Japanese Quails (Coturnix coturnix japonica)”. PLoS ONE 6.12 (2011).
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